I feel like I've been writing a lot of negative reviews in recent times, and whenever I get into one of these "every movie I've seen lately is crap" ruts I start to question my faith. My faith in filmed entertainment, that is. Will no movie ever please me ever again? Have I finally outgrown the allure of moving pictures? Thankfully, my faith is usually restored by a movie that eventually comes along and shines brightly amongst the pile of excrement I've been wading through. A movie that winks at me a says, "you're not the problem BIQ, they were the problem." It's all the more satisfying when this movie is such an undiscovered gem like Rosemary's Killer...
In a prelude set in 1945 (but looking suspiciously like a 40's themed party taking place in the 80's), Rosemary attends the graduation dance with her civy boyfriend, Roy, after having dispensed with her, WWII serving, soldier boyfriend via a "Dear John" letter. Things are going swimmingly at the dance until Rose and Roy step outside for some extramarital shenanigans. Before you can say "well, didn't she turn out to be a floosy" an unidentified person armed with an identified pitch fork shows up and... well... pitch forks the hanky-pankying couple to death.
The movie then skips ahead to the "present day" (which happens to be 1981 at the time this movie was made) and a group of hot young hipsters are preparing for the first graduation dance to be held since the pitch-forky events of 1945. Now, you're never gonna guess what happens next... Rosemary's killer, who was never identified or caught in 1945, makes a triumphant return and starts carving up those damn teens on the night of the graduation dance.
I bet you never saw that coming.
"I honestly don't think this is the way to the dance."
Yeah, OK, Rosemary's Killer is not exactly ground breaking cinema. It follows the conventions of the genre pretty faithfully and never really surprises. Fans of the more well-known My Bloody Valentine will probably also complain about the striking similarity of its plot. But here's the thing; whilst Rosemary's Killer does nothing new it does what it does better than most of its contemporaries, including My Bloody Valentine.
The performances are all way above par for an 80's slasher, the score is wonderfully effective, and Tom Savini's visual effects are gruesomely convincing. The titular killer gets around in army fatigues and some sort of desert storm face covering. Whilst this is not as iconic as the kit that other 80's slasher antagonists got around in, it's still an effective way to keep the killer's identity hidden until the movie's finale, which is more effective (and makes more sense) than most other slashers of the era.
Rosemary's Killer goes by the name of The Prowler in other territories, but a "rose by any other name would smell just as sweet". Ahem. In truth, neither title serves the film particularly well. "The Prowler" is too generic, too forgettable, and just plain lame. "Rosemary’s Killer" is a better title but it's hard to look at it and not think "don't you mean Rosemary's Baby?".
Whether it was the multiple uninspiring titles that led to the film's relative obscurity, or whether it's just not as good as I’m giving it credit for, Rosemary's Killer is still an undiscovered gem in my metaphorical books. So, if you're in the mood for some 80's slasher goodness I say you could easily do a lot worse than Rosemary's Killer (aka The Prowler).