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Monday, January 4, 2010

Prom Night

     Yes, I admit it. I love "Prom Night".  Alot.  And don't even start with the hating either.  This movie rocks and it's one of my all-time favorite slashers.  It's impossible to think of the early 80's and not think of "Prom Night"- to me it's right up there with "Risky Business" or "Raiders of the Lost Ark".  This is quintessential 80's slasher in all it's glory, kids.  Jamie Lee Curtis was in prime, scream queen mode when this hit theaters, and her appearance in this, "The Fog", and "Terror Train" cemented her status as the ultimate Final Girl.  

     Something about that opening scene with the kids chanting "Kill!  Kill!" in the old school is deliciously creepy and hugely reminiscent of childhood.  The brats gang up on one girl in particular, mercilessly taunting and chasing her.  An accident occurs, resulting in the girls death.  The brats vow to never mention this again and go on with their lives.  We then flash forward 5 years to the day as the kids responsible are now getting ready for the biggest event of the school year, the prom.  And in time-honored slasher fashion, they find themselves stalked by an ax-wielding, masked killer on Prom Night...

      I can't truly put into words my love for "Prom Night". Yes, it's typical slasher fare.  But the director has given this film such a dark and unsettling atmosphere to it- it's truly eerie.  Combined with the sinister phone calls, Paul Zaza's wonderfully scary score (that needs to be released already!), and a mysterious killer wearing a ski mask, and you have one of the most memorable slashers of the 80's.  And it follows the slasher formula perfectly, and that's part of why it's such a joy to watch.

      I'm drawn to this movie like a magnet.  I can't help myself.  I love everything about this movie.   I love that creepy music and those quiet, dark shots of all those empty corridors.  I love the fact that Leslie Nielsen is the principal of Alexander Hamilton High School, and not playing it for intentional laughs.  I love that the masked killer crosses his victims off a list. And I love how Jamie Lee Curtis gives the Travolta a run for his money with a bad-ass disco dance-off that needs to be seen to be believed.  It's pure awesomeness.

     "Prom Night" tends to get a bad rap among hardcore fans, but I'll take this over anything Rob Friggin' Zombie has to offer anyday.  I don't really understand its bad reputation, honestly.  True, there's not a ton of gory killings, but since when is that a requirement for a horror movie?  It's got loads of atmosphere and suspense, which is just fine by me.  If you can get your hands on a decent widescreen print, it's worth it- stay away from that horrid, fullscreen version you can get at K-Mart for $4.  Makes a perfect double feature with "Terror Train" or "The Fog".  Obviously "Prom Night" made an impact on pop culture, as it warranted a remake. And heavily influenced Wes Craven's "Scream".  It deserves more credit, and I think it's finally starting to find its audience.

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