In 1945 a soldier on his way home from the war, receives a Dear John letter. Later in the town of Avalon Bay, a graduation dance is marred by the violent pitchforking of a couple by a mysterious figure in full GI gear. Since then, town has declined to have a graduation dance for thirty-five years, and once it’s decided to give it another go, the murders start happening again. Slowly and methodically a killer dressed in the same uniform as his 1945 counterpart starts carving and blasting his way through any high school kids who are connected to the dance.
The Prowler is a solid true to form slasher, told with a lot more technical skill than a genre known for its rough edges normally receives. The Tom Savini created gore lends a brutal edge. There is all pervading threat in air, almost from the very first the moment. The most famous sequence involves a bayonet through the skull, and the moment still manages to shock. In keeping with slasher tradition, the killer's identity is the core mystery and it’s told through a needlessly convoluted story and ultimately doesn't amount to much at all. One of my favorite things about The Prowler is how it conducts the de rigueur ambiguous ending but without lazily having the killer lunge into a freeze frame shot. The score is pulsing, the acting is surprisingly good, and the entire film looks fantastic for a low budget effort from the early 80s. The Prowler is a text book slasher and a good one at that.