Prom Night

After the disappointment of Halloween Ends, I checked out this 80’s slasher starring Jamie Lee Curtis. As far as 80’s slashers goes, I quite enjoyed this one.

It struck me while watching how similar this was to My Bloody Valentine. Both feature a big dance. Both have a past tragedy that informs the horror. Both feature twist endings that work to varying degrees.

I suppose all slashers from this time are similar. Masked killer stalking attractive youths. The biggest differences are the manners of the murders. This movie has some solid kills.

The movie opens with a group of children playing in an abandoned building. Things take a dark turn when one of them ends up dead. Six years later, it’s prom night and a masked killer stalks the kids involved as vengeance for the death.

I can almost hear the writers pitching this movie to a studio exec back in the day. “It’s like Carrie mixed with Halloween!” But the movie is more than its influences. It takes its story and characters seriously. It invests a lot of time in developing these people and their relationships. I found myself worried about Kim and how she’d deal with everything. I hoped that Kelly would have a good prom night and find someone better than that jerk Drew. I was concerned about the plight of Alex.

All this character work made it a richer experience than the average slasher where the teens are just horny idiots who are lining up to die.

But how are the kills? That’s why people watch these movies, right? There are some awesome moments. There’s a murder in which the camera never leaves the girls eyes as she dies. This is way scarier than buckets of blood. It humanizes her death and leaves a deeply unsettling impact. There’s a great sequence in the back of a van that is shocking and surprising. There’s a disco tinged decapitation that is unforgettable.

What stuck with me most though was the story. It told a real story and told it well. At the end of the day I’m here for a story beyond anything else.

Is this a fun slasher? Absolutely. Is it worth checking out this Halloween? Absolutely. Dies it feature Leslie Nielsen in a serious role?? It does! Check this one out. It’s my cup of tea. B+

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