Directed by Paul Lynch [Other horror films: Humongous (1982), Mania (1986, segments ‘Have a Nice Day’ & ‘The Good Samaritan’)]
I’ve seen this movie around five times now, and I can finally appreciate it more than I’ve been able to in the past. My main problems stemmed from the fact that many of the characters seemed interchangeable – the difference between Kelly and Jude and Vicki and even Jamie Lee Curtis’ Kim never stuck with me, and so I lost track of who’s who and what relationship between everybody was as the movie dragged on, which wasn’t helped out by the fact Nick and Alex didn’t look all that different from each other either. With this most recent viewing, though, things were cleared up, and while it doesn’t save the film, it goes a long way in increasing my rating.
Aside from Jamie Lee Curtis (who, by the way, had some fantastically cheesy dance scenes toward the end), there weren’t a whole lot of stand-out performances. I liked Nielsen well enough, along with Eddie Benton (mega-bitch Wendy), Michael Tough (Kim’s brother, Alex), Joy Thompson (Jude), and Sheldon Rybowski (Slick, a deliciously fun character), but none of them blew me away. Which is sort of a shame, because for the first two acts, next to nothing horror-wise occurs to keep us otherwise occupied.
Which is my biggest gripe of the film – it’s drags on too long at the beginning. Once we get an hour in, I start having a great time (that decapitation is still a favorite of mine), but getting there is, more than anything else, a chore. It feels like Carrie (1976), in many ways, actually, as it just drags on and on until we finally get to an epic finale.
I did like the end, which was actually rather somber. There were plenty of attractive ladies throughout, and while nudity wasn’t high, it was still a nice plus. Again, Jamie Lee Curtis did a good job (even though that disco dance is so dated), though her role in Terror Train, also from 1980, stuck with me more. Lastly, the song that bled into the credits, ‘Fade to Black’ by Gordene Simpson, was beautifully sung, and though I didn’t notice it during my first viewings of this flick, it really is a nice song that I’ll not forget.
Prom Night, despite the problems I have (not mentioned, but I feel the killer’s absence would have been noted, for instance), has a lot of charm. It drags, but it is still a decently well-done slasher that is just outclassed by others from the same time (such as My Bloody Valentine, which came out a year later). I still don’t love this flick. But I’m closer than I have been before.
This was covered on Fight Evil’s second podcast, so you can listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this.
5 thoughts on “Prom Night (1980)”