A masked killer, wearing World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35-year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
Preparing for a lavish party, friends decide to hold it at a local dance hall start to realize that their missing attendees have been killed off by a vicious killer seeking revenge among them for a wrong that was committed back at the end of World War II and try to escape alive. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest slashers around. What really works for this one is the fact that it uses a simple story yet manages to string together something so watchable which is a big accomplishment. This one here never produces a dull moment, staying interesting for the duration of its time and moves seamlessly through several top-notch stalking scenes along the way. The opening ambush of the couple works nicely, the bathroom encounter is outstanding with the narrow misses of getting caught while they tease each other leading into the mistaken play in the shower, the poolside stalking of the couples leaving the dance are quite fun and the couple being stalked down in the basement is quite a suspenseful ambush. The next big one is the stalking scenes on display, which are just exceptional from the first chase through the dorms moving through the different levels without giving away the killer through the maze in the hallway designs out the side and down out into the street, the search of the killers’ house in the dark where they go looking for the clues to his identity and the graveyard encounter with the gravestone discovery and open grave makes for a great suspense scene. The eventual confrontation with the killer is again top-notch, as the systematic search of the bedroom is reason enough to really enjoy it, being one of the best suspense scenes in the film while the final big kill is a showstopper. There's also the fact that the killer in here is actually kept off-screen for the majority of the film, using only a few clues to keep the identity a secret until the final surprise revelation, while the fact that most of the time is devoted to keeping it to the shadows is yet another great way to build the suspense. Add in together with the greatness of the gore and kills in here, this one comes off as one of the absolute best ones in the genre. This here only has the very mildest of flaws. The fact that the body count is pretty low is a little hard to accept, as it doesn't even reach double digits, which shouldn't have been that hard to accomplish considering all the potential corpses on display. The fantastic gore makes it hard to recognize, but this one wouldn't have been hurt to knock off another one or two more. The suit that the killer wears is also a little hokey, and wearing a military uniform doesn't really make much sense. It does in the back-story, but rather than meaning anything, it rather feels like an attempt at originality gone a little screwy. These, though, are hardly deal-breaking and don't even come close to unseating the positive ones. Rated R: Graphic Violence, Nudity, Graphic Language and a mild sex scene.
_**Decent slasher taking place at old Inns on the southern coast of New Jersey**_ A Dear John letter during WW2 provokes a veteran to murder in 1945 at a coastal New Jersey hamlet. He was never caught and 35 years later he dons his old soldier garb to kill again at the college dance. “The Prowler” (1981), also known as “Rosemary’s Killer,” is a slasher/horror in the mold of “Friday the 13th” (1980) and “My Bloody Valentine” (1981). It’s not great like the former and not quite as good as the latter. The protagonist, played by Vicky Dawson, is similar to Alice and Ginny from the first two “Friday the 13th” flicks but, beyond her, the female cast is subpar by comparison; it doesn’t help that the director doesn’t know how to shoot women (not talkin ’bout nudity or sleaze). The opening sequence from 1945 with the old automobiles is well done and I like the Inn and the estate where most of the movie is shot. Gore-master Tom Savini does the F/X work and it’s convincing. It’s a decent slasher from the early 80s that works up some mood; Christopher Goutman is notable as the deputy in charge, who dates the protagonist. It’s not bad, but not great. The film runs 1 hour, 28 minutes, and was shot in Cape May, New Jersey (Inn of Cape May & Emlen Physick Estate). GRADE: B-/C+