"If You're Not Back By Midnight, We'll Wait Longer..."
The decade of the 70's broke a lot of new ground, the decade gave us the best of everything in cinema from high drama and thrillers to horror and sci-fi and fantasy. It's the decade that defined the blockbuster motion picture and ushered in the age of the summer movie extravaganza and the winter Academy Award show piece.
It also gave way to remakes, bad rip off's and movies that should have been made for TV, but somehow ended up on the big screen (I'm looking at you Megaforce!), because the studios were looking for anything to compete with the major summer blockbusters at the time. So, the 80's became a testing ground of sorts for all kinds of movies.
One of the biggest movies of the 70's was also a genre defining movie. John Carpenter gave us Halloween, a movie about a serial killer who returns home to exact revenge on the remaining members of his family. Truly unique, although not entirely original, Carpenter was able to bring us characters that we cared about, a villain that we all wanted to know more about, and of course the blueprint for horror movies to come.
Prom Night is neither a blockbuster motion picture or a unique and interesting movie. In fact, it's quite boring. If you have seen any of the other horror movies that had come out before this, then you would see that Prom Night is nothing more than a casual rip off. The only thing going for it, is Leslie Nielson and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Prom Night, in fact is more than a mash up of those popular 80's horror movies. It's basically just a retelling of Halloween. Instead of Michael Meyers killing his sister at the beginning, the movie starts with a bunch of teenagers playing "serial killer" in an abandoned school/business on the outskirts of town, when they are interrupted by a younger girl during the game, so they decide to chase her throughout the building until she falls to her death.
The kids decide to make a pact from that day to never tell anyone what really happened. We catch up with them 6 years later, getting ready for the prom, the anniversary of the day they killed the little girl.
What happens next is the same thing as what happens in Halloween, except slower and more drawn out and with a disco dance fight. With a slight twist. The story has a killer escaping a mental institution and returning to the town that convicted him of killing the little girl. We assume that this is the same person stalking all the kids that killed the little girl and then murdering them, one by one, Friday the 13th style. Revenge style.
At one point, the murder is at the school, killing kids about to have sex and in the next moment, he's stalking a high school couple that are having sex in a van, somewhere in a park. Then he's back at the school, wandering the grounds, murdering people.
There's a lot of inconsistencies with this movie. But the biggest issue, is that it's basically a rip off of Halloween, a boring, uninteresting rip off. The studio pretty much thought that it would be a cool idea to mash up Carrie, without the fire in the gym and Halloween, without the cool killer. They even have Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie as the sister of the killer.
Seriously. Jamie Lee Curtis plays the sister of a killer. She also has a dance fight, to prove that she's deserving of the title of Prom Queen.
This movie is bad. I'm surprised that John Carpenter didn't sue for plagarism. At one point, the towns police are notified that the killer has escaped a mental institution and is heading towards their town. The institution's chief psychologist/psychiatrist even comes to "not-haddenfield" to warn the police of the problem.
The escaped killer is eventually caught and the police can go home and rest. Until they are called in again, because people are being murdered at the local high school. So, at the end of the movie Lori Strode confronts and kills Michael Meyers with an axe to the head... I mean Jamie Lee Curtis confronts and kills her brother Alex, who was killing all of his sisters friends, because they accidentally killed his little sister. Confusing? Read the Wikipedia entry on this movie and then try not to go insane.
Just to reiterate the basis of the movie.
Jamie Lee Curtis plays the sister of a serial killer, except she doesn't know it. Her brother, Alex, is killing all of Jamie Lee Curtis's high school friends, because 6 years earlier, he watched as his other young sister fell out of a window to her death and Jamie Lee Curtis's friends made a pact to never tell anyone what happened.
So he vowed to get his revenge on them. But only after the Disco Dance Fight.
I give the movie a 1/10
Prom Night (1980)
R | 1h 32min | Horror, Thriller | 18 July 1980 (USA)
A masked killer stalks four teenagers, responsible for the accidental death of a little girl six years earlier, at their high school's senior prom.
Director: Paul Lynch
Writers: William Gray (screenplay), Robert Guza Jr. (story)
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens