PROM NIGHT (1980):
Since we Canadians basically invented the slasher genre with 1974's Black Christmas, you'd think we'd be a bit better at it. This shameless Canuck entry borrows liberally from that seminal fright flick (threatening phone calls are made to the lead characters), as well as Carrie (the prom setting, the bitchy blonde who teams up with the dopey bully for revenge on somebody), and, of course, Halloween (Jamie Lee Curtis in a key role, pretty much everything else). A prologue explains how a prank gone wrong resulted in the death of a little girl, and how the group of children responsible covered up their involvement. Six years later, they're all high schoolers headed for the prom (which is based around a "Disco Madness" theme just a few years too late), and a vengeful somebody is bumping them off. Is it the local pervert who was wrongfully accused of the original murder, and who was disfigured while escaping from the police? Is it the creepy high school handyman who enjoys peeping on the girls in the locker room? Or is it one of the other half dozen red herrings the movie throws at you? This movie is a veritable time capsule of butt cuts, perms, and high tight pants, and it features Leslie Nielsen, as the principal, attempting to disco dance (this was the same year as Nielsen's comedic breakthrough in Airplane!). There's also a fat guy named Slick who comes to a fiery end behind the wheel of his Shaggin' Wagon, a detective who provides intermittent voice-over narration (which feels less like an artistic choice and more like worry on the filmmakers' part that the audience would be confused), and any number of awkwardly-choreographed disco sequences. Pretty silly stuff, but it does feature a character who gets beheaded with an axe and his lopped-off melon rolls down the ramp intended for the Prom King & Queen's grand entrance, which is kinda worth sitting through everything else for.
Lifelong genre enthusiast. I made the comics SCENESTER and SLAM-A-RAMA (both available at tucocomics.blogspot.com and slamaramacomic.com), I write comic and movie reviews for NerdSpan (nerdspan.com), and I'm sure I do other stuff that I'm not remembering right now.