By Raymond Knowby


Director Joseph Zito’s extremely violent slasher has a woman and her sorority associates being stalked by a WWII masked killer with a fetish for bayonets.

Typical flashback intro gives us the backstory of an army veteran who returns home from the war draft, only to be spurned by a break-up letter from his girlfriend. At the reunion party, he then kills her and her new beau with a pitchfork, and the film advances to present day to settle in on the anniversary homecoming.

Now Pamela (Vicky Dawson) and her friends are readying the college for their Spring ball. The local sheriff (Farley Granger) leaves town for a fishing trip, entrusting the law enforcement privledges to his young deputy (Christopher Goutman) for the upcoming weekend festivities. Throughout the night, a prowler begins slaughtering the pretty co-eds, closing in on Pam while she scrambles to piece together just who might be the maniac on the rampage.

It has its moments, mostly when Tom Savini’s savage effects are allowed the spotlight (the blade-through-the-head murder sequence is particularly sadistic), but there’s far too much time spent with characters just wandering around in the dark. A subplot involving a retired major is thrown in as a red herring effect, but really adds nothing at all to the proceedings. Nicely photographed, and sprinkled with the occasional tight sequence, but primarily just a plodding whodunit existing to showcase graphic kills.

Four-pronged implements are popular props in 1981's THE PROWLER.