10/3/13 – 2013 OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #3 – Prom Night (1980)

prom Night

 

What, you think I’m not going to load this year’s recommendations with a few Jamie Lee Curtis films?  Come on now.  The queen needs her just due.  I’m so excited to be working with this fanboy icon, not to mention just amazing person.  So why don’t we look back at one of her films that helped cement her “scream queen” status – Prom Night.  Prom Night is such an interesting film in so many ways.  It’s always been lumped in with the slasher genre, but I don’t think that’s completely accurate.  While it definitely follows many of the basic plot points and beats of a typical slasher film, personally I don’t really see it as a slasher film at all.  I see it as more of a suspenseful whodunit.  Think about it. *Slight spoilers ahead.  First, with the exception of the beginning, there isn’t a death of a main character until the 3rd act.  That’s over an hour of the 90 minute run time where there’s no killing at all.  It’s allllll buildup.  There are many scenes of stalking.  There are many scenes of threatening.  And yes, there are probably more red herrings in this film than 99% of the others out there.  And most importantly, there is… suspense.  These are all components of a thriller, not a slasher.  Don’t you think?  Now, the ending does go into the slasher/mass killing territory, but it’s not done in a typical slasher way.  One thing that always stuck out to me is that the killer is terrible at what he does.  He’s SO not a pro.  He misses his targets all the time.  He never seems to find their hiding places unless they give them away themselves.  He falls.  He’s easily defeated.  He’s just a terrible killer.  But… this all leads into the big reveal itself.  Once the killer is finally revealed, along with his motive, you actually have SYMPATHY for him.  It’s an interesting thing to do in 1980. Prom Night is far from a perfect film.  But it is really interesting to watch in the context of how it strayed INTO slasher film territory, and more importantly how it most specifically DIDN’T.  Plus, there’s Leslie Nielson and an AWESOME disco scene with Jamie that you honestly can’t miss.  Enjoy.

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