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Prom Night (1980)

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Prom Night
> Prom Night (1980)
> Prom Night II (1987)
> Prom Night (2008)
Genres:
Horror, Slasher Film
Director:
Paul Lynch Paul Lynch
Starring:
Leslie Nielsen Leslie Nielsen
Jamie Lee Curtis Jamie Lee Curtis
Casey Stevens Casey Stevens
Anne-Marie Martin Anne-Marie Martin
Antoinette Bower Antoinette Bower

5.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: May 27, 2007
There are a lot of movies floating around out there that really deserve to be on this site, but the sheer volume of these "classics" makes it difficult to cover each and every last one of them. Take the recent string of Hitchcock reviews that came to us courtesy of our fellow reviewer for example; why has it taken so long to get a couple of his films listed on this site? In an attempt to get yet another "classic" out of the way (and to get it listed before the upcoming remake hits theaters), I decided to take a look at Prom Night for the first time... and the results weren't pretty.

Our storyline begins in 1974, where we find four adorable kids playing "Killer" in an abandoned school. This game is a variant of the ever-popular hide and seek, with the only difference being that the kids who hide are the victims and the seeker is the killer. Did I mention that these kids were adorable yet? Another little girl attempts to join in on the game, but thanks to the relentless taunting and teasing of these other kids, she winds up falling through a window and dies almost instantly.

Fast-forward to present day, aka 1980. The local high school is gearing up for their senior prom, and these four kids have all grown up and are set to finish their school days with a bang. In an interesting twist, Kim Hammond (Jamie Lee Curtis) - the sister of the girl who was killed - is all set to go to the prom with Nick McBride (Casey Stevens), who was one of the kids who caused the little girl to fall to her death... but Kim doesn't know that. The only kink in these kids' plans is the fact that someone has been threatening to come after them on prom night, and of course, when the big night finally rolls around, he or she lives up to their claims... but who could it be? Could it be the pedophilic lunatic who has just escaped from the asylum? How about that creepy janitor, or maybe it's Kim's dad (Leslie Nielsen)? As is usually the case in these slasher films, it turns out to be the person you'd least expect.

I'm really not sure why this one didn't appeal to me as I'm normally a huge fan of eighties slashers, and when you factor in that one of the most well-known scream queens of our time (Curtis) has a leading role in this one, well... it should go without saying that I went into this with high expectations. The main problem that I had with it was that the story was told in such a slow fashion. I realize that effective horror films need to be paced out and the characters need to be developed, but that wasn't what happened here; instead, we just watched as the characters discussed the prom, practiced their dance steps, chatted with one another, talked to their parents, and argued over who was taking who to the prom. There's pacing and character development, and then there's padding - this film relied far too much on the latter, in my humble opinion.

Up until the sixty-three minute mark of the film, the only horror element to be found is the killer calling his victims and delivering some of the weakest threats I've ever heard ("I'm going to get you!"). Then, when the action finally picks up, it's lackluster at best with just one memorable scene to be witnessed and a handful of the same, tired kills that have been done a thousand times over in slasher films before and after this one; seriously, how many times do we have to see the same knife and ax kills before they get phased out? Remember, this is coming from someone who enjoys cheesy eighties slashers.

Also, I really should point out that - like it or not - this film deserves a better DVD release. You see, it was originally released by Anchor Bay in what I assume was a solid DVD release, but this version is long since out of print and runs for upwards of fifty bucks. Short of shelling out the big bucks, the only way to see the film now is to pick up the Platinum Disc version, and trust me when I say that I've seen bad VHS bootlegs that looked and sounded better than this transfer. The video quality was absolutely horrible, and there were a large number of scenes where I simply couldn't understand what was being said no matter how many times I rewound it. Better quality wouldn't have made me enjoy this movie any more, mind you, but it certainly would have made it less painful to sit through.

Overall, Prom Night is a highly overrated film that doesn't even come close to deserving that "classic" status that many attribute to it. There's one memorable scene throughout the entire thing, the ending is easily guessable (the only reason I didn't see it coming was because I expected something shocking instead of the blatantly obvious), and everything else about the film is mediocre at best. 4/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 05/27/2007, 10:30 PM
The first time I saw this was on an old VHS, and the dark scenes were completely impossible to make out. The whole ending at the school, I couldn't see a single thing for a couple of minutes at a time. Just awful. Downloaded it again a few months back, and it's really not that great. It's a good movie, but like Chad said, it's very overrated. 6/10
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 05/28/2007, 07:44 PM
Total agreement here. Very overrated film. I didn't see it for the first time until 2001, but remember getting it on DVD and being very disappointed. It's just not anything close to what it's cracked up to be. This film could stand for a remake. 5/10.
Chad #3: Chad - added 05/28/2007, 08:42 PM
I thought a remake would be nice too, until I saw that it was going to be rated PG-13... and directed by a guy best known for doing a couple episodes of CSI and Nip/Tuck. Needless to say, I'm not looking forward to that.
Chad #4: Chad - added 04/14/2008, 07:44 PM
Cough, cough... hate to reply to myself, but I do love to pat myself on the back.
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