Friday, June 11, 2010

Prom Night (1980)

After witnessing the death of a young girl during an unfortunate game of hide-and-seek, a masked killer returns years later to exact revenge against the teens that were involved in her death on the night of their Senior Prom. Coming off of the success of HALLOWEEN, Jamie Lee Curtis stars as the quintessential "scream-queen" in this rather conventional teen Slasher, a role she would assume once more in TERROR TRAIN the same year. PROM NIGHT possesses nearly every trait that defines the Slasher film, including the masked killer, a series of menacing phone calls made to the victims, an empowered "final girl," a killing spree that occurs on a significant date, and many others. That being said, it is also one of the most mediocre entries within the genre. In addition to an inane subplot about an escaped lunatic that has no bearing on any of the events outside of creating a faulty red herring, the film trudges along at a sluggish pace, without a single murder occurring until the last third of the picture. What is worse is that the deaths are completely uninspired and virtually bloodless except for an unexpected decapitation on the disco dance floor. While gratuitous violence certainly does not determine a film's worth (as TERROR TRAIN would soon prove), the overall uneventfulness paired with its lack of gore make it easily forgettable. Thankfully, Paul Lynch's skilled camera placements give the film a visual strength that is lacking in many of the later genre entries. PROM NIGHT holds an undeserved placing as one of the early classics from the first wave of Slasher movies, but purists can overlook its flaws and appreciate it for its strictly formulaic design.

Rating: 6/10.
Gore: 3/10.
Number of views: 4.

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  1. I like PROM NIGHT. Sure, it isn't great. But it has a phenomenal dance sequence that should be appreciated. And the beginning and final minutes of the film are pretty cool. But yeah, it's above average and nothing more. Way better than the remake, you have to admit. And I'm glad someone else likes TERROR TRAIN. I prefer that film over this one.

  2. Definitely not perfect, but hell, who cares? It's a fun slasher pic and it has Jamie Lee! Been wanting to rewatch this one for awhile.

  3. I have tried so hard to like this one guys, but every time I pop it in I just get so bored. Whats worse is I actually enjoy GRADUATION DAY more than PROM NIGHT, heresy I know!

  4. I have a great fondness for this movie, but a lot of that probably is due to nostalgia. It is a movie that must have played on TV a lot when I was a kid, because I remember watching it all the time. I still find the beginning creepy, when the kids are playing "killer" in the abandoned building, and the disco dance sequence is one my favorite dance sequences in a movie ever, due to it's sheer ridiculousness. I do agree that it's very slowly paced though. I tried to have my boyfriend and his friends watch it, and as we were watching it I could just see their faces glazed over with boredom, which was a little embarrassing for me, but what can I say, I enjoy it :)

  5. I have a soft spot for this movie, but everything you said is 100% correct. I had this on VHS and enjoyed it quite a bit when I was in junior high. Although it's formulaic, there seems to be something special about it. As Emily said, it's probably just nostalgia.

  6. You guys just encapsulated my biggest problem with rating the Slasher films. I love love LOVE GIRLS NITE OUT, but when it comes time to setting nostalgia aside and rating the films based on quality, it becomes much more difficult. Same with MADMAN or THE PROWLER. The Slashers are typically most fans' favorite subgenres, which can be so easily blinding as reviewers.

    Em the one part I like even better than the final dance sequence is Jamie Lee practicing for the dance sequence, it cracks me up every time lol..

  7. I'm with Fred. TERROR TRAIN is an ace slasher movie. There's a lot more going on in that one than PROM NIGHT could ever hope to muster. I'm also with Carl in that it's a boring movie. One of the most unnecessary remakes, too. If not for Jaime Lee Curtis, I can't see this one having any sort of staying power at all, imo.

  8. Its true, the only thing more bland than the original is the teen-friendly remake. I didnt hate the remake only due to the fact that theres nothing to hate, its so mediocre and so forgettable that you cant outright bash it, theres just no point to it whatsoever

  9. In fairness to 'Prom Night,' it does also have Leslie Nielsen. Mind you, so did 'Day of the Animals' and that sucks.

    As far as some of the other slashers go, I appreciate 'Prowler' for it's giallo-style plot, even if it is a bit of a non-sequitur. What I saw of 'Girls Nite Out' is pretty lame, although I can't get a disc that plays fully- even after THREE DIFFERENT ONES. I liked 'Maniac' a lot too, even if the whole thing is very lop-sided. They throw in that whole plot with Munro at the last minute and expect it to be important.

    I have yet to see 'Terror Train,' mostly because the awesome, foreign poster sets the bar too high. I'll eventually get that for a double-bill with 'Night Train Murders.'

  10. GNO is overall pretty boring but the scene in the attic with the teddy bear is friggin awesome! I had the same fucking problem with FRIGHTMARE and several other shoddy Media Blasters discs.. Sucks man I feel your pain..


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