The box office success of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978 led to a slew of slasher films throughout the 1980s. Paul Lynch’s Prom Night is probably one of the first to follow in the heels of Carpenter’s classic. Like Halloween, Prom Night stars Jamie Lee Curtis as a high school student stalked by a masked killer. The big difference is that this time it’s on…the night of her Prom.
This Canadian horror film feels like it was made by a group of people who decided that they wanted to make a mash-up of Carpenter’s aforementioned horror, Brian DePalma’s Carrie and Saturday Night Fever. That’s a pretty strange combination of movies and Prom Night might just be the first (and only) disco-slasher. Aside from that, it doesn’t quite deliver on any level.
Star Jamie Lee Curtis could do this type of movie in her sleep and she acquits herself well enough with the material she is given (it’s not Halloween, that’s for sure). The main curiosity on display is that Prom Night features one of Leslie Neilsen’s last non-comedic performances (Airplane! was released the same year and there was no turning back).
Prom Night might have offered-up some entertaining thrills when it was released in 1980, but 40 years on, it doesn’t quite hold-up. Sure, it features the occasional interesting murder scene but the film takes far too long to get going – and this is something of a sin when the movie is only 92 minutes long. Prom Night is not bad – it’s just boring – and that’s unforgivable for this type of horror. Especially when there are other great slasher films out there.
101 Films continues to impress with its cult movie releases on blu-ray. Firstly, you get the Chasing the Final Girl, a documentary delving into the horror genre’s “Final Girl”. There’s also an interview with director Paul Lynch, various featurettes, outtakes and additional scenes, trailers and a pair of commentaries (one FrightFest’s Paul McEvoy and filmmaker Jake West and another with Paul Lynch and Screenwriter William Gray).
The big take aways is that the film’s dance sequences were shot to some of the disco hits of the day – something that the low budget film’s budget could never afford. Cue: rewriting the soundtrack and lawsuits.
The extras on-hand here are actually the main reason for getting Prom Night on blu-ray.