Review: The Prowler (Blu-ray)

Blue Underground brings Joe Zito's nasty 80's slasher The Prowler to Blu-ray!

  • Director: Joseph Zito
  • Starring: Farley Granger, Vicky Dawson, Lawrence Tierney
  • Year: 1981
  • Runtime: 88 Minutes
  • Company: Blue Underground
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Discs: 1 - 25GB
  • Video: 1.85:1 - 1080p - AVC
  • Audio: English DTS-HD MA 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 EX , Dolby Digital Mono
  • Region: All
  • Released: 6/27/2010

The Prowler opens up with a vintage WWII war bond ad showing soldiers returning home and describing how they have to rebuild the lives they left behind. A letter written and narrated by Rosemary reads that she can no longer wait for her lover to return home from war and that she has to live her life while she is young. Rosemary and her date attend the Avalon Bay Graduation dance later that night where a masked assailant drives a pitchfork through their bodies, killing them. Cut to 30 some odd years later where another Graduation dance is being held in Avalon Bay. Sherrif Fraser (Farley Granger) has left Deputy Mark (Christopher Goutman) in charge of the town while away on his yearly fishing trip. Bad timing since the mysterious killer decides to come out of hiding to gruesomely dispatch any Graduation dance attendees. With help from girlfriend/acquaintance Pam (Vicky Dawson), Deputy Mark must stop the killings and unravel the truth before it's too late.
First and foremost, the obvious. The Prowler would not even be looked at twice by horror fans if it were not for Savini's brutal special effects. This being the first time I've ever watched Prowler, I was in for a bloody treat. Savini crafts some extremely memorable kill scenes that left my jaw open. The infamous dagger through the head is down right nasty but oh so great. The kicker is the victim's eyes rolling back into his head in turn showing nothing but white eyeballs. It deserves it's legendary kill status, something even Savini acknowledges as his best work. Stabbings, slit-throats, a Maniac esque shotgun blow to the head and more make this the sole reason why The Prowler is remembered. Thank you Tom Savini!
What hinders me from fully loving The Prowler is the overall pacing of the film. It is flat out boring. On top of that, it's excruciatingly slow. Once again, if it weren't for the amazing effects I would have dozed off. It's a bummer this is the case since I love Joe Zito and his films. His Friday the 13th IV is one of my favorite Jason and slasher films. Missing in Action, Invasion USA and Red Scorpion are loud, dumb and fun commando flicks. It's certainly not the worst slasher in terms of story, but it lingers around that territory.
I kinda of feel like an idiot for being surprised when I found out the killers identity. I won't spoil it here for any unsuspecting readers who may have not seen the film. Let's just say all the signs are there to realize who the killer is...I blame it not being attentive due to boredom. Despite it's flaws, The Prowler is definitely something to see. Slasher and Horror buffs will absolutely dig the gnarly effects courtesy of Savini. Other than that, your mileage may vary. If you're like me, the tits and blood will keep you interested till the end.

  • Video
For being a 30 year old flick, The Prowler looks just like it should for it's uncut & uncensored High Definition debut. It's grainy and has that glow to it that so many low budget productions do. Many scenes have that HD detail but mostly it's soft. The transfer allows blacks levels to look accordingly while some scenes there tends to be a brightness to it. All in all I'm pleased with Blue Underground's efforts. It's always a dream to see a horror film brought to Blu-ray and my expectations were met. It's certainly not the best the format has to offer, but it services just fine.
  • Audio
I chose the 7.1 DTS-HD track for my viewing and it sounds as expected. Dialogue is clear and never drowned out. On par with the Video in terms of quality.

Bonus Features
  • Featurette - "Tom Savini's Behind The Scenes Gore Footage "
This is a vintage video reel showing the kill scenes and how they worked on set. Very cool to see this old footage and how it looked from behind the camera.
  • Audio Commentary - Director Joseph Zito & Tom Savini
  • Theatrical Trailer