When people think of the essential Jamie Lee Curtis Slasher films, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Halloween films are what immediately come to mind. Still, there is one Slasher film that should be remembered. This film is 1980’s Prom Night.
Paul Lynch, known for directing Bullies (1986), The Keeper (2004), and the 1990 television show Top Cops, presents this instant cult classic that starred the scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Terror Train) and horror/comedy legend, Leslie Nielsen (Creepshow, The Naked Gun). With a script by William Gray (The Changeling, Humongous) and a story by Robert Guza Jr. (Curtains, General Hospital), this thrilling tale delivers much more than blood and guts, but also a plot filled with twist and turns and even the rare character development, which is very hard to come across in most films in the Slasher genre.
Six years after a ten year old girl accidentally falls to her death due to a group of older, taunting kids, these now high school aged kids begin getting threatening phone calls on the day of the high school prom, which also happens to have been scheduled on the same day as the ten year anniversary of the little girl’s death. Sure enough, these teens are soon hunted down one by one at the prom by a mysterious figure wearing a ski mask and armed with an axe. Could it be the perverted janitor committing the murders? Could it be the escaped killer and rapist who was falsely arrested for the girl’s murder teen years prior, and disfigured during the ensuing police chase, out for revenge? Or could it be the supposedly dead girl herself, back from beyond the grave?
As I said before, this film was an instant cult classic and a moderate success at the box office, and for good reason. The film isn’t only a gory Slasher, it is filled with suspense, thrills, a whodunit mystery, horror, an amazing cast and over the top acting for a Slasher, and a fantastically written plot and character development. The internal conflicts of the teens is shown as they struggle to decide if they should admit their crime to the police, or try to cover up that it was their fault. One character even feels guilty enough to debate whether or not to admit the reality of the events to the girl’s family, even after ten years. If you also enjoyed the film I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), you will most likely enjoy Prom Night, as the plots are fairly similar. The only negative part of the film I could recognize is the low lighting quality of the film, as many of the scenes are very dark.
All in all, this is an amazing, classic Slasher film, one that’s kind is hard to come by. This film inspired its very own legacy, spawning three sequels and a remake. I give this film four stars out of five for great acting, writing, and directing, but low quality lighting. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you put it on your list of films to check out soon.
Length: 89 min