Prom Night (1980) Movie Poster Image

Prom Night (1980)



Schoolhouse horror -- go to the back of the class.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Hardly anyone worth imitating here among the thin-sketched dramatics, though Jamie Lee Curtis is, as usual, the most likeable of the kids. Like many movies in this genre, people who undertake sex/drugs are the first to die, as though it were summary-execution punishment. The only time any of these students mentions "studying" is when he shows that his hollowed-out history book holds his drug stash.


Killer slashes and knifes victims with a shard of glass or chops with an axe. One decapitation. Car crashes, a man set on fire, and a little girl killed/mutilated in a fall from a window.


Topless co-ed trying to have sex. Butt shots, dressed and undressed, by skimpily attired girls. Females in gym locker room in towels and bras.


Widely scattered f-word, "hell," "bastard."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teen smoking (cigarettes and pot) and drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this isn't the PROM NIGHT from 2008, but rather the 1980 original. There is nudity and teen sex among the characters. While violence isn't torture-porn level, there are still bloody killings and death. Characters are mean-spirited, smoking and drinking teens who fight. There exist a series of barely related sequels (Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night Two), conspicuously done without the actors here, that go much farther into gore, sex, and campy tastelessness.

What's the story?

Kids play tag in an abandoned building, chanting "The killers are coming!" and terrorize playmate Robin into falling out a broken window to her death. They swear each other to secrecy -- even the victim's sister Kim. Six years later, when they're high school seniors, Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis) is a surprise choice for Hamilton High School Prom Queen, which brings up a lot of bad feelings. At that point a mystery stalker begins phoning threats to all the teens. Confusing flashbacks and cop-talk also tells us a disfigured psycho falsely imprisoned for killing Robin is amok again. Kim's dad (Leslie Nielsen), the principle, has just hired a creepy new janitor. And a class punk, just expelled, plans revenge at the prom. Which one is the black-masked marauder murdering kids during the dance?

Is it any good?


PROM NIGHT was among tons of low-grade horror garbage released in slavish imitation of the original Halloween. This had the luck to somehow cast that one's leading lady Jamie Lee Curtis in a main role. And a lot of the others were heaps worse. Still, it's unoriginal, the characters (who look like 20-somethings rather than teens) are underwritten and unappealing, and the mystery element about who the killer is fizzles out. Only in some death chases is there suspense, and that's pretty bleak, entertainment-wise. Most scary of all -- the climax is practically wall-to-wall disco. Jamie Lee dances nicely, though.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's bad to play in abandoned buildings, for openers. Young people like to watch movies in which young people get slaughtered. Why? What makes a "good" slasher-horror movie? You could talk about the crusade against these films led by critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (who both gave Halloween big thumbs-up, by the way) saying that they were dehumanizing and hatefully anti-female. Do you think that's true? gave him a complete makeover as a comic.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 18, 1980
DVD/Streaming release date:February 18, 1998
Cast:Jamie Lee Curtis, Jeff Wincott, Leslie Nielsen
Director:Paul Lynch
Studio:New Line
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:R

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bysouthparkfan14 May 23, 2010

good 80's teen horror film

not as good as the 2008 film prom night but its still good
Parent Written byrusty167 June 4, 2016


This is a movie for mature audiences. It is a themed horror film that actually made a fortune at the box office. 2008....can't be better than the 1980 original story when 2009's theme is stealing their idea and title. Jamie Leigh Curtis was good...I like her scream queen days but Eddie Benton who played Wendy had the role that attracted attention in the trailers and theaters. Jamie was kind of just there. Wendy's chase scene was infamous and well done. It shocked a lot of movie goers when they killed her character off. But, none the less...when people watch Pro Night 1980....they watch it for that famous chase scene.
Teen, 13 years old Written byNapkap August 8, 2009

Pretty Entertaining

A pretty nice slasher flick. A lot of good scares throughout. It can be a little slow, but if your a slasher fan I recommend it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex