The Prowler (1981)

R | 88 mins | Horror | 9 October 1981

Director:

Joseph Zito

Cinematographer:

Raul Lomas

Editor:

Joel Goodman

Production Designer:

Lorenzo Mans

Production Company:

Graduation Films
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HISTORY

The “Movietime” newsreel footage used during the opening of the film is an assembly of World War II news footage made to resemble an actual “Fox Movietone News” story. The opening credits also reveal the “Dear John” letter, handwritten by the character “Rosemary,” and the end credits note: “Rose Chatham’s Letter by Sarah Higgins.”
       End credits include the statements: “The Producers wish to express their sincere appreciation to the Mayor and Townspeople of Cape May, New Jersey and to the New Jersey Film Commission for their cooperation,” and “Special Thanks to Philip Peyton.”
       According to the 23 Mar 1981 HR, Carolco Services acquired foreign distribution rights for the untitled film and subsequently named it Rosemary’s Killer for their screenings at the American Film Market (AFM). The 5 Aug 1981 Var reported the film was titled Graduation. As noted in the 25 Nov 1981 Var review, the film was ultimately released as The Prowler.
       The 5 Aug 1981 Var reported that principal photography took place in Cape May, NJ, and many local residents served as “extras.” The film was scheduled for release in Aug ... More Less

The “Movietime” newsreel footage used during the opening of the film is an assembly of World War II news footage made to resemble an actual “Fox Movietone News” story. The opening credits also reveal the “Dear John” letter, handwritten by the character “Rosemary,” and the end credits note: “Rose Chatham’s Letter by Sarah Higgins.”
       End credits include the statements: “The Producers wish to express their sincere appreciation to the Mayor and Townspeople of Cape May, New Jersey and to the New Jersey Film Commission for their cooperation,” and “Special Thanks to Philip Peyton.”
       According to the 23 Mar 1981 HR, Carolco Services acquired foreign distribution rights for the untitled film and subsequently named it Rosemary’s Killer for their screenings at the American Film Market (AFM). The 5 Aug 1981 Var reported the film was titled Graduation. As noted in the 25 Nov 1981 Var review, the film was ultimately released as The Prowler.
       The 5 Aug 1981 Var reported that principal photography took place in Cape May, NJ, and many local residents served as “extras.” The film was scheduled for release in Aug 1981.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1981
p. 6.
Variety
5 Aug 1981.
---
Variety
25 Nov 1981
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl asst dir
Addl asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Addl photog
Addl elec
Addl elec
Addl elec
Addl elec
Addl elec
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Still photog
Key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATOR
Prop master
COSTUMES
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and arr
Orig rock mus comp and performed by
Band member
Band member
Band member
Band member
Period dance mus by
Period mus consultant
Orig score cond by
Mus rec engineer
Mus rec engineer
SOUND
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
Addl sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff asst
Titles and opt by
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Spec makeup and eff
Makeup and hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Addl dial and script consultation
Addl dial and script consultation
Addl dial and script consultation
Loc mgr
Exec asst
Asst to the prods
Prod office coord
Scr supv
Stock footage consultant
Title consultant
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Locs equipped by
Rose Chatham's letter by
Television contributed by
Flower creations by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Disco Blood," written by Steven Paul Bock, performed by Nowhere Fast, courtesy Trust Me Music, Inc.
"View Through a Tear," written by Steven Paul Bock, performed by Nowhere Fast, courtesy Trust Me Music, Inc.
"Hard Way," written by Matthew Morris Iddings, performed by Nowhere Fast, courtesy Trust Me Music, Inc.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Class Killer
Rosemary's Killer
Graduation
Release Date:
9 October 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 9 October 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Haarlemmermeer '76-I, N.V.
Copyright Date:
28 September 1981
Copyright Number:
PA117345
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
88
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Near the end of World War II, Rosemary sends a “Dear John” letter to break up with her boyfriend in the service, embellishing her signature with a red rose. As the war ends and soldiers return home, Avalon Bay holds its Graduation Dance on 28 Jun 1945. A wealthy local, Francis Chatham, and her date, Roy, leave the party early and drive to a nearby gazebo. As the couple kisses, a person, dressed in a black, stabs them to death with a pitchfork and leaves a red rose in the dead girl’s hand. On 27 Jun 1980, Avalon Bay college students prepare for the first graduation dance since 1945. Major Chatham would not allow the event after his daughter’s death, but a recent stroke left him unable to halt the proceedings this year. Deputy Mark London arrives as Pam MacDonald and her friends hang decorations. Mark and Pam stop at his office on their way to lunch. Sheriff George Fraser prepares for his annual fishing trip, and Mark will be in charge while he is gone. The state police issue a warning that a dangerous thief might be headed toward Avalon Bay. At lunch, Pam worries about the criminal, but Mark is certain state police will apprehend him soon. She knows Mark is working that night, but asks him to stop by the dance, and he agrees. Later, Mark accompanies the sheriff to Kingsley’s Market, where owner Pat Kingsley brusquely reminds his deliveryman, Otto, that Major Chatham does not like to wait for his deliveries. After purchasing supplies and telling Mark to call if he has ... +


Near the end of World War II, Rosemary sends a “Dear John” letter to break up with her boyfriend in the service, embellishing her signature with a red rose. As the war ends and soldiers return home, Avalon Bay holds its Graduation Dance on 28 Jun 1945. A wealthy local, Francis Chatham, and her date, Roy, leave the party early and drive to a nearby gazebo. As the couple kisses, a person, dressed in a black, stabs them to death with a pitchfork and leaves a red rose in the dead girl’s hand. On 27 Jun 1980, Avalon Bay college students prepare for the first graduation dance since 1945. Major Chatham would not allow the event after his daughter’s death, but a recent stroke left him unable to halt the proceedings this year. Deputy Mark London arrives as Pam MacDonald and her friends hang decorations. Mark and Pam stop at his office on their way to lunch. Sheriff George Fraser prepares for his annual fishing trip, and Mark will be in charge while he is gone. The state police issue a warning that a dangerous thief might be headed toward Avalon Bay. At lunch, Pam worries about the criminal, but Mark is certain state police will apprehend him soon. She knows Mark is working that night, but asks him to stop by the dance, and he agrees. Later, Mark accompanies the sheriff to Kingsley’s Market, where owner Pat Kingsley brusquely reminds his deliveryman, Otto, that Major Chatham does not like to wait for his deliveries. After purchasing supplies and telling Mark to call if he has any problems, George leaves. Later, at the dorm, as the girls prepare for the dance, Sally warns her roommate, Lisa, to cover herself because their window faces Major Chatham’s home and, as usual, he is watching them, but Lisa laughs and exposes her breasts to Chatham. Elsewhere, a prowler dresses in black military fatigues, gloves, a mask and a World War II army helmet. When Pam finishes dressing, her roommate, Sherry, is still in the shower and insists on meeting Pam at the dance. After Pam leaves, Sherry’s boyfriend, Carl, surprises her and she invites him to join her in the shower. As Carl undresses, he is stabbed in the head by the killer, who then murders Sherry with a pitchfork and places a rose on her body. At the dance, Pam serves punch while waiting for Mark, but when he arrives, Lisa grabs him for a dance. Moments later, as Mark approaches Pam, Lisa bumps into him, causing punch to soak Pam’s dress. Irritated, Pam returns to her dorm to change. Assuming Sherry is still showering, Pam changes in the darkened room and does not notice Carl’s blood on the bed. As Pam leaves, the black-garbed prowler chases her through the dorm. She escapes through a side door, but Major Chatham, in his wheelchair, grabs her with a gloved hand. Pam slips out of her jacket, escapes the Major and runs to the front as Mark arrives to find her. She waits in his car while he investigates, discovering wheelchair tracks and boot marks. Pam asks him to check on Sherry and Carl, but the door to Pam’s dorm room is locked, so he does not enter. Mark and Pam drive to Chatham’s home. Lights are on, but there is no answer, so they break in and look for the Major. Pam notices a picture of Francis, holding a rose, on the mantel. While Mark looks upstairs, she opens a box containing more pictures of Francis and learns that her name was Francis Rosemary Chatham. When Mark returns, Pam insists that that Francis must have been called Rose, and reminds him that a red rose was found with her body. The killer was never found and Pam wonders if he is still in town. Mark argues that the murder happened decades ago and the prowler who chased her is the criminal that state police are searching for. Meanwhile, at the dance, Lisa’s date, Paul, is drunk and vomiting in the men’s room. Disgusted, Lisa leaves to swim, but when she gets into the pool, her throat is slit by the killer. Mark and Pam arrive at the dance, and ask the chaperones, Mr. Turner and Miss Allison, to keep everyone inside because there is a dangerous prowler in the vicinity. Paul goes to join Lisa in the pool area, but is stopped by the teachers. Mr. Turner demands the drunk student be arrested, so Mark and Pam take Paul to the sheriff’s station. Meanwhile, as Miss Allison looks for Lisa at the pool, she is stabbed to death. Kingsley appears at the sheriff’s station to complain that the gates to the cemetery are open and he is certain that students are causing trouble in the graveyard. At the cemetery, Pam waits in the car while Mark investigates, and discovers a grave has been dug up, and the casket is ajar. Simultaneously, Otto appears at the car, scaring Pam, and she screams. Otto disappears as Mark rushes back. Together, Pam and Mark discover that the disturbed gravesite is Francis Chatham’s plot, and find Lisa’s body in the coffin. At the sheriff’s station, Mark calls the fishing lodge to reach the sheriff. The lazy night clerk pretends to go to the sheriff’s cabin, then claims there was no answer and George must be night fishing. Mark contacts the state police who promise to arrive within thirty minutes and reveal that their thief has been apprehended and therefore cannot be Lisa’s killer. Pam is certain that the person who killed Rose also murdered Lisa. Mark wants Pam to stay safe at the dance, but she refuses and returns with him to Chatham manor. The lights suddenly go out and, as Mark checks the fuse box, he is knocked unconscious by the prowler. The electricity turns back on, and Pam notices a locket dangling in the fireplace. She pulls on the necklace and Rose’s skeleton drops from the chimney. The prowler blocks the doorway, announcing he has arrived for his date with Rose. He chases Pamela upstairs and when she tries to lock a bedroom door, he wedges his pitchfork inside. She breaks off the top half and brandishes the weapon, but Otto arrives and shoots the prowler, who collapses against the wall. However, their relief is short-lived, as the prowler sits up and shoots Otto. Pam stabs the prowler with the pitchfork, but he grabs his rifle and they struggle over the weapon. His black mask falls off, revealing the sheriff as the murderer. Pam forces the gun toward him, pulls the trigger, and the sheriff’s head explodes. Later, Mark and Pam meet the state police at the dorm. While Mark briefs the officer, Pam goes to her room where she discovers the bodies of Sherry and Carl. Carl’s hand reaches out and grabs Pam, shocking her. However, when she looks again back, the corpse is deathly still. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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