The Prowler (1981/Blue Underground Blu-ray)
Picture: B Sound: B-
Extras: C+ Film: C+
Joseph Zito's film, The Prowler is an
undervalued classic of the horror genre. While not a perfect film, it, along with
titles such as The Burning, Maniac and the first Friday the
13th film, would forever cement effects creator Tom Savini into the minds
of horror fans as a master of gore. Zito
and Savini would later team up again for the 1984 film, Friday the 13th:
Part 4 - The Final Chapter.
The saturation of films of this type would overshadow the genuinely good
efforts that had come from this cycle, and eventually ruin the mass appeal of
these films. A Nightmare on Elm St.,
Gremlins and a slew of other rubber-crafted beasties would come to
prominence, changing the face of horror as the decade wore on - putting the
kibosh on the slasher film for some time to come.
As for The Prowler, it is one of the goriest of these films to slip into
the mainstream market. It's a pleasure
to see it presented complete and uncut. That
so many of its more gruesome scenes survived the MPAA's demands is surprising,
and fans should be thankful that this stuff didn't end up on the cutting room
The film has a few thematic connections to the film My Bloody Valentine,
also from 1981. Both films involve a
killer donning relatively similar looking attire (here, military fatigues, in Valentine,
a mining outfit). Their displeasure over
respective community dances serves as a trigger for their rage, and their
vengeance is taken out on the townsfolk.
Despite these similarities, each film manages to be rather unique in its
presentation, and they are high water marks for the genre. Anyone brushing up on horror history would do
well to catch up with these films - both of which seem to also be going through
a period of renewed interest at the moment.
Extra content on the disc includes a theatrical trailer, an audio commentary
with Zito and Savini, as well as some behind the scenes footage taken during
the production by Tom Savini on camcorder. Absent is the poster and still gallery that
was included on the previous DVD editions of the film.
The image is presented in 1080p widescreen, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Picture quality, like the earlier DVD is still
a bit soft on detail, but is nonetheless more revealing on the Blu-ray. Night scenes are clearer, and there seems to
be an added vibrancy to the color palette.
The audio track is of good quality and is presented here in 7.1 DTS-HD,
5.1 Dolby Digital EX with the original 2.0 mono mix included as well.
I highly recommend this Blu-ray edition of the film. If you've treated yourself to the DVD already,
there is no question that an investment in this new disc is a good idea for
anyone looking for an upgrade from the earlier release.
- David Milchick