The Film 3/5
There was a point that I thought I had seen every slasher film to come out of the 80’s. When I was a teenager hunting horror tapes in the local video stores that was pretty much all these places stocked. A few years back while crashing on a friends couch I discovered the Prowler amongst his DVD’s. Because of my neurotic completist nature I had to immediately pop it in. This is the part where you might expect me to claim that the Prowler is some sort of lost masterpiece, it is not. It is, however, a very good slasher film, and a great way to spend an evening with a few good friends, and a few good beers.
The movie is typical slasher fare, but it is held up by excellent direction from director Joseph Zito (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter). Zito knows what fans of these films want, an abundance of sex and violence, and he offers these up in spades. Zito handles the violence in a manner comparable to Bill Lustig’s Maniac and Lucio Fulci’s films most notably New York Ripper. These effects are wonderfully handled by special effects guru Tom Savini who does some of his best work in this film. Also, the casting of Farley Granger and Lawrence Tierney give the film a more legitimized feel in the acting department. That being said they are not given much to do in their respective roles.
The Prowler opens in a small California town in 1945. World War II is raging, and a woman named Rosemary is breaking up with her boyfriend via a letter while he is deployed overseas. We then see Rosemary at the local colleges graduation dance with another man. They go outside for some alone time, and find themselves on the receiving end of a pitchfork.
The movie then flashes forward 35 years, the graduation dance has not been held since 1945, and this year will be the first time it is revived. This is against the wishes of a local retired Army Major (Lawrence Tierney). The sheriff (Farley Granger) doesn’t seem to consider it a big deal, as he’s leaving the town in the hands of Deputy Mark for the weekend while he goes on a fishing trip. Of course as soon as the sheriff is out of sight the body count begins. In the tradition of Prom Night’s 1-3 the attendees of the now in progress dance are slaughtered by a mysterious killer.
Blue Underground has presented The Prowler in an excellent 1080p 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The film looks much better than the DVD. The detail on this transfer is excellent, colors pop, and the image is practically flawless. There are only a few instances of very minor print damage throughout. The film does have a healthy bit of grain, but this makes the transfer appear more film like.
Blue Underground has offered up 3 English audio tracks for the Prowler. The first is a 7.1 DTS-HD track, the second is a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track, and the third is the film’s original mono track. For the purpose of this review I switched between the mono and 5.1 tracks, and both sounded excellent. The dialogue was completely clear and audible throughout, and the music popped from my speakers.
Blue Underground has ported over the extras from the DVD release with nothing new to add. However, the extras here are quite interesting. The disc kicks off with a commentary track by director Joseph Zito and Special FX wizard Tom Savini. The track is good, and goes into details on many facets of the production taking time to discuss some of the films more controversial moments. The only other significant extra is a behind the scenes video of Tom Savini working on the films FX. It runs for about ten minutes, and offers a glimpse of one of the greatest FX artist of all time in his element. The final extra on the disc is the film’s theatrical trailer.
Not the greatest or most original slasher film of all time. The Prowler is still a great way to spend an hour and a half. Blue Underground has bettered their previous DVD release with this amazing looking Blu-ray. The transfer continues the quality standard set by their prior releases. The audio is of comparable quality to the transfer, and they offer some interesting extras for fans of the film to check out (or check out again). The Prowler comes recommended to fans of slasher and splatter fans.