Don’t Bother Getting Dressed Up For This Dance – Prom Night (1980)

pn2My daughter Hannah just happened to be with me when I decided to check out the first episode of MTV’s new Scream television series. We both enjoyed it, but we both decided before watching any more of it she should get “caught up” by watching the original Scream movies. Fortunately, I had the first three close to hand and was able to pick up #4 relatively cheaply. Needless to say, after the first one she was hooked, and we flew through the rest.

After that, she wanted to watch Cabin in the Woods, but I decided that first we should go back and catch up on some of the classic (and some not-so-classic) 80s slasher films to give her more context for the meta aspects of these newer movies. So that’s what we’ve been spending a lot of our movie watching time doing lately.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, since schools here in Nashville started with a half day today, she decided she wanted to celebrate on of ner last days of independence pulling an all-nighter catching up on the Scream series and watching more of the 80s slashers. Things were going along pretty well until about 2:30 when we decided to pop in 1980’s Prom Night. Hey, it seemed like a pretty good bet at the beginning, since we knew that it starred Jamie Lee Curtis, who was fresh off revitalising the genre in 1978’s Halloween.

pn3Hoo Boy…

To say that this film is a long, too drawn out, boring, incoherent mess of a movie may seem harsh, but when it gets to the point that after watching it we had to go to Wikipedia to try to figure out just who was who and what had happened, well… Of course, it didn’t help things any that the print we were watching was so dark that at times it was almost impossible to tell what was actually happening on the screen.

“Hey, somebody’s got an axe I think.”

“Did somebody just die?” I’m not sure.”

Yeah, that was us trying to figure out what was going on. Not that we didn’t have plenty of time to do that, since there’s a 45 minute plus stretch where absolutely nothing does happen. Really, the only reason we even stuck to it to the bitter end was because we’d already invested so much time in it, and the fact that neither of us, at that point really felt like getting up to swap out movies.

Seriously, this may be the scariest scene in the entire flick:

Yeah, it was 1980, after all.

There is one thing that makes Prom Night interesting, however. It seems that after the film was made, Paramount was interested in distributing it, but only in about 300 theaters to start. AVCO Embassy, however, offered to open it in 1200, so the producers went with them. Paramount instead decided to pick up another independently produced horror film which wound up opening two months before Prom Night. That movie? Just a little thing you may have heard of called Friday the 13th.

Anyway, here’s the prom night trailer:



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