Harpoon is a 1985 slasher horror film written and directed by Joseph A. Harding and starring Fredrick Nordal as the harpoon-wielding killer known as the Fisherman. The film launched a franchise, consisting of nine films and a remake. Nordal has portrayed the Fisherman in all eleven films except for the remake, Harpoon (2008 film) where the Fisherman was portrayed by Garrett Endun. The film is followed by 1986's Harpoon II: Fisherman's Revenge, 1988's Harpoon III: Back To The Cove, 1990's Harpoon Chapter IV, 1991's Harpoon: Cove of Blood, 1993's Harpoon: Aquaphobia, 1994's Harpoon: Rebirth of Evil, 1996's Harpoon: The New Beginning, 1998's Harpoon: All In The Family, 2000's Harpoon: Summer of Blood, and 2002's Harpoon: The Final Chapter, as well as the 2008 remake of the original film.
The film follows a group of people on vacation at the notoriously haunted Harpoon's Cove, where they are terrorized and killed by the Fisherman, a killer wielding a harpoon and dressed in a fisherman's hat, a mask with only two large eyeholes, and a raincoat, all in black. At the same time the Harpoon's Cove chief of police Sheriff Bill Nottingham tries to uncover the killer and stop him.
The film begins in 1954, where Captain James Arrowhead and his wife Beth are blessed with a child, a son. Moments after their house is raided by a group of masked criminals, and James is shot fatally while Beth flees with their child. She is pursued by the masked criminals and falls into the water, where they drown her and her baby.
Thirty five years later, a group of college students are driving to Harpoon's Cove after finishing their senior year, with one of them, Johnny, convincing the others that the place is supposedly haunted. The arrive in the Cove's main hub, which is strangely quiet, with only a few businesses open and the police everywhere. Johnny asks the police what is going on, but he is told to leave the Cove with his friends. They decide to stay in the town and rent out a large house on the shore, where they hope to enjoy their holiday. As the sun sets Johnny and the other men (Greg, Paul, and Brad) leave for town to get some food, leaving the girls (Chrissa, Amy, Jennifer, and Laurie) alone at the house. Jennifer goes out to the beach whereupon she is stalked by a man dressed like a fisherman and harpooned through the chest. The boys return the house and begin to cook the food, while Chrissa notices that Jennifer has not returned. She is frightened and asks Paul to go outside with her and look for Jennifer. He agrees and they look outside on the beach for her, when they become separated and Paul is stabbed repeatedly with a gutting knife. Chrissa hears his screams for help and runs towards the house, when she is shot in the leg with a harpoon gun and dragged off by the killer in a fishnet.
The others hardly notice their absence and eat dinner, after which Amy and Greg have sex in the house while Laurie goes looking for the others. She finds Paul's mutilated body and calls for help, fumbling around in the night. She sees a light in the distance and runs towards it, where she finds Chrissa disemboweled nearby a burning fire. She is about to scream when the killer impales her with a trident and lifts her into the air. Amy and Greg wake up the next day and notice that only Johnny is around, and the three begin to search for the others. They find them one by scattered around the area, and call the police. Sheriff Bill Nottingham arrives and helps them find out what is going on, when they are attacked by the killer and Bill is injured. Johnny and Greg manage to drive the killer off and rush Bill to hospital, returning to the house and deciding to leave before the sun sets.
As they leave for the car they find the tires have been slashed, and Greg and Johnny find a boat moored nearby the house and bring it towards the shore so that Amy can get on. As they are steering it the killer emerges from under cover and impales Greg against the steering while, causing the boat to crash into the cove. Johnny manages to escape the wreckage and rendezvous with Amy. They decide to run for the town, and as they begin to move the killer emerges from the wreckage and pursues them, armed with a harpoon gun and a fishnet. He captures Amy with the net and harpoons her, leaving Johnny to try and get to the town. He sees it a few miles away, screaming for help, before the killer wraps the net around his head and impales him through the neck.
The film ends with Sheriff Nottingham receiving news in hospital that all of the college students where killed, and he quietly curses, promising to avenge them and find the killer.