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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Prom Night » User review

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1980 film directed by Paul Lynch

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Not really that good of a night.

  • Jul 6, 2011
Rating:
-4
* out of ****

"Prom Night" is derivative, boring, bland, ridiculous, stupid, and the worst "classic" slasher/horror film I've seen since "My Bloody Valentine". The film offers no surprises, no suspense, and no substance. It isn't scary, there's nothing worth anticipating, and all-in-all, it just plain sucks. Why it has garnered a semi-large cult following, I shall never know. I'll never quite understand what people see in such an unoriginal and unintentionally hilarious product such as this, but maybe that alone explains why so many people get off to watching a film, such as "Prom Night", in which people are stabbed in lame ways, people are decapitated in lame ways, and in which Jamie Lee Curtis proves that she needs a better agent.

The film is intended as a tongue-in-cheek horror picture, but where's the humor? I'm usually good at spotting satire within horror films, but then again, maybe "Prom Night" was aiming for different territories all-together. The film itself begins with the tragic death of a child, who falls to her unfortunate demise after a group of crappy, brat children scare her while playing a little "game". Six years after the death, the kids, all teens now, are facing guilt and anxiety. It is the day- soon to be night- of the big prom, and one of the girls (Jamie Lee Curtis), son of the school principle (Leslie Nielson), has been chosen to be the Prom Queen.

The problem is that this night is about to become reckless as all hell. Earlier on in the film, a mysterious man phone-calls each of the kids from the opening scene. He knows they will be attending the prom, so that is where he is expected to turn up. The man may be seeking vengeance for the death, as he was a witness. Nobody really knows what he wants. That is, until he starts, as I mentioned, stabbing and decapitating teens (in lame ways).

We want to know who the killer is, in the end, and this is the only reason why we stick around. I liked- or at least somewhat liked- how the film THOUGHT that it was on to something, but when all is said and done, it needs to be a little more self-aware. Really, this might help it, you know, work.

Suspense scenes are poorly staged, even for a low-budget horror movie. The 80's seemed like a good time for some filmmakers to stretch their creative limbs, as well as a good time for down-right morons to make movies that nobody really gives a damn about. Low-budget does not mean you have to give us an overdose of cheese and unoriginality. You can milk an idea until it has nothing left, or you can expand and be creative. Tell me, where's the creativity here? What makes "Prom Night" a "good night" (at the movies)? If nobody can answer me, then hell, I'll just give up.

Oh, now look what your movie has done, John Carpenter. Your horror masterpiece "Halloween" has transformed the brave and bold scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis into a "type actor". She is brave and bold no longer, but granted, she's still a scream-queen. But still, it doesn't matter. What matters is story, characters, and wit; all things which "Prom Night" simply does not have. Nielson is kind of pleasurable in his relatively small role, but forgettable in the end.

I don't go into slasher movies expecting ANY of them to be good. That's the beauty of the moment when, to my surprise, they turn out to be good. I approached "Prom Night" the same way, and got bored really fast, just like I have with other just-as-bad slasher movies. Believe it or not, there are good slasher movies, and then there are, obviously, the god-awful ones. The only truly scary thing attached to "Prom Night" is that it has an audience, and sadly, it's a stupid one.

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July 09, 2011
The film is intended as a tongue-in-cheek horror picture

How generous! Not merely the worst (and among the first) of so many Halloween imitation slashers, this movie rivals Grease for overaged teens: one Melanie Morse MacQuarrie, designated Queen Bitch of the cast, was (at a conservative estimate) 34 when this was shot! Granted, she was youthful for her age, but by no means could she fool anyone.

Nielsen's and Curtis' presence may explain this wretched thing's preservation and fan base, but its three sequels and remake defy rational comprehension.
 
July 09, 2011
The film is intended as a tongue-in-cheek horror picture

How generous! Not merely the worst (and among the first) of so many Halloween imitation slashers, this movie rivals Grease for overaged teens: one Melanie Morse MacQuarrie, designated Queen Bitch of the cast, was (at a conservative estimate) 34 when this was shot! Granted, she was comely for her age, but by no means could she fool anyone.

Nielsen's and Curtis' presence may explain this wretched thing's preservation and fan base, but its three sequels and remake defy rational comprehension.
 
1
More Prom Night reviews
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2011
It's horrifying, all right - that this shoddy, wholly worthless slasher flick (starring numerous painfully overripe "teens") has a small cult fan base. Without Leslie Nielsen or Jamie Lee Curtis in its cast, this would have surely been lost and long forgotten by now.
review by . September 04, 2009
Prom Night was just another picture in a long line of slasher films that debuted in the early 80's. Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen star in this horror film. One of Canada's contribution to the slash and hack "teen" flicks that has maintained "cult" status due to a scene at the prom.  This movie also has a couple of nice set pieces. Too bad because a couple of nice set pieces do not necessarily make a movie "great". The proof is in the pudding it's just another …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie

Wiki

The first film of the Prom Night series.

Followed by three sequels and a remake.

The TV version has several scenes that are not included in the theatrical print.
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Details

Genre: Horror, Mystery
Release Date: July 18, 1980
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Quadrant Trust Company, Simcom Ltd.
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