Prom Night (1980)

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If you’re not back by midnight… you won’t be coming home.

Directed by Paul Lynch.

Written by William Gray and Robert Guza Jr..

AKA

Netherlands: Bloody midnight

Starts with a bunch of kids; Nick (Brock Simpson), Kelly (Joyce Kite), Jude (Karen Forbes) and Wendy (Leslie Scott); playing a game, “killers are coming”, a version of hide and seek, in an empty building. Three other kids show up; siblings, Kim (Debbie Greenfield), Robin (Tammy Bourne) and Alex (Dean Bosacki); and Robin goes inside while the others leave. Robin is reluctantly dragged into the game and, scared by the others, backs out of a high window, falling to her death. The kids all swear never to tell, then you see a shadow near the Robin’s body.

Later, the girl’s father, Mr. Hammond (Leslie Nielsen), mother, Mrs. Hammond (Antoinette Bower), and Kim and Alex are at the scene as the police remove the body.

Six years later we see the whole family at Robin’s grave. Grown-up Kim is played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Alex by Michael Tough. at Hamilton High is that evening.

Jude, now played by Joy Thompson, gets a sinister phonecall while someone crosses off a list of their names, so does Kelly (Mary Beth Rubens) and Nick (Casey Stevens) but he doesn’t answer.

A known sex offender, Leonard, believed to be responsible for Robin’s death, and burnt badly and disfigured trying to run away from the police, has escaped from the state hospital.

Last to receive a phonecall is Wendy (Anne-Marie Martin). She thinks it’s a prank.

The body of a nurse is found at the same empty building from the beginning, killed by Leonard, but why is he back in town?

As the evening approaches, Wendy, jealous that Kim is now with ex Nick, hooks up with bad boy Lou (David Mucci). The mysterious caller is hanging around leaving photos torn from a yearbook so things are pretty tense at Hamilton High and the police are still hunting for Leonard.

Prom Night arrives and the police are watching the school, people are having a good time and then the killer strikes.

One of my all-time favourite . Not the goriest by a long way but I’ve loved this one since the days of the video shop. Great cast and a great story and it’s got its share of kills too. I’ve seen it many times and I never tire of it. The plot keeps you guessing although it’s that long since I first saw it I can’t remember whether I guessed the killer or not first time around. The sequels took completely new directions, although they kept Hamilton High as the setting, so it’s a one-off story. It’s definitely not star Jamie Lee Curtis’ most renowned slasher, I think that one goes to a certain John Carpenter film, but one of the best in my opinion.

Also stars Robert A. Silverman as Sykes, Sheldon Rybowski as Slick, Jeff Wincott as Drew, David Gardner as Dr. Fairchild, George Touliatos as McBride and Pita Oliver as Vicki.

Other great slashers:

Halloween (1978)

Friday the 13th (1980)

The Prowler (1981)

The Burning (1981)

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

PromNight

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