POP GOES THE DECADE- A totally rad look back at the glorious 80's and all the flicks, fashions, tunes, and TV shows that made the decade so cool and memorable in the first place. Like, for sure!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Prom Night

     After the overwhelming success of the slasher classics "Halloween" in 1978 and "Friday the 13th" in 1980, horror (and the slasher genre especially...) exploded and suddenly it seemed a different teen slasher was being released every week.  Following up her immortal turn in "Halloween", Jamie Lee cemented her status as the official Scream Queen of the 80s by appearing in a handful of horror flicks.  One of them,   "Prom Night", hit movie screens in July of 1980.

     "Prom Night" has a strange reputation among horror fans today.  Although it's widely considered a classic slasher of the 1980's, just as many purists disregard the film.  Mainly because there's only six killings and nary a drop of blood to be found anywhere.  There's no nudity in the film either- unless you count a scene of Jamie Lee being stalked in a bra.  However, "Prom Night" does have some things going for it that many slashers of the time did not have.  For one, director Paul Lynch drenches the entire film in a dark and eerie atmosphere.  Many of the stalk/murder sequences are murky, and there's some great shots of darkly lit hallways in the school that are quite effective.  And Paul Zaza's super-spooky score helps the overall creep factor.

     It's hardly a flawless movie, but I find "Prom Night" to be one of the most entertaining and unsettling of all the slashers to come out of the 80s.  It follows the slasher formula perfectly- and proves that you don't necessarily need gratuitous sex or gore to be effective.  Not going all prude on you, I'm just saying that sometimes just a good old fashioned spooky atmosphere, some darkly lit hallways, mysterious phone calls, and an ax-wielding murderer will do just fine, thanks.  And "Prom Night" has all that in spades. 

   It's a perfectly decent little slasher/mystery that doesn't try to be anything but what it is.  It's slightly goofy and certainly low-budget, and that's all part of its charm.  It's very dated, with its disco-themed prom and hairstyles, but the nostalgia of that particular era- the late 70s thru the early 80s- seeps out of every single frame of the film.  And that's probably a huge part of its charm as well.  This movie was the 80s.  On top of being one of the most memorable slashers of that time.  It obviously struck a chord in pop culture, as this film has been remade in the 2000's.  

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