Prom Night (1980)
I love 80s movies (both horror and in general) and I love Jamie Lee Curtis, so really this film is somewhat of a dream come true for me. After earning her scream queen crown in John Carpenter’s Halloween just two years prior and securing it in The Fog, Jamie Lee made it a hat-trick with this little gem.
The story centres on Kim Hammond (Jamie Lee Curtis), who, along with her friends, for six years has been living with the terrible truth of what happened to her sister whose body was found in an abandoned convent. The police arrested a known child molester who was in the area and Kim and her friends Kelly, Wendy, Nick, and Jude kept silent about how they taunted and teased Robin causing her to accidentally fall out of a window to her death. Now high school students, the group are gearing up for the prom, when they start receiving obscene phone calls and they find out that the man who was jailed for killing Robin has escaped and is on the loose in the area…
Prom Night is very of its time, an amazingly brilliant time when slashers reigned triumphant in cinemas (oh God, how I wish I could have been there!). Many will of course argue that this film played a crucial role in the laying down of the standard slasher formula that most slashers to this day follow, and I will agree with them, which is why it annoys me that it never really gets the respect it deserves. It has everything you could ever hope and want from a good slasher – a tragic accident, a mysterious killer, fabulously hammy acting, interesting death scenes, a good killer with a cool mask and, the most important thing of all, a final girl who can hold her own.
The film does start off a little slow once the opening scene ends (though personally I don’t think this takes away from the film overall) but once it gets in to the murders it just steams ahead with guns blazing. As previously mentioned, we get treated to some pretty decent death scenes, my favourite being the beheading, but what really secures it a place in my list of greats is the show down between Kim and the killer. Quite the twist. Oh yes, and the dance scene, how could I forget?!
All in all, Prom Night is a definite must see for any horror fan and boasts a good plot, a convincing performance from the cast, awful clothes, heinous hair and Jamie Lee Curtis. What’s not to love?