Review: Prom Night (1980)

D: Paul Lynch
S: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Tough, Casey Stevens

Wow...just let me say that for a moment.  Wow.  I've always heard Prom Night mentioned as one of the defining films in the 80s slasher history, and I have to SO does not live up to that reputation.  Not even close.  And that's not to say that it doesn't try...but it fails to deliver on almost everything you expect from an 80s horror movie, except boobs.  And there aren't even all that many bare breasts to be seen in this one, even. 

Perhaps it's just that it's such an early film in the genre, but that can't quite be it - it was not only predated by Halloween by two years, but it was released the same year as Friday the 13th, so that's no excuse.  I think it just can't quite be what it really wants to's never really very scary, it's barely gory even for the time, and the entire storyline is telegraphed so far ahead of time that it's really not even very interesting.

A really good horror movie like this requires that the Red Herrings actually be possible...but that's just not the case here.  The movie starts out with phone calls being made to the future victims...but the "escaped mental patient" has just gotten away and was holed up in an abandoned convent...and the "questionable groundskeeper" is hard at work on the grounds of the school.  It doesn't leave many options...and in case you haven't seen it yet, and still want to subject yourself to it after reading this, I won't spoil it.  But it's hardly a surprise.

The writing is bad, the acting horrible, and the dancing...well, let's just say that it reminds you in a way that Saturday Night Fever never will exactly why Disco died.  I seriously expected there to be a dance-off halfway through this movie, which might have actually been more enjoyable overall than watching what was on display.

The bottom line here is that there are many, MANY better 80s slasher/horror films to spend your time watching, and if it weren't for the remake that's sitting in my queue right now, I probably wouldn't have wasted mine watching this...if only I could get that hour and a half of my life back...