Prom Night (1980)


I can confirm that the first murder of this 92 minute “slasher” occurs exactly 1 hour, 2 minutes and 45 seconds in. And no, this isn’t some slow cinema, arthouse take on an 80s horror flick that bubbles with unbearable tension for two acts until a gloriously bloody release, it’s just an incredibly boring one.

Between its shameless pillaging from Halloween, Carrie and even Saturday Night Fever as well as a legitimate scream-queen in the shape of Jamie Lee Curtis headlining the cast, Prom Night aspires to a certain calibre of slasher pic but drastically falls short of the mark. The most memorable sequence involves Curtis busting some disco moves on the dance floor. Nothing of the actual horror or mystery elements carry much weight of impact. It’s practically bloodless, with a totally bland balaclava-wearing killer to boot. The Argento-lite cutaways of the killer’s hands between scenes become laughable because, instead of seeing him sharpening knives or fondling weird totems or, you know, anything moderately sinister and dark, he merely taps his pencil angrily on a yellow pad. Like…really?

There are some good young actors in the cast I suppose (and Leslie Nielsen!) but a lot of them are also interchangeable. At the end of the day there’s only so many scrawny boys with fair-haired mop-tops you can take before getting confused at who’s who. In fact, for most of its running time this doesn’t feel like a slasher film at all, merely a teen drama with some disco dancing and seriously minor sinister undertones. There’s a reason Prom Night wasn’t the first movie Randy fired up in his Jamie Lee marathon in Scream. Everyone would be asleep instead of dead.

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