Directed By: Paul Lynch
Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens
Tag line: "If you're not back by midnight... you won't be coming home"
Trivia: Brock Simpson is the only actor who appeared in all four Prom Night movies
From 1978 to 1981, Jamie Lee Curtis appeared in five horror films, beginning with Halloween (for which she was paid $8,000) and ending with Halloween II (for which she was paid $100,000). As a result, Ms. Curtis was affectionately dubbed “The Scream Queen” by fans everywhere, but in 1980's Prom Night, the actress was given a chance to do much more than just scream.
As the movie opens, a group of kids are playing hide and seek in an abandoned warehouse. When a young girl named Robin (Tammy Bourne) interrupts the game, the others begin to taunt and tease her. As Robin's trying to get away, she climbs onto a window ledge and accidentally plummets to her death. The kids responsible for Robin's death, fearing the consequences, make a pact never to reveal what really happened. Six years later, these same kids are on their way to the Senior Prom, but what they don't know is someone else was there the day Robin was killed, and this mysterious person is going to make them pay for their silence.
Prom Night proved a good vehicle for Jamie Lee Curtis, mostly because it gave her more to do than just run around screaming for her life. Prom Night unfolds it's story of bloody revenge slowly, almost methodically, and as a result the film's young performers are given ample opportunity to fine-tune their characters. Curtis plays Kim, the sister of the young girl who dies in the opening scene. Unbeknownst to Kim, her prom date, Nick (Casey Stevens), was one of the four kids responsible for her sister's death, which leads to some interesting scenes between the two (Nick, whose obviously in love with Kim, nearly reveals his secret to her on several occasions). Along with the drama, we also get to see Jamie Lee dance in Prom Night, and she is very, very good (there's an extended dance scene at the Prom, where the camera spends most of it's time watching Curtis tear up the dance floor). It takes a while for Prom Night to kick in with the horror, but thanks to Jamie Lee Curtis and the rest of the young cast, there's plenty of story early on to keep our attention.
In an interview, Jamie Lee Curtis once stated that she was not a fan of horror films, and rarely, if ever, watched them. For some, this may seem like a case of an actress turning on the genre that made her a star. But as she showed us in Prom Night, Jamie Lee Curtis is a multi-talented performer, one whose continued success stems more from her own natural ability than any appearance in a string of films.
Sure, the horror genre has been good to Jamie Lee Curtis, but she's been good to the genre as well.