Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Canadian Disco Axe Murders a Go Go, or Thoughts on Prom Night

Filmed in Toronto and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Prom Night (1980) is closer to Saturday Night Fever (1977) with a dash of Carrie (1976) than Halloween (1977), with an early version of I Know What You Did Last Summer  (1997) thrown in for good measure.  A group of 11 year-olds cruelly taunt a girl to her death and hide the murder (how did Canada get the reputation for being so nice) and six years later, a psycho killer in a ski mask returns to exact revenge.  On prom night, no less.
To be honest, the nebulous consent issues of the teen sex scenes are scarier today than the axe murders, and date the movie far worse than the giant collars and the pounding disco soundtrack.  Jamie Lee Curtis portrays Kim Hammond, the sister of the murder victim, and if you’ve ever wanted to see her tear up the dance floor, this is the movie for you.  Leslie Nielsen also stars in one of his last serious roles (Airplane! also debuted in 1980, where he would completely reinvent his career and legacy) as Mr. Hammond, Kim’s dad, and the high school principal.
Early slashers were also teen murder mysteries, the genre hadn’t fully developed (or degenerated) and the films were presented as gory whodunits that kept the audience wondering who the murderer was until the last scene.  Prom Night was eclipsed by Friday the 13th (1980), released two months earlier with better special effects, Kevin Bacon, but the same essential premise: teen sex, gory murders and faceless killers.
There was a remake in 2008 (because of course there was).





my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).