Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Prom Night (1980)

Directed by:
Paul Lynch

Watch what happens when a slasher film and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER merge into one trendy package! Watch Leslie Nielsen in one of his pre-NAKED GUN "serious" roles (see also: DAY OF THE ANIMALS)! Watch Jamie Lee Curtis cut it loose to bad disco songs on the same dance floor where, later, a severed head will roll! Watch the killer's motive being spoon fed to viewers as harmless childhood games lead to death! Watch Cronenberg movie regular Robert Silverman as the weird-o school janitor, who dukes it out with numerous other suspects as the identity of the ridiculous mystery killer! Watch director Paul Lynch and writer William Gray rip-off classics like HALLOWEEN and CARRIE while gleefully regurgitating every other cliche in the book in the slasher movie handbook.
It's a tacky, stupid, slowly-paced, talky, tame slasher-mystery whose inexplicable popularity must stem from the fact Jamie Lee is the star. I don't know why else a film this ordinary has any kind of notoriety whatsoever. In fact, it was easily the worst film on Mrs. Curtis' genre resume until HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION came along over twenty years later, and even then it's agruably still the worst. Around the same time, JLC also headlined another Canadian slasher movie called TERROR TRAIN (1979), which is pretty mediocre but still much better than this one.
PROM NIGHT was followed by three unrelated sequels; the surprisingly good HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II (1987), which dealt with ghostly prom queen Mary Lou Maloney coming back from the dead for revenge, the silly PROM NIGHT 3: THE LAST KISS (1989), which also featured Mary Lou going on a supernatural killing spree, and PROM NIGHT 4: DELIVER US FROM EVIL (1991), which featured a killer priest coming after four teenagers in a remote house after they attend the titular school dance. It was also (horribly) remade in 2008. Time for this franchise to die already.
Anne-Marie Martin (going by "Eddie Benton" here), Antoinette Bower, Jeff Wincott (who'd become a big direct-to-video action movie star in the 90s) and Brock Simpson (who appeared in all four films in this series) co-star.


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