Monday, 24 November 2014

Pull out yer Tuxedo T-Shirt and Disco Shoes! Prom Night (1980) Blu-ray Review

Prom Night (1980)
Director: Paul Lynch
Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Casey Stevens
Running Time: 92 min

Ahhh Prom Night, this film is as much a part of the Canadian culture as Don Cherry, maple syrup and beavers.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was mandatory to watch this and "Black Christmas" in ever high school history classes nowadays.  They could fit it in right after they read their section on Pierre Trudeau, "The Hippest Dude in Parliament" and the before they read another Margaret Atwood novel.  Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing this on blu-ray because it's been like over 20 years and I have yet to see a really clean good transfer of this film.

  Four kids, Wendy, Jude, Nick and Kelly are seen playing a strange game about killers in the old abandoned mental institution one day, by Kim and Robin and there brother, Alex on their way home from school.  Although, Kim suggests that Robin shouldn't go and play with them, Robin runs off to join the fun and Kim and Alex head for home.  Unfortunately, when Robin tries to join them, these kids get all aggro and end up pushing Robin through a window to her death.  The four kids decide to runaway and promise to never tell anyone about what really happened.  When the police come to investigate they think it's some perv who has done this and search for the girl's killer.
  Six years later, Kim, Alex and their parents are visiting Robin's grave and then it's time to get to school and get ready for the Prom.  Luckily their dad, Mr. Hammond is the principal and gives them a ride to school.  However, some kids, Kelly, Jude, Nicky and Wendy aren't so lucky because they are getting creepy mysterious phone calls in the morning that are almost threatening but they just blow them off and head for school.
  Kim is excited to go to the Prom with Nick but Wendy is pissed at Kim because up until now that was her boyfriend.  So Wendy decides to go with resident thug, Lou and devises a scheme to get her back.  Sound familiar?  Meanwhile, the local police get the word that Leonard Murch, the rapist convicted of killing Robin has escaped from the sanitarium and is returning to Haddonfield, I mean wherever city that they're in.  He has kidnapped a nurse and stolen her car and the police should be on the lookout for this guy.
  Eventually, the prom night arrives and maniac in a mask starts killing the kids that were connected to Robin's murder.  Has Leonard Murch come back for revenge or is there someone else with a better reason to kill?

  What can I say that hasn't been said before about this film.  This film is kind of a cross between Brian De Palma's (Carrie) and Bob Clark's (Black Christmas) with a hint of John Carpenter's (Halloween).  Director Paul Lynch starts off really slow and saves all the terror for the ending.  He slowly develops each character and he skillfully builds the tension of impending situation until it turns into a crashing nightmare crescendo at the prom.
  Jaime Lee Curtis (Halloween, The Fog) adds not only a name to the film but some of her best work as an actress and as a disco dancer.  She can disco dance like nobody's business and swing an axe to save her man, like no one else.  And although Leslie Nielsen is credited, he is not in the movie as much as you would expect.  This was one of his last straight roles which is very good before the film, "Airplane" launched his career into the comedic stratosphere.

 Synapse has done a really gorgeous transfer of this film and it looks really good.  Also, they did a nice job with the 5.1 sound on this.  This is definitely the best looking and sounding version of this film I have ever seen.
  Also there are a number of interesting special features on the disc.  For instance, the featurette "The Horrors Of Hamilton High: The Making of Prom Night" is a 40 minute piece talking to director Paul Lynch, composer Paul Zaza and some of the cast and crew of the film.  Except for Jamie Lee Curtis..., but that's okay because there are some interesting stories about how the film got made, what kind of hurdles they encounter during the process of film making and reflections on the film as a whole.  This piece is quite well done.
  Also, I enjoyed the commentary by director Paul Lynch, screen writer Michael Gray and a moderated.  Anyway, it starts off a bit dry and Lynch is the dominate voice during most of the first half, but as the movie progresses, the conversation kind of regresses and there are still some interesting information but the moderator and Michael Gray are having a more fun and laughing with some of the anecdotes.  It's not a bad thing at all but you can hear Lynch getting worked up at times but by the end of the commentary he's laughing and kidding around as well.
  Finally, they have some television outtakes that are are alright, a nice looking picture gallery, and trailer spots.  There is also a "Never Scene Before" collection of outtakes that may be better for the most serious and die hard fans of the film.

   This is the most definitive "Prom Night" disc that I have ever seen and I now know way too much about this film to be healthy.  Again, the picture quality on this disc is awesome and the sound is equally great.  The special features have so many great stories, about Eve Plumb, stolen vans and Eddie Benton, that fans of the film and students of film making will have a blast listening to.  This is a absolute must have for any horror fan and I give it two beaver tails up.


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