Friday, May 7, 2010

If You're Not Home by Midnight, You Won't Be Coming Home

In honor of the Prom season, I've decided to talk about some prom centered horror films.  Prom horror became popular with the film adaptation of Stephen King's Carrie and continued in popularity as the slasher film began to gain momentum in the multiplexes.  Holiday horror became a staple after Halloween and each year saw a new holiday or special occasion given the horror treatment from Friday the 13th to New Year's Evil...and the prom was a natural candidate for a horror setting.  You get a bunch of teenagers all in an enclosed space at night, somewhere where they can get separated, throw in a killer, and you have a movie.  Add to the mix Jamie Lee Curtis, who was hot stuff at the time in horror...and you have a sure fire hit.  It doesn't matter if the script is good or not...people will see it.  So lets dive right in and sample one from 1980...Prom Night.

Beginning several years in the past, the film shows four elementary age children playing a variation of hide and seek called "The Killer is Coming".  Three siblings pass by the abandoned building that the four kids play in, and one of them ventures inside.  When she intrudes on the game, they chase her and scare her.  It's all fun and games until she accidentally falls from a window and dies.  The kids then cover up the accident and allow a mentally challenged man to take the fall.  Several years pass and all the surviving kids are in high school...and its Prom Night.  Kim and her brother Alex are still mourning the death of their sister while Jude, Wendy, Nick, and Kelly have all tried to keep their secret.  But someone knows...and he is calling them with threats and stalking each of them.  He soon begins stabbing each of them with a shard of glass taken from a mirror...not unlike the shards of glass that killed little Robin.  The killer intends to get revenge on all the kids, and may hurt the innocent in the process.

Prom Night is a much better idea on paper than it is in execution.  You would think that a little who dunnit slasher set at the prom would be pretty good...however it is written with too many subplots and red herrings and it makes little sense aside from the main story which involves Curtis and her nubile friends.  The killer makes sense and if you don't see it coming a mile away, you haven't been paying attention.  I think the film would be more effective if the killer wasn't so obvious, if the red herrings had been reduced to one, and if they had left out the disco dance scene in the middle.  Its also poorly shot and edited.  It really looks like a TV movie in places...too clean and smooth moving to be film like.  I can't explain it otherwise.  Oh, and it borrows a planned King and Queen prank that would seem original if it wasn't coming 4 years off the heels of the more effective Carrie.  Still, Prom Night isn't as bad as some of the worst I've seen.  Its just one of those films that you know could have been better.  But hey, at least its got Leslie Nielsen in it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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