Robert Guza Jr. and Peter R. Simpson
Leslie Nielsen as Mr. Raymond Hammond
Jamie Lee Curtis as Kim Hammond
Casey Stevens as Nick McBride
Eddie Benton as Wendy Richards
Antoinette Bower as Mrs. 'Vi' Hammond
Michael Tough as Alex Hammond
Prom Night is generally regarded as one of the staples of 80s horror. Sure, the “rules of horror” were not yet written (drugs and sex equals death), but this is a member of the series of horror films that brought the incomparable “Scream Queen” Jamie Lee Curtis to the forefront for horror genre fans.
The story begins with several children playing a disturbing game in an abandoned school building. The game, it seems, is called “The Killer is Coming”. It begins innocently enough… one player hides their eyes and counts to 100 while the others run and hide. Hide and seek, right? Well, not exactly. Being found means that you are a candidate for murder and the ring leader (Wendy Richards, played by Eddie Benton) taunts the findee with wild-eyed chants of an untimely demise. Scary, but relatively sane.
Sane, that is until an unsuspecting schoolgirl ventures into the building to play with the children, desperately wanting to be part of the “in crowd”. When the youngster is discovered by the murder-playing children they surround her and begin their “The Killer is Coming” chant. This frightens the little tyke who backs away and falls from a 3rd story window to her (real) death.
Inexplicably the children decide to conceal the events of the day, convinced by ring-leader Wendy that to tell would mean certain jail time (They are like 10, okay?).Each of the guilty culprits flees the scene and goes about their lives.
Eight years later we meet Kim Hammond (Jamie Lee Curtis), and she is bouncing around high school preparing for the senior prom. Kim is the older sister of the victim of the Killer game, but she seems to have recovered well over the years. Unfortunately prom night will not be filled with wonderful starry memories this year – somebody has emerged to deliver retribution to each of the children responsible for the murder years ago. This is not a great movie. It is, however, a perfect example of early 80s horror and can remind us all of the roots of our beloved genre. The top reasons to watch Prom Night are:
- Jamie Lee Curtis is absolutely wonderful in this film – especially during her highly choreographed disco dance routine at the prom. Sometimes I re-watch Prom Night JUST for the Jamie Lee Disco Fever… Don’t miss this folks.
- Leslie Neilson plays a “straight” role as the police detective father of Jamie Lee and the poor deceased girl. Although he didn’t crack a single joke, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for him to say “I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.”
- The kill scenes are generally mild, but there is one decapitation scene where the head of a victim rolls out on stage in front of a crowd of prom revelers. I LOVED it!
The classic “whodunit” elements of the film are great – see if you can figure out who the killer is! There are not really any reasons not to watch Prom Night, but make sure your expectations are in check. This movie is a low budget horror film from the very early 80s with no money for effects and marginal writing. Still, Jamie Lee Curtis saves the day with a stellar performance. If you want to see an example of the early days of slasher horror, or if you want to witness first hand why the Scream Queen Jamie Lee is such a horror icon, then Prom Night is just the ticket. Look out Travolta!