Film Review: Prom Night (1980)

Prom-Night-1980-bluray-cover-Synapse-FilmsSYNOPSIS:

A group of kids playing a very strange game leads to the accidental death of a little girl. Years later when the group is in high school and looking forward to attending their prom someone decides to make them pay for their actions that caused the little girl to die by killing them one-by-one. Will Kim and the school principal be able to figure out who is behind the murders and stop them before it’s too late or is this going to be the last prom anyone ever attends at Hamilton High?

REVIEW:

Ahhh, how I miss the 80’s. Prom Night came along right about when the whole slasher craze was beginning, and while some people may argue otherwise I think that it played a crucial role in creating the standard formula that most slasher flicks in the 80’s followed (along with other films such as Halloween, Black Christmas, and several others of course). For some reason though, this movie never quite got the respect that it deserved which is unfortunate, because I think that it is nothing short of being totally and completely awesome. It has all the right tools that make a great slasher flick such as a creepy beginning where a tragic accident occurs, a mysterious killer taking revenge on the people connected to the accident years later, some fun death scenes, a dash of cheesy acting, and everybody’s favorite “final girl,” Jamie Lee Curtis. I have always liked this movie and I have always wondered why so many people don’t share my opinion about it.

I first saw it when I was in the first grade when it was shown on network television for the first time (yes kids, I am showing my age here). I watched it with my mom and sister (my mom and dad were always cool about letting us watch whatever we wanted because they knew we could handle it) and even though it scared me and I spent a lot of the time covering my eyes I loved every minute of it. I think that seeing it at such an early age is what prompted my love for slasher flicks. I loved the fact that the viewers didn’t know who the killer was and it was fun trying to figure out who it was and what that person’s connection was to the little girl who died at the beginning. To this day I can remember arguing with my mom and sister that night about who the killer was before it was revealed (I was wrong), and how cool my little six-year-old mind thought the death scene toward the end that takes place during the crowning of the prom king and queen was (while it looks a little cheesy now it is still pretty impressive nonetheless). Having seen it many, many times since that night I still enjoy it as much now as I did when I was a scared little kid watching it for the first time.

I have heard a lot of people bitch and complain that it is boring and that it is way too slow. I’ll admit that there are some moments where it lags a little bit but I would never say that it was boring. The movie does a good job of building up the suspense before the sh*t hits the fan so to speak, and we are treated to a lot of scenes of the killer screwing with his/her victims mentally and in other ways before hunting them down and killing them. I love the scenes where the unseen killer calls the victims and threatens them as the voice is very menacing and creepy and reminded me of the phone calls that the killer makes in Black Christmas. While it may start off pretty slow after the opening scene ends and some people may be turned off by the slow pace it is still a very entertaining movie and I don’t think it is remotely boring at all. I think that those who do think that it is boring must have a short attention span.

Once the murders do start taking place they are pretty damn cool. We get a stabbing and a sliced throat via a glass shard, some fun with an axe, and an awesome decapitation (that couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person). We are also treated to a couple of lengthy chase scenes (the one involving Wendy goes on forever and is pretty tense), and the ending involving the final confrontation with Kim and the killer is pretty impressive (and a little depressing). While the movie isn’t a non-stop gore fest loaded with bloody death scene after bloody death scene I still think that there is enough here to keep any gore hound happy.

prom-night-poster

Prom Night is a fun ride that features an interesting plot, nice death scenes, and just an overall ominous tone that most slasher flicks today are sorely missing. It also has some great 80’s cheese as well which includes the typical horny high school students, bad hair, ugly ass clothes, and some pretty goofy disco music. If you aren’t sold yet keep in mind it also stars Jamie Lee Curtis and the always great Leslie Nielsen (it is so weird seeing him in a straight, serious role in my opinion since he is better known for doing comedies). In short, this movie is a winner and if you haven’t seen it you need to run out now and pick up a copy of it (hell the sequels are entertaining as well even if they have pretty much nothing to do with the first movie). Highly recommended.

Features

  • Brand-New 2K High-Definition Transfer from the Original 35mm Camera Negative
  • 5.1 Surround Remix Specifically Created for This Release (Original 2.0 Mono Included)
  • Audio Commentary with Director Paul Lynch and Screenwriter William Gray
  • THE HORRORS OF HAMILTON HIGH: The Making of “Prom Night” – Featurette
  • Collection of Additional Scenes Added for Television Broadcast
  • Never-Before-Seen Outtakes from “Prom Night” [Exclusive to Blu-ray]
  • Motion Still Gallery [Exclusive to Blu-ray]
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & Television Spots
  • English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

prom-night-poster

Prom Night (1980) is now on bluray per Synapse Films

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About Todd Martin

Todd Martin grew up in Irvington, a small town in Kentucky. Thanks to his mother, father, and favorite uncle he started watching horror films at a very young age and has been a horror geek ever since. He is basically a walking encyclopedia of horror flicks (especially the 80’s slashers), comic books, and pro wrestling, and has been writing for the biggest majority of his life.

His first book, Nightmare Tales was published in 2006 and he has had several short stories published in several collections. He and his wife Trish published their book “The Gardener,” a horror novel that is a throwback to the slasher films of the 80’s in 2011 and he is working on a collection of short horror stories When he isn’t reviewing movies and books or doing interviews for Horrornews.net he has been known to act from time to time as he has appeared in a handful of low budget horror films. He also enjoys writing screenplays and enjoys making movies as well. He wrote the segment “Angel” which appeared in the 2004 film “Tales from the Grave 2: Happy Holidays!” which was produced and directed by Stephanie Beaton, and recently appeared in Tim Ritter’s film “Deadly Dares: Truth or Dare 4.”. He resides in Kentucky with his wife Trish, their cat Buffy, and their wiener dog, Cujo

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