Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days Of 80's Movie Slashers: 10/25 - Prom Night (1980)

Day Twenty-five:

Prom Night
From Simcom Limited 
Original Theatrical Release Date: July 18th 1980
DVD: Yes

Plot: Young children play a dangerous game that leaves a child dead. Several years later someone has a score to settle, and wants to give these kids a Prom they'll never forget.

Prom Night. Gonna make it outta sight! Are you a fan of Prom Night? Well, if not, you really should be! Why do I love Prom Night? Let me count the ways... (Or at least 5 of the many things I love)

1. Slasher Movies should have a sense of mystery. Prom Night has it's share of red herrings (escaped mental patients, creepy janitors, actors from Airplane! and so on). What separates Prom Night from the pack is that it's killer's motive is actually something that is surprisingly full of emotional depth. Revenge isn't something that is just sweet. It's also kind of tragic. The resolution of Prom Night is less about the Final Girl outwitting the Villain, and more about a tragedy that is wrapped up in an ironic note. It's both exhilarating and really sad. And I love that's it's punctuated by the surprisingly moving end credit song "Fade To Black". Genius.

2. Disco Dynamite. What better way to enliven an 80's movie with a dance scene? Given that this is a Movie about a Prom in the era of Disco, this Slasher gets to strut it's stuff more than any other Horror films of the time. Prom Night has a soundtrack that I really adore. And the scene where Jamie Lee Curtis gets to show off her moves (and put her dance partner to shame) is one of the better dance scenes in Horror movies. She works the room and steals our hearts. Laurie Strode isn't just a homebody anymore. She's hot and she can really move her ass!

3. Emphasis on character. Slasher Movies are often filled with people who are almost anonymous and then killed off. Prom Night is of the Canadian Slasher stock that gives it's story actual real human beings to inhabit. Some of these kids are good friends, some are enemies, some are seemingly hopeless, but most of all they seem pretty real. Jamie Lee's Kim and her friends actually seem like they are friends. Even it's standard bitch character, "Wendy" (Eddie Benton), gets a lot of great scenes to work with. Including my favorite stalk 'n chase scene in all of Slasher Filmdom. I despise but secretly love Lou (David Mucci), the lughead jerk who just wants to hassle poor Kim. And I really love Slick (Sheldon Rybowski). This guy has a tricked out van, a pot stash hidden within a textbook, and a cheesy confidence that makes this otherwise nerd actually kind of cool.

4. Actual suspense and atmosphere. A Slasher Movie without either suspense or a sense of atmosphere seems like kind of a waste. You can have a bodycount count movie, but without building some tension, what's the point? Prom Night nails the Atmosphere (like all good Canadian Horror Films) but also generates a decent amount of suspense. Some complain that the film isn't exactly filled with wall to wall terror, but the filmmakers decided to add the aforementioned emphasis on character and mystery in lieu of having a movie with just shocks. I rather like the kill scenes in Prom Night. I feared for and cared for it's kids when they were brutally offed. Throats are slashed and heads roll in Prom Night just like the best of 'em.

5. The bond of family. Prom Night was my favorite Slasher Film growing up outside of John Carpenter's Halloween. My sister and I would watch it countless times. Given what the film is ultimately about, what better movie to enjoy with your favorite sibling? I often recall that moment of popping in the MCA Video Tape with great anticipation of what was to come. I'm pretty sure by the time the first DVD release rolled around it was really worn down.

I still absolutely love Prom Night and it's one of my very favorite movies of the genre. I get hopelessly lost in it's world of atmosphere and cheese and I never want to found. I play the soundtrack all the time, and every Halloween I ponder if I should be Slick for the Holiday. One of these years I actually will. The very least it will be an excuse to get behind the wheel of a really radical Van. Maybe I'll get to do it on the bluffs! Hopefully I won't end up over the bluffs and into the ravine! Jamie Lee Curtis looks great in Prom Night. Probably the best of all her Horror Films. In my alternate universe of Prom Night, would Kim fall for my version of Slick? Would we ride our van into the sky like at the end of Grease? A boy can dream.

There's a killer loooose!
Trailer & TV Spot & Music:

"It's not who you go with, honey. It's who takes you home."


Ryan Clark said...

Prom Night is one of my favorites, though I really could do without the pointless detective scenes. They don't really add anything to the movie and waste valuable dancing time! Of course, the amazing soundtrack and dance scene makes up for all of that. And I love Wendy, she's such a great bitch. That scene where she's dancing with Lou and walks away when his back is turned KILLS me!

Cinema Du Meep said...

Everything Wendy does slays me. She's great!

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