Bank Holiday Shenanigans

It’s Independence Day weekend, y’all!  In many parts of the country people are celebrating the birth of our nation with fireworks and gaiety.  This is decidedly not my style.  What am I doing, you ask?  Why, I am watching people die on screen.  For me, a paid day off work at the publishing house means a higher body count, so I sat down with Best Friend to take in The Prowler aka Rosemary’s Killer (1981).

Over the years, I’ve heard many people talk of this film as if it’s one of the hidden gems of horror.  So I was rather excited when Best Friend told me he’d gotten it from Netflix.  But it’s a sad, sad day at Chickapin Parish, y’all, because The Prowler . . . it just ain’t the good.

Rosemary and her date are killed during a graduation dance in 1945, and the killer is never caught, leading the town bureaucrats to ban graduation dances until the ripe old year of 1980.  When the partying resumes, a killer wearing WWII fatigues stalks and kills members of the 1980 graduating class.

See, y’all, the movie sounds really good.  In fact, it sounds awesome–especially when you hear that the maestro Mr. Tom Savini is behind the wheel in the gore department, but I have to say, I was pretty bored through most of the proceedings.  What’s so wrong?

Well, there are long sections in which people stand around and wait for shit to happen.  That would be fine, I suppose, if there was some tension in all that shit or if there was a big payoff for all that waiting, but that’s not the case with The Prowler.  As such, all that waiting is mostly pointless.  You see, we’ve figured out the plot from the beginning, so there isn’t much mystery for us to discover.

But this is not the biggest problem with The Prowler.  No, no.  You see, the story is so derivative of many better horror movies that it becomes almost irritating.  Derivation number one: Doesn’t this plot sound familiar to you?  Think back to Canada’s offerings in the way of horror.  Yes, you’ve got it.  It sounds a shitload like My Bloody Valentine.  And I have to say, it doesn’t do it nearly as well.  The killer, for instance, is channeling Harry Warden, but he’s nowhere near as scary.  He doesn’t have that creepy breathing thing.  And his face is covered up in a way that would make it impossible for him to breathe or see, so you just sort of stop believing it.

Even worse, however, is the robbery from Friday the 13th part II.  First off, our final girl is totally a poor man’s Amy Steel.  And if you’ve spent any time on this site, you know how I love Amy Steel.  Now, I know not everyone has a girl (or boy) boner for Amy Steel, but if you make me watch a movie in which the final girl looks and acts like she wishes she were Amy Steel, all I am going to do is wish she were Amy Steel too.  But that’s not it.  No, sir.  No, ma’am.  The killer uses a pitchfork for a while (and some knife that looks like a toy sword), and through plot contrivances, our final girl gets her hands on it.  When she wields it against the prowler, it is done so in a shot they literally took straight out of F13-2.  No, seriously, do you remember when Ginny Field is in the cabin with Paul at the end, and she’s holding the pitchfork?  Yeah, it was the exact same shot.  Lame, dudes, lame.

There are also echoes of Halloween, but I’ll let you see that on your own because it’s late, and I’m tired, and this is a highlight reel.

In the bonus department, Tom Savini is in top form.  All the death scenes in the film are as you’d expect–completely realistic and mind-blowingly awesome.  Look forward to an exploding head.  That has to be one of the best things I’ve ever seen in all my years.

But even with this in the mix, I think I wouldn’t buy this–and that’s really saying something.  Not even for five dollars, dudes.

Having said all this, the rest of the horror community seems to disagree with me.  They all think the flick is mad awesome.  So maybe I’ve full of shit.  It wouldn’t be the first time.  For my money, I’d just watch the trailer.  All the best shit’s in there.

Please note: As all My Bloody Valentine, F13-2, and The Prowler came out in 1981, I realize that it’s unlikely Joseph Zito was actively stealing from these other films, but I saw those first, so it feels like robbery.


~ by acaseofyou12581 on July 3, 2010.

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