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Rosemary's Killer

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Posted 5th April 2009 at 07:59 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

Rosemary's Killer

This trailer is under the alternate title: The Prowler

This film is a minor classic of the Stalk 'n' Slash genre and is going to praised accordingly. However, the positive points I'm going to raise depend on the reader enjoying the cliches and archetypes of the style. So, If you hate any of these stalwart slasher features, please disregard this write up...

* Leering, lurching Point-of-View shots

* Steamy, Vaseline-on-the-lens shower scenes

* Sassy, slutty, pot smoking girls getting iced

* Actors in their late 20s playing teens

* Obvious red herrings, plot fakery and logic lapses

* Everyone splitting up so the killer can stick sharp things in them and chop stuff off better

* Suspicious, slightly inbred locals

* Prim girls who survive

Still here? good...

Rosemary's Killer (AKA The Prowler) works because it trots out all the cliches with energy and skill. Clocking in at a double-feature friendly 85 minutes, it doesn't out stay it's welcome, instead, it it slickly presents plenty of gory kills, tense foot chases and goofy teen flick dialogue. We open in 1945, where a local college dance is in full swing. Rosemary is attending the shindig with her new beau, an obnoxious rich kid whose just begging for some garden fork justice...

...and he's going to get it real soon.

You see, Rosemary has hurt someone's feelings real bad. It seems she ended a relationship with a G.I. stationed overseas. She promised to wait, she really did, but she was young and couldn't hold on any longer. One 'Dear John' letter later and she was free to see other people.

Except her old flame turned out to be psychotic and, driven mad with jealousy, he's returned home to get his vengeance. The two new lovers soon see the error of their ways when he sticks them both with his fork in a gazebo, painting the screen red with gore before leaving behind a symbolic red rose. Naturally, this heinous crime goes unsolved and all dances are banned forever.

Flash forward 35 years and the sleepy college town is set to celebrate graduation once more, but, some of the locals aren't too happy. The local shopkeeper is a typical hick who hates kids, so perhaps he or his subnormal assistant will start the slaying again.

Or maybe it's the local sheriff, whose left town for a 'fishing trip'.

Or could it be the Major Chatham, town elder and father Rosemary, the girl so savagely slain all those years ago.

Call Scooby Doo and the gang right now!

The film is very thin on plot but then, what exactly do you need for a great piece of slasher trash? It perfectly sets up a gang of pretty kids who get slaughtered with enthusiasm by special effects wizard Tom Savini. This is one of his early efforts which, alongside other genre classics like Maniac and The Burning, established him a major talent.

Gory treats on offer in Rosemary's Killer include a leering, gruesome garden fork to the abdomen in the obligatory shower murder, a well realized neck slice in a swimming pool and a quite brilliant kill in which a square jawed jock gets a long knife straight through the top of the skull, in a drawn out sequence of blood, terror and twitchy, eye rolling death.

The acting is above par for this kind of production, with none of the cookie cutter characters* standing out as particularly bad. The camera work is stylish, amping up the tension for the pursuits and gazing voyeuristically during the shocking murders.

Director Joseph Zito, who went onto make a Friday the 13th sequel and Chuck Norris kill-fest Missing in Action, does a fine job, turning out a fine tuned thrill-kill B-movie that makes the most of a reasonable budget. While it offers precisely nothing in the way of fresh ideas or originality, Rosemary's Killer does deliver classic 80s horror chills and buckets of grue, making it a good bet for fans who love to sit through three or four of these films in one sitting.

* Alpha male cop, prim survivor girl, slutty friends of prim survivor 1 & 2, Inbred, greasy shopkeeper. Mute village weirdo, Drunken jock, Bespectacled Geek...
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