News Archive... AKA The Old Blog

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Richard Einhorn's 'The Prowler'

If there is one segment of film fandom you can always count on it is the horror movie fan. They will likely accept any product of varying quality and find the good in it. Fright films over the years that have been dubbed "classics" are really just lame ducks that have struck a chord in the viewer's psyche and remained there, slowly dissolving like a Tylenol. A lot of people born in the very late '70s and reared in the '80s can tell you, there was no better time for horror movies -- good, bad and downright craptacular (and we often remember these the most). It was a time where boobs and blood filled the screen, and images of sadistic grue warped our pre-pubescent minds.

I'm reminiscing here for a reason. Tonight I watched Blue Underground's DVD presentation of Joseph (Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter -- that's part 4 for you regular people) Zito's The Prowler (1981). This was one in a wave of early '80s slasher pictures made to capitalize on the success of John Carpenter's Halloween and Sean Cunningham's Friday The 13th.

The film proposes that a crazed WW2 soldier returns to American from battle, only to find he has been dumped by his gal while he was gone. Unable to fathom life without his beloved dame, he straps on his army gear and skewers her and her new boyfriend with a pitchfork while they make out. We flashforward thirty years to the present (1980) day to pick up the story, where our killer goes on the prowl once again...

I'm not really reviewing the movie here; instead I'd like to highlight the score, by composer Richard Einhorn. Einhorn has been busy lately writing serious documentary scores and classical pieces. His work "Voices of Light" was used prominently in K:19 The Widowmaker when it was clear that Klaus Badelt's original score wasn't cutting it emotionally. Surprisingly, Richard does not list The Prowler amongst the credits on his website. However, I suppose any composer who has made a career writing large scale orchestral and choral symphonies has left the low-budget slasher horror world behind.

P erformed and recorded in New York, Einhorn's score for The Prowler is a successful cross-breed of Harry Manfredini's scores for the first three Friday The 13th films and the avant-garde Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki's works sampled in Kubrick's The Shining. It is a deadly serious, taught and frightening score that eschews melody for brilliant orchestral effects to goose the audience. It's the kind of horror score that is always interesting, always moving, and atmospheric without resorting to synths -- which were probably cheaper and in fashion at the time.

Unfortunately I have been unable to track down info on a soundtrack album, so it seems like one may never have been released (perhaps due to AFM re-use fees?). A score like The Prowler really does deserve a second life as a soundtrack album and an independent label could produce and release a title like this and see solid sales. Remember, those horror fans sure are loyal.

For more info on the composer: