Prom Night (1980) – By Duane L. Martin

Some children are playing in an old, abandoned building.  It’s a game of hide and seek where one of them is a killer, but when a little girl comes in to see what’s going on, they all start terrorizing her, eventually backing her up through a window on an upper floor, causing her to fall to her death.  The kids all swore to keep the secret, but unfortunately for them someone saw the whole thing.

Now the girl’s brother and sister (Jamie Lee Curtis) are in high school and getting ready for the prom.  Their father (Leslie Nielsen) is the school principal and their mother is still traumatized over the death of their daughter.  Someone’s out for revenge, but who?  Is it the creepy molester who was caught by police and blamed for the murder years ago who just recently escaped?  Is it someone in the girl’s family?  Is it the skeevy, alcoholic janitor?  Is it the school bully with the uni-brow?  Who knows?  It could be anyone, but whoever it is, when prom night comes around, they do their level best to make sure they avenge the little girl’s death.

Ok, Prom Night is probably one of the more famous slasher movies, but I’d never actually seen it until now.  I’m not really big on the slasher flick genre, but I don’t shy away from them either.  So how did this one measure up?  Well…

First off, no one dies except for the little girl until you’re over an hour into the film.  I was a little surprised by that since this is a slasher film, but it makes sense because they were saving it all up for prom night.

Second, where the hell did Leslie Nielsen go?  He and his wife arrive at the prom, and that’s the last we see of him.  We see his wife for a short bit, but then she pretty much disappears as well.

Third, Jamie Lee Curtis was 22 years old when this film came out, and she looks it.  In fact, all of the characters look way too old for high school.

Fourth, there’s a cop who’s after the escaped convict who shows up at the prom thinking that the guy might end up there, but he really plays no part in solving the mystery.  He just happens to be at the right place at the right time at the end of the film.

Fifth, why does the school bully have a uni-brow?

Sixth, why is the killer wearing make up and lipstick at the end?  The hell’s up with that?

Seventh, why the hell is everyone doing the same dance moves in every scene.  I guess because the disco music they’re playing at the prom all sounds the same.

Eighth, who knew that Jamie Lee Curtis was such a great disco dancer?  She could have been in Saturday Night Fever.

Ok, I’m being a little silly here, but here’s something serious for you.  Anne-Marie Martin plays the rich bitch at school in this film, and she was also involved in the incident at the beginning that led to the little girl’s death.  I have had THE biggest crush on her ever since I first saw her in the television show Sledge Hammer, and she just looks crazy hot in this film.  There, I said it.  I’m a guy and she’s just hot beyond words.  ‘Nuff said.

So what about the killings?  Well, they’re all right.  They don’t actually show much though.  About the best killing in the whole movie is when someone gets beheaded and their head goes bouncing out onto the dance floor.  Other than that, there’s really nothing special about them.  In fact, they show far less than I would have expected from such a famous slasher film.

I think the key thing with this film is that they try to give you a large pool of potential suspects, and even though they do a good job of keeping it a mystery, it’s not too awful hard to figure out who it is.  I had it narrowed down to two people at the end, and by the very end I knew who it was for sure even before the unmasking.

This film isn’t really all that bad.  In fact, it’s pretty entertaining, and hell, just for a chance to look at Anne-Marie Martin it’s worth seeing.  The rest of it is all just a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

For special features, this new release from Synapse Films includes a brand new 2K high definition transfer, 5.1 surround created specifically for this release, audio commentary with director Paul Lynch and screenwriter William Gray, The Horrors of Hamilton High making of featurette, a collection of additional scenes added for television broadcast, never before seen outtakes (exclusive to blu-ray), a motion still gallery (exclusive to blu-ray), original radio spots (exclusive to blu-ray), the original theatrical trailer and television spots.

As I said, I’ve never seen this film before, and I’m glad I finally got the chance to.  It’s not a bad film and I had a pretty good time watching it.  The new transfer looks spectacular and the sound is excellent, which was only to be expected.  Unlike a lot of companies, Synapse goes the extra mile to put out the best quality releases.  If it’s got the Synapse name on it, you can bet you’re getting the best release available.

If you’d like to find out more about this release, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here.