The Prowler, also known as Rosemary's Killer, is a Slasher Movie from the year 1981 starring Farley Granger and Lawrence Tierney. It was directed by Joseph Zito and the film's gore effects were done by the legendary Tom Savini. Both would later contribute their respective talents to another slasher film, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
Starting at the year 1945, the film opens with a news reel depicting the homecoming American troops from World War II. One of these returning troops isn't happy, as his girlfriend Rosemary had dumped him during the war (with a "Dear John" letter, no less).
Several months later at Rosemary's hometown Avalon Bay, he kills her and her new boyfriend during the town's annual graduation dance. He is never caught.
Cut to 35 years later, where the town prepares for its graduation dance once again. There hasn't been one since the events of the opening. The killer decides to partake on the event as well, armed with a pitchfork, a bayonet and a Sawed-Off Shotgun.
No, he has no relation to the uncle of Miles Morales.
This film features the examples of:
- All in the Eyes: The lighting at Chatham house does this effect on Mark when he is ascending the stairs.
- Antagonist Title: The killer, "the prowler" of the film.
- Ate His Gun: Fraser noticeably pulls the barrel of his shotgun under his chin before getting his head blown off.
- Big Bad: Sheriff George Fraser turns out to be the Prowler.
- Big Damn Heroes: Otto appears to shoot The Prowler with a shotgun just as he is about to attack Pam.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: Used on Lisas's murder by the pool. The blood is still lingering in the water when Ms. Allison comes to look for her.
- "Dear John" Letter: Rosemary's letter to her soldier boyfriend is shown and narrated to the audience before the scene of her and her boyfriend Roy's deaths.
- Death by Sex: Averted, the couple who goes to have sex in the Creepy Basement actually survive the whole thing.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Prowler's murders are awfully sexual.
- Dramatic Unmask: Done when The Prowler is struggling with the Final Girl and his mask comes off.
- Fake-Out Opening: Begins with cheerfully narrated faux-retro newsreel footage, transitions to a scene set at a dance, and then quickly turns graphically violent when a couple there sneak off to a rotunda to make out.
- Final Girl: After her boyfriend gets knocked out by the Prowler, Pam has to survive and deal with the killer by herself.
- Grave Robbing: The Prowler digs up Rosemary's grave and switches her corpse to Lisa's.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Prowler is done in with his own shotgun, which blows his head in to chunky pieces.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The murders of past and future happen during Graduation festivities.
- Knife Nut: A sharpened bayonet is a part of The Prowler's repertoire.
- Lock-and-Load Montage: The Prowler is shown suiting up and preparing his weaponry alongside the cast getting ready for the coming party.
- Menacing Stroll: The Prowler takes it slow when he goes after Pam in the dormitory.
- Not Quite Dead:
- Otto manages to shoot The Prowler. Unfortunately for him, he only pretends to be dead and returns fire.
- An unusual victim example happens as a last scare for the film; Pam discovers the corpses of Carl and Sherry in the shower that they intended to share. Carl's corpse then springs to life momentarily and tries to grab her.
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Pam finds a necklace dangling in a fireplace. When she investigates it, Rosemary's corpse drops before her.
- Reality Ensues: Just like in most slasher movies, the Prowler survives being stabbed and shot. But unlike most slasher movies, he is clearly injured and probably dying, unmasks himself because he's having trouble breathing, is too weak to overpower Sherry, and ultimately shoots himself in the head instead of dying slowly.
- Red Herring: There are plenty of older men to pin your suspicions on.
- The Reveal: Who is The Prowler? Sheriff Fraser, that's who.
- Sawed-Off Shotgun: One is among The Prowler's arsenal. It gets used against him in the climax, which kills him.
- Shower Scene: Sherry is taking a shower when her boyfriend Carl appears and startles her. Things could have escalated into a Shower of Love if The Prowler wouldn't have stuck his bayonet through Carl's skull and then impaled Sherry with the pitchfork.
- Slashed Throat: Just when Lisa is about to get to safety from the swimming pool, the Prowler is suddenly there also to graphically cut her throat from behind with his sharpened bayonet.
- Something About a Rose: The Prowler leaves roses to the scenes of his crimes.
- The "The" Title
- Title Drop: Miss Allison informs the partygoers that there's a prowler seen around the campus, and everyone should stay inside.
- Trauma Button: The revival of the Graduation Dance makes Rosemary's killer snap and start killing again.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Used when Paul has to relieve himself at the party.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to Major Chatham. He was presumably killed by the Prowler, who then hid his body.
- Your Head A-Splode: After struggling for his gun with Pam, The Prowler dies from a blast to the head.