Thursday, October 13, 2011

PROM NIGHT (1980) - is a disco crown worth dying for? In the immediate aftermath of Saturday Night Fever, the answer is a resounding "yes"

Prom Night! Everything is all right!

-lyrics to the Prom Night disco theme

Oh, delicious irony. While a bunch of coke fiends thrust their loins to processed cheese beats, a masked maniac is laying waste to student criminals. Yes, that’s right. Instead of being hacked to pieces for no good reason, these high schoolers are actually guilty of a crime that is worthy of such comeuppance. All of this is laid out in the prologue. A bunch of pint sized schmucks are playing hide and seek in an abandoned school. One girl brilliantly decides to hide out on the window ledge, while the “seekers”, for some reason, keep yelling out “the killer is coming!”. Call it self-fulfilling prophecy, as the girl is suddenly frightened, and flys off the ledge as if she was doing a stunt for a Death Wish sequel. As per murphy’s law (wrong Bronson flick tough guy...Death Wish, like I said), she lands on a disembodied glass door that just happens to be sitting on the school lawn. Further developments in the “shit happens” department: a plane of glass impales her in the neck.

The kids escape, but, luckily, school principal Leslie Nielsen is on the case. He is utterly convinced that she was killed by a sexual predator. I guess raping little blonde moppets isn’t enough thrills for these sickos. They gotta chuck them off the second story of a former school building right into a plate of glass before slamming a giant chunk of glass in their aortas. No wonder they abandoned the school, what with these sick fucks running around.

It’s now 6 years later, and Jaimie Lee Curtis and her brother Alex are mourning their collective sister. Meanwhile, the kids from the prologue are getting creepy phone calls, all except Nicky (who is apparently "fast on the disco floor", though I would have gone with “mayor of Funkytown”), who walks out just as the phone starts to ring. We see a creepy gardener trimming the hedges, no doubt a red herring, unless he has one of those giant, early era cell phones. Through the magic of the choppy flashback, we learn that the blue pigs pegged the crime on a local sex offender schizo. This lead to a high speed chase where the NAMBLA bandit’s car flips over and crashes, catching fire. The damage is such that he is stuck in a hospital bed for six years, wrapped in bandages from head to toe the entire time.

In a retread of the earlier murder, the molester’s nurse is found at the abandoned school, stabbed with a shard of glass. This would seemingly point a finger at the crispy sex offender, but what do I know. More importantly, Jaime Lee heads to the auditorium to practice disco moves for that night’s prom. The school sleazebag also starts a fight in the cafeteria, presumably to give the audience yet another red herring. Boy, I didn't realize this was one of those "thinking" movies. Well, we finally get some sexy time stuff (assuming you don’t get off on Jaimie Lee Curtis disco dancing) when Wendy takes the cafeteria sleazebag to one of those drive-in hamburger stands where the girls wear tiny shorts. A game of tennis ensues during gym class with the creepy janitor catching a peek. Vicki decides to give him what he wants and moons him. The girls then hit the showers, sort of a collective mooning of the audience. Jaimie Lee finally goes to work on the dance floor, putting on a fierce display of disco coke convulsions to a laser-soaked sleaze beat. Her friend heads to the boiler room to make out with some schmuck, but he ditches her after she refuses to ride the baloney pony. As she is now all alone and nubile in a boiler room, she is promptly murdered per union regulations.

The nerdy fat slob with the conversion van finally gets laid and, to celebrate, pulls out a "History of the American People" textbook filled with roughly 87 joints. Tubby is obviously Canadian (as is the movie), so this comes across as an ironic dig on the obsession the American settlers had with bongs. He and his new girlfriend start puffing away but, alas, the killer shows up and stabs the girl. Fatty attempts to drive away, but is clearly not up to the task in his stoned, portly state. The van eventually flies off a cliff and explodes, letting tubby experience one last baking before being sent to the big Tim Hortons in the sky.


Well, the janitor shows up at the prom to misdirect the audience, and Wendy heads to the washroom to cake layers of makeup on her face. Our masked maniac turns the light off and tries to plant an axe in her head, but unfortunately misses (or fortunately). Wendy runs away and tries to hide in an empty classroom, then in an empty parking garage, and into an empty storage room, before finally getting that axe she’s been postponing this whole time. The cops find out that the burnt sex offender has been captured, so they can finally rest easy. The sleazebag accosts Jaimie Lee’s prom king and steals his crown, and is then promptly decapitated (you have to earn disco crowns through hard work, asshole). His head spins down a ramp right onto the dance floor, though I’m not quite sure why there’s a ramp there. I guess you need to accommodate anyone in a wheelchair who may want to boogie down to some Teena Marie.

If you were ever curious, this is officially my favorite Teena Marie song. I'm on the record folks.

Everyone runs off, except for Jaimie and her king, as they struggle with the killer on the dance floor to a song called "Love Me ‘Til I Die". Jaimie hits him in the head with the blunt end of the axe, and he stumbles outside, where the killer is finally unmasked. There are plenty of flashbacks explaining everything, in case we were confused or never gave a shit enough to follow the plot in the first place. The end credits features a soft rock piano ballad that would make Karen Carpenter proud, assuming she was watching slasher movies while she was spiraling into the fatal depths of anorexia. You know what, no wonder these kids like dance music. Why go sad bastard when you can gyrate your hips for hours on end? Maybe "everything", when reduced to nothing, really IS all right.

P.S. This is post #1 in the 2nd annual Lazy Baker Halloween Horror Countdown. Ten more to go yo.


  1. That's one of the funniest reviews I have read in ages. Great work... "she is promptly murdered per union regulations"... I nearly shit.

    I like the Tim Hortons nod. Definitely something I miss from back home.

  2. @Kev
    Thanks! You know, I've never been in a Tim Horton's before, but then again, I've never been inside a Krispy Kreme (although I've had some of their donuts before). I'm not a big donut guy, but I will have to check Hortons out if I ever pass by one (I think they have some in the US, like in Buffalo and Washington State and such).