'Prom Night': A Movie Review

Updated on December 29, 2018
ReelScreams profile image

Rekindling my love of horror and thriller movies, television shows, and sharing my thoughts with whoever may read them.

The abandoned building where it all began.  'Prom Night' (1980)
The abandoned building where it all began. 'Prom Night' (1980)

Story Summary

The movie opens with a group of kids; Kelly, Wendy, Nick, and Jude playing a game similar to hide-and-seek in an abandoned building. As three of them hide, the fourth one chants, "the killer is coming, the killer is coming" while searching.

Siblings Kim, Robin, and Alex arrive at the building and see Nick walking along a ledge outside the upper-story windows. Kim realizes she forgot a book and Robin decides to join the group of friends in their game and tells Alex to go home.

Once inside, Robin searches for the others and runs into Nick. Rather than hiding together, Nick starts to shout, drawing the attention of the other girls. Once united, they all surround Robin, "kill, kill, kill", they chant as she slowly backs away. Robin backs up too far and falls through a window, landing on a pile of stacked glass. The others panic and agree that in order to avoid getting into any trouble and going to jail, they must all swear to never tell anyone what happened. After the group leaves, another window comes loose from the 2nd story and falls, landing on Robin.

Jude, Wendy, Nick and Kelly taunt Robin seconds before she falls to her death in 'Prom Night' (1980),
Jude, Wendy, Nick and Kelly taunt Robin seconds before she falls to her death in 'Prom Night' (1980),

Six years later. All of the kids in the group, along with Kim (Robin's older sister) and Alex (Robin's younger brother) are all busy planning their prom night. We get to see that Nick and Wendy were an item, but have recently broken up, although Wendy doesn't want to accept it. Nick now wants to take Kim to the prom instead. Jude meets a random guy on her way to school and they immediately become a couple and plan to attend the prom together. Kelly is dating a sex-crazed guy and most of her time is spent pushing him off of her and debating whether she should finally "go all the way".

Nick's father, the local police lieutenant who was working the day Robin fell to her death, had assumed that her death had occurred when a known sexual predator, Leonard Murch, lured her to the building and she fell out the window as she was trying to escape. Later, as the police were pursuing him, he wrecked his car and it burst into flames. He survived the fire and was institutionalized in the state hospital. Upon learning of his recent escape, his doctor describes him as a "catatonic schizophrenic who was disfigured and institutionalized after the murder". This gives us our first suspect for what's to come.

An unknown man reaches out to the group responsible for Robin's death in 'Prom Night' (1980).
An unknown man reaches out to the group responsible for Robin's death in 'Prom Night' (1980).

After Jude, Kelly, and Wendy all receive phone calls from a raspy-voiced male, they brush it off and continue their planning for the big dance. Meanwhile, Nick chooses not to answer the call.

At the school, we're introduced to Mr. Sykes, a visually creepy maintenance man using hedge trimmers. The way he watches Kim and Alex walk into the school is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies. This sets the groundwork for suspect number two.

Robert A. Silverman as Mr. Sykes in 'Prom Night' (1980)
Robert A. Silverman as Mr. Sykes in 'Prom Night' (1980)

Most of the movie is concentrated around the group as they prepare for the prom, their relationship issues, teenage sexual frustration, you know, the usual. But eventually, little things begin to set the stage for the murderous finale.

The story continuously leads you to believe that there is more than one potential killer.

Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Nick (Casey Stevens) take the spotlight as king and queen of the prom in 'Prom Night' (1980).
Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Nick (Casey Stevens) take the spotlight as king and queen of the prom in 'Prom Night' (1980).

Main Cast / Characters

 
 
Jamie Lee Curtis
Kim Hammond
Casey Stevens
Nick McBride
Eddie Benton (now Anne-Marie Martin)
Wendy Richards
Mary Beth Rubens
Kelly Lynch
Michael Tough
Alex Hammond
Leslie Nielsen
Mr. Hammond
George Touliatos
Lt. McBride
Tammy Bourne
Robin Hammond

Behind The Scenes

 
 
William Gray
Writer
Paul Lynch
Director
Peter R. Simpson
Producer
Richard Simpson
Producer
Brian Ravok
Editor
AVCO Embassy Pictures
Distributed by

Favorite Character

Jamie Lee Curtis as Kim in 'Prom Night' (1980).
Jamie Lee Curtis as Kim in 'Prom Night' (1980).

Overall, the acting in this movie is a little sub-par, but like the truly great performer that she is, Jamie Lee Curtis stood out for me. She's a horror movie queen these days, with a scream that other horror actresses strive to achieve, but back then, she was just an up and coming star on the big screen.

I'll admit, it was difficult for me to watch at times, knowing that she was pining over a guy who was partly responsible for her sister's death, wondering how differently she would feel if she knew the truth about her close circle of friends.

Memorable Quote

Edmonda Benton (now Anne-Marie Martin) as Wendy in 'Prom Night' (1980).
Edmonda Benton (now Anne-Marie Martin) as Wendy in 'Prom Night' (1980).

During the prom planning process, Wendy encounters Kim in the gym where she's to be crowned prom queen, Kim's dancing around. They have a heated discussion about the fact that Kim is now going to the prom with Nick and not the recently dumped Wendy, to which Wendy replies, "it's not who you go with, honey, it's who takes you home." Her little dig to let Kim know she fully expects to win Nick back.

Raves

  • I love that the movie gives us reason to believe that there is more than one suspect. Is it the recently escaped psychopath, Leonard Murch? Could it be the creepy maintenance man, Mr. Sykes? And what about the overly macho Leo who seems to have a beef with everyone he comes into contact with? Or is it someone else who knows the dirty little secret they've been hiding for the past six years?
  • I also like that the flashbacks were used to let us know which teen was the grown version of the young kids playing in the building. Some films just do a hard cut to the future, and without really knowing most of the characters as their younger selves, it takes longer than necessary to figure out who's who.
  • I applaud the fact that while being chased through the school by the killer, in high heels, Wendy is able to make it through the entire sequence without breaking a heel.
  • Another thing I love about revisiting older movies of any genre, is seeing all of the little things from my childhood that are considered relics today or are frowned upon; rotary phones attached to landlines, oversized wire-rim glasses, and let us not forget the fact that they're smoking everywhere, including inside the school without a care in the world. Another thing that actually made me laugh out loud was Lou's uni-brow. So unkempt, yet so normal for 1980.

Nitpick

David Mucci as Lou in 'Prom Night' (1980).
David Mucci as Lou in 'Prom Night' (1980).
  • One thing that always grates on my nerves is the overly acted "bad boy" in any movie or show. Lou's character was so over the top it wasn't believable. I usually find myself rolling my eyes during scenes with these types of characters, and this movie was no exception.
  • I know they draw the attention of the movie-goer, but I don't understand the need for most shower scenes, with or without nudity. I also had an issue when Kim and Kelly ran outside from the locker room and Kim's button-up shirt was completely undone, exposing her bra and cleavage. I literally shook my head, "who does that?"
  • Another little nitpick I have is the fact that when Nick gets knocked out, it looks and sounds more like a slap. I actually laughed because of how ridiculous it was.

Would I Recommend?

Overall, I enjoyed re-watching this movie. It isn't one that keeps you on the edge of your seat for very long, but it does have a good set-up and follow-through - eventually.

On my scale of Own/Theater/Rent/Netflix, maybe it's for the nostalgia factor, but I'd like to see this one in a theater, just once. After that, I'd leave it to Netflix.

Your Rating

How Would You Rate 'Prom Night'?

See results

What are your thoughts on 'Prom Night'?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)