Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Vicky Dawson 
THE PROWLER (1981). Director: Joseph Zito.

A "Dear John" letter sent in 1944 leads to an initial dual pitchfork murder at a graduation dance, and then into a whole series of gruesome slayings when the dances are begun again 35 years later. Before you can say Friday the 13th, an unknown man wearing army fatigues and carrying gun, knife, and pitchfork is stalking the young people who wander away from the party. The Prowler is nearly indistinguishable from so many similar slasher movies, but it does have some atmosphere and suspense, and Richard Einhorn's music certainly adds to the eeriness. The acting is good, with Vicky Dawson making an appealing heroine, and Christopher Goutman is solid and likable as her boyfriend, who also happens to be the deputy coming upon several dead bodies. You wish these two talented performers had been given more dimensional characters to play. Farley Granger, miles from Strangers on a Train, shows up briefly as the sheriff, and Lawrence Tierney's scenes as a major are either too brief or were left on the cutting room floor; in any case I never spotted him. Carleton Carpenter [Three Little Words] plays an emcee in the 1944 dance segment. Goutman later became executive producer of As the World Turns. Many of Tom Savini's gruesome and well-done make-up effects were trimmed for its theatrical release, but the DVD has the assorted throat-cuttings and shower puncturings in all their "glory" for the gorehounds. This has some plot similarities to My Bloody Valentine, which is a better movie.

Verdict: No better nor worse than so many others of its ilk. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

My Bloody Valentine was a pretty damned good movie, I saw it several times during its initial run. Have never heard of this one though. But might be worth a look to see 1940s stars Granger and Carpenter in their mature years...were both of these men gay in real life?

William said...

Granger has been with men and women, according to his autobio, and I met Carpenter years ago in a gay bar, so I'm assuming ... LOL

angelman66 said...

Love that, Bill.
The two people I saw in gay bars were Andy Kaufman in the early 80s, right before he died, and Nathan Lane, a few years before he came out.

William said...

Lane is no surprise, but I'd never heard about Kaufman. Died too young.