Movie Review: Prom Night (1980)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1980 slasher movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen.

Synopsis: In 1974, a group of preteens scared a young girl and caused her to fall out a window to her death. Not wanting to get in trouble, they vow to remain silent about what happened and a known rapist is blamed for the girl's death before he is grossly misfigured and left in a catatonic state after a police chase causes him to be involved in a fiery car accident.
Six years later, on the night of the senior prom and the anniversary of her death, a masked killer begins stalking the girl's killers looking for revenge.


My wife and I watched the remake of this film relatively recently and, when I saw one of our movie channels had the original, I definitely wanted to see it again. Unfortunately, as it turns out, this film turned out to be a major disappointment.

One complaint I had about this movie almost immediately was the picture quality. The film was grainy and many of the scenes were very dark to the point I couldn't see anything. At first, I thought maybe it was because of the fact I recorded this off of a movie channel and even wondered if it was my television itself. However, when I looked it up, I learned a lot of people had the same complaint. As a result of the lack of quality, a lot of the scenes are very hard to follow simply because you can't see what is going on.

That being said, the picture quality wasn't the only thing wrong with this film. And, even if it was in high-definition, I think it would have been a disappointment.

One thing, in particular, I really didn't like about this movie was the lack of action. In some ways, it reminded me a lot of another Jamie Lee Curtis film, "Halloween," because, much like that movie (which I personally have always thought was a bit overrated), there's a lot of build-up but no real action until the very end. Let's put it this way, I've seen a lot of slasher movies in my lifetime and this had to be the first one I've watched that went out of its way to show a gratuitous disco scene before the killer even has a chance to get started and my wife and I couldn't help but make "Saturday Night Fever" references as a result. The only thing missing was John Travolta.

Movies like this also tend to be considerably better if there's a bit of a mystery about who the killer is. When we first started watching this film, I hoped that would be the case. But, as it progressed, it honestly wasn't that difficult to figure out who was wearing the black mask. Yes, the writers went out of their way to throw in some red herrings (everyone from the falsely accused rapist to the school custodian was a suspect). However, since there was only one person who knew there were other kids around when the girl was killed, it wasn't too difficult to figure out who was responsible for their deaths.

In fact, the only real mystery from this movie was why, exactly, he waited until the night of their senior prom to do it. Yes, it was the anniversary of the girl's death. But, he would have had plenty of other opportunities/anniversaries to get his revenge or could have simply told the police. The movie, sadly, ends without ever really explaining this.

Prom Night

THE CULT CLASSIC THAT MADE MILLIONS IS BACK! And In Wide Screen! Prom Night Remake in Theatres April 2008. Four Hamilton High School seniors have been hiding the truth of what h...

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Final Opinion

This movie honestly wasn't anywhere near as good as I remembered it being and, overall, was a pretty big disappointment for me. Unless you're into disco dance-offs, there's really not enough action in this slasher film to make it worth taking the time to watch and I would recommend the 2008 remake instead.

My Grade: D

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Updated: 06/11/2015, StevenHelmer
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