Prom Night (1980)

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Prom Night (1980) Movie Poster Image
Schoolhouse horror -- go to the back of the class.
  • R
  • 1980
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen smoking (cigarettes and pot) and drinking.

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCookieKing733 November 3, 2019


I love this movie and my 16 year old daughter loves it to
Adult 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 orig... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMovie Nerd 45 July 26, 2018

Poorly made slasher is as dull as they come

This movie is not as violent as it seems, it is pretty discrete with the violence it shows. But don't be fooled into believing that this is great for famil... Continue reading
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'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.

Talk to your kids 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

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