Skip to content

John’s Horror Corner: Prom Night (1980), an early 80s slasher starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

September 19, 2022

 

MY CALL:  Extremely weak kills and basically nothing happens on screen. Really, there’s no reason see it except for early 80s Jamie Lee Curtis nostalgia. Sorry.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Prom Night: First off, I’d skip the remake Prom Night (2008). There are many early 80s slashers of much better quality. I’d recommend Maniac (1980), The Prowler (1981), Madman (1981), Pieces (1982) and maaaaaybe even The Slumber Party Massacre (1982).

IMDB summary–“At a high school senior prom, a masked killer stalks four teenagers who were responsible for the accidental death of a classmate six years previously.”

Hot on the coattails of Halloween (1978), director Paul Lynch (Humongous) calls on the early 80s scream queen to play Kimberly Hammond (Jamie Lee Curtis; Halloween, Halloween H20, Virus), our main protagonist and daughter to her high school’s principal Mr. Hammond (Leslie Nielsen; Creepshow, Dracula: Dead and Loving It).

With prom around the corner, our high school senior perps start getting strange phone calls and calling cards from our whispery killer, who stalks them closely. Red herrings abound. High school groundskeeper Mr. Sykes (Robert A. Silverman; The Brood, Scanners, Jason X) feels like the inspiration of the similar character in Pieces (1982), as are many other aspects of this film echoed in the 1982 classic.

Focused on her debut as prom queen, Kim pays less attention than she probably should to her (and their) obvious stalker. From Kim’s perspective, her greatest threat is her arch-frenemy Wendy (Anne-Marie Martin; The Boogens, Halloween II).

While not at all unusual for the era, there is no satisfying action in the first hour—not even a respectable opening death scene. Just a lot of bickering teen angst and man-sealing prom drama. And once the action does finally start, it’s really pretty soft on the horror (in terms of effects and on-screen violence). The first prom murder is an off-screen throat slit with the bloody results seen only after the fact, followed by off-screen stabbing (also bloodily revealed after the fact), and then off-screen ax attack (yup… bloody after the fact). There’s only one on-screen kill worth mentioning: a proper beheading, right before the “meh” reveal of the killer’s identity.

The only real reason to watch this movie is for the Jamie Lee Curtis nostalgia. Truly, there are many early 80s slashers of much better quality.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2022 2:32 pm

    Don’t see too many disappointing movies from Jamie Lee Curtis, but this is one of them. Enjoyable memory though of seeing this one back in the old days.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 24, 2022 12:49 pm

      I hadn’t seen this since probably middle school (early 90s). Now that I’ve seen it twice, I think I’ve saturated my lifetime viewings of this mediocrity. lol

  2. Jonny Numb permalink
    September 25, 2022 1:51 pm

    Spot on, John – I was similarly underwhelmed by this one, especially considering the hype surrounding it.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 25, 2022 1:55 pm

      Thanks for that. I (no joke) get nervous posting largely negative reviews about historically loved classics. I feel this one should be referred simply as “that other JLC slasher movie from 0ver 40 years ago.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: