Prom Night (1980)

Like Scream’s Ghostface, the killer in Prom Night can be dodged and knocked over. This is not Michael Myers. There is a lot of disco. Jamie Lee Curtis is a fantastic dancer — this role for her comes straight after Halloween and The Fog, so it’s impossible not to compare it with Carpenter’s work, which is unfair. The students all come across as high school kids, and the performances and locations are realistic, but it looks cheap next to Halloween.

Curtis plays Kimberly Hammond, whose sister, Robin, we see killed six years earlier in a bullies’ game which goes horribly wrong. The group of eleven-year-olds — Wendy, Jude, Kelly and Nick — hide what they did, and a local man gets the blame. On their prom night, of course, the man escapes and returns to the scene of the crime.

There are shades of Carrie when bully group leader Wendy plots to ruin Kimberly’s prom, and much of the opening hour is teen drama, but there are some great moments — Kimberly and Nick in an extended dance sequence under the disco lights, the likeable Slick trying to escape the killer by driving his souped-up van in circles, and the awful Lou’s decapitation. The killer is hyperactive and cartoon-like, especially when wielding an axe, and the fighting near the end is unintentionally hilarious, but it does take an unexpectedly moving turn as the credits roll.

Letterboxd: Prom Night (1980), dir. Paul Lynch.

Wikipedia: Prom Night