The success of John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween created a surge of slasher films in the 1980s. In 1980 two slasher films hit the big screen only a few months apart. The first was Friday the 13th and second is today’s 31 Days of Horror feature – Prom Night.
Prom Night starts with a group of 11 year kids playing hide and seek in an abandoned convent. Young Robin wants to play too but the other kids scare her and she falls to her death. The kids promise each other never to tell anyone.
Six years later and Robin’s family is at her grave on the anniversary of her death. Robin’s father, Mr. Hammond (Leslie Nelson) is principal at the high school. Mrs. Hammond (Antoinette Bower) is having a tough time dealing with the death. Robin’s older sister Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Robin’s fraternal twin Alex (Michael Tough) are getting ready for prom.
Unbeknownst to Kim, she is dating one of the people responsible for her sister’s death Nick (Casey Stevens). The other people responsible are all Kim’s friends. Wendy (Anne-Marie Martin), Kelly (Mary Beth Rubens) and Jude (Joy Thompson). They have all made their plans for the prom too but they all get a mysterious phone call from someone taunting them. Next someone slashes their pictures in their yearbooks. The killer who was falsely arrested for Robin’s death escapes prison.
The night of the prom a mysterious man dressed in black starts attacking those responsible for Robin’s death. But who is the killer? The movie was made on a low budget and when the time came to find a distributor Paramount was interested in buying it but giving it a limited release. The producers went with AVCO Embassy Pictures instead. Paramount would go on to buy Friday the 13th. Both films are clearly influenced from Halloween and both films feature revenge killers. Prom Night isn’t outstanding but it’s a pretty solid slasher flick. It would spawn 3 sequels and a remake. Not quite the monster that Friday the 13th would become but still not bad.