Prom Night (1980)

Prom Night (1980)

Whoa boy, did we enjoy deconstructing this terribly boring flick that, nevertheless, stars primo scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis – and a very brief appearance by Leslie Nielsen. Add in a lame disco dance sequence and you have a thoroughly forgettable outing that is best experienced in the background – when you have more important things to be doing in the foreground.

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Prom Night (1980)

Episode 43, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd:  Welcome to another edition of 2 Guys and a chainsaw. I'm Todd.

Craig:  And I'm Craig.

Todd:  Today's film was the 1980 movie Prom Night, starring Jamie Lee Curtis, and, just coming off fresh off of Halloween, in fact. And, Leslie Nielsen, who even though he's, one of the top billed in here, doesn't get a lot of screen time, does he?

Craig:  No. I noticed that. You know, I didn't even realize that he was in the movie until the credits, the opening credits started rolling. And then, yeah, he wasn't really given a whole lot to do. In fact, you know, I I'm sure we'll get to this eventually, but it almost kinda seems like he disappears about two-thirds of the way through the movie. And, you don't really see much of him after that.

Todd:  Yeah. It's like he kinda quit, or he had something better to do. Correct. I wanna go do Naked Gun or something funnier. Well, you know, the movie starts out like, sort of like an after school special, I thought. I don't know how you felt about it.

Craig:  I felt the exact same way. It felt like, it it felt low budget. And and not so much in the cinematography. I mean, I guess a little bit. But, even just the opening credits, they they were really basic, really simple. It seemed like, something that you would have seen at the beginning of a made for TV movie or, like you said, an after school special. Yeah. I totally felt the same way.

Todd:  It's a bunch of kids, and my gosh, there are a ton of characters in this movie. Yeah. And we really don't even know who the kids are. They're kinda calling each other names here, but we later find out there's Jude, who's a girl. There's Kelly, Nick, and Wendy.

Craig:  It opens up. It's showing this, it'll I couldn't figure out what it was. You know, I I read, I think I it said on Wikipedia, it was supposed to be like an abandoned convent. It really doesn't matter. It's just this old abandoned building where those 4 kids that you mentioned, Jude, Kelly, Nick, and Wendy are playing this game that seems to be called killers or or something like that. Yeah. Not the

Todd:  obvious way to start the movie at all.

Craig:  Right. I mean, it it seemed very it seemed like the basic premise was like ghost in the graveyard or or something like that that you play when you're a kid where it's basically hide and seek where one person's it and then they go around looking for the other people and and when they find somebody then the person that they found teams up with them and they continue until everybody's found. I mean, that's basically what it seemed like, which, you know, is a game that I think all of us played when we were kids, but these kids are just really into it. And it's really it it feels really malicious, like they're they're shouting out killers are coming, and the killer is gonna get you. And I I guess the the person who's it is the killer, but they're really playing it for, you know, the dark, aspect of it in this opening thing. It didn't really seem like a fun game. It seemed like kind of a mean game.

Todd:  Yeah. And that's what kinda made it weird. I don't know. It was like they were trying too hard to be super sinister about it when these are supposed to just be kids playing. They all seem to hate each other or something when they're running around playing them. Like,

Craig:  they just kinda seem like evil kids, like mean kids. And and then you've got, 3 other kids come walking down the street. And we don't know this, of course, now, but these are all, siblings. You've got, Kim, who is the older sister, I believe, and and their last name is Hammond. You've got Kim, Robin, and Alex. And Alex is, the brother. And and Robin and Alex seems to be a little bit younger than Kim. And they hear, the kids playing inside, but, Kim, the older one forgot her book, like one of her school books at school.  So she has to go back and, the brother Alex doesn't want to go in there and play the game. He says, you know, they don't wanna play with us or whatever. But it seems like, Robin does. And so she goes in there, and kind of inadvertently, gets sucked into their game and that's kinda what triggers the event that then, you know, spurs the whole rest of the film.

Todd:  Yeah. It's really weird because she kind of goes in to start playing, but it's not like she announces she's there or she just kinda starts walking around. And I guess they figure out she's there and hiding and so, they make her part of the game, but of course they are all caught. And so they're wandering around looking for her yelling, killers, killers, killers. And they just gang up on her. And it's it's crazy that they did they just gang up on her and they're yelling killers killers killers, but once they find her, the game should be over, but it's not.

Craig:  Right. Well, it seems really mean spirited and you know, like they back her into a corner and you know, I mean if they're playing, they should be laughing. Now, you know, I'm sure this is, you know, a directorial choice. I'm sure these kids were told what to do and they were told to be really mean and threatening, but it was just kind of off putting and it made me dislike those kids. And so I knew, you know, that eventually we were gonna flash forward. And I'm, like, I hope I'm not supposed to sympathize with these characters because I don't. Like, they were mean asshole kids.

Todd:  And and  I don't know what their end game was like. Were they just going to back her into a corner and just keep her there all day?

Craig:  I have no idea.

Todd:  Well, they end up up stairs, and, they back her up against a window, which, you know, is just something you see coming from a mile away. And

Craig:  Yep. Mhmm.

Todd:  And she's so scared. She's backing up and backing up and doesn't realize, and she falls out the window to her death below.  Right. The  window breaks, and she falls on kind of the broken window and we assume dies. Now that's what they assume Todd. What's really funny about this is nobody goes down to see if she's okay.

Craig:  Exactly. Right.

Todd:  They all just, imagine that she's dead. And so, I believe it's Kelly. Is it oh, no. It's Wendy, is the one in the group who says, we can't go get help. We all have to just agree that this never happened, that we were never here. And they all make this packed, essentially. And they all take them on their bikes. And then the camera kind of pans in slowly to, Robin who's dead there on the ground.  Mhmm. And as it goes in on her face, you see a shadow Craig. Like, there's another person there who can see it who is witnessing what happened.

Craig:  No. It's just so so right away, I mean, you you'd know. I mean, even if you hadn't read the little blurb on the video box or on IMDB or whatever, you can tell what kind of movie this is gonna be. You know, it's very much it seems very much like a precursor to something like I know what you did last summer. One of those revenge type movies where okay, you know, these kids all have this secret in their past they're trying to hide and it's gonna come around, you know, to get them in the end. And that's exactly what it is and and frankly, you know, I watched this yesterday, during the day. And as I was watching it, I'm like, This is fine. You know, it takes after that, it jumps to what, like 6 years later?

Todd:  Yes.

Craig:  And, we, you know, we get some kind of sloppy exposition where we kind of hear in voice over that, there was a suspect and, you know, it was a guy who had, you know, been like a sex offender in the past and he lived near that abandoned building. So they assumed it was him and, when they tried to pursue him, he tried to, get away and, like, in a car chase. And, he was, he was in an accident and he was badly burned and so he's been hospitalized and institutionalized ever since then. But it was presumed that he was guilty. And it's just real it just seems really clunky.

Todd:  Yeah.

Craig:  When we cut into, you know, the 6 years later, we we find out that, Leslie Nielsen's character, his name is just mister Hammond. You know, he was the father, of this girl who died and and of course, now we've got the grown children, all of them, but really, you know, we've got, Kim, who is the older sister and who is now being played by Jamie Lee Curtis. And so it it and really from that point on, there's about, I would say, 30, 40 minutes of silly high school drama, and then people start getting killed. And that's pretty much it.

Todd:  Oh, gosh. I think it it's longer than that. And that's one thing that kind of was, like, the movie is kinda boring, don't you think?

Craig:  Yeah. You know, it's like I said, like, when I was watching it yesterday, I'm like, you know, this is pretty standard slasher fair. You know, you've got, right away again, we're reintroduced to all these characters and and it basically seems like, all of the kids have grown up and are doing okay. Like, missus Hammond, the mother, is not doing particularly well. But the siblings, Kim and Alex, they seem okay. And, you know, they're this is the anniversary now of her death. It's 6 years later. And, all of the other kids who have grown up seem fine, and they're all kind of friends, except for Wendy.  Wendy was the one who said, No, we can't tell. And now she's grown up and she's turned into the high school bitch. And, it seems like she and Kim are kind of rivals and, they're rivals over Nick. And then it's just it's a lot of really kind of silly high school drama with, you know, fighting over boys and what are we gonna wear to the dance and am I gonna get invited to the dance and Hello, Drew.

Todd:  Missed you on the bus today. I didn't ride it. No kidding. I gotta ride it. Who went? None of your business. Who went? A guy. A guy, Who with, Jude? Jude. I'm going to the proms.

Craig:  Great. The proms.

Todd:  You know, I know why Kit won't go out with me. She likes a girl. It's better than kissing an ashtray. Say goodbye, Lou. Goodbye, Lou. Hey, listen. You guys ever get tired of each other, I'm always around. Know what I mean? Oh, really?

Craig:  It it just seems like the it they were really really thin on plot and so they were just trying to flesh it all out. And I read, you know, I like I said before there is that the mention of this guy, Murch, who was the guy who was suspected of killing this girl. His the whole subplot with Murch and the the police are looking for him throughout the whole movie. Like, they find out that he's escaped from where he was, unexplainably, because he's been catatonic ever since then. That he's escaped now. He kidnapped a nurse and stole her car. And so they're looking for him and, they're checking out the old building and they find the nurse there and, you see the car driving around every once in a while. And it ends up all being entirely inconsequential.  Like, it's just a huge red herring that has absolutely no payoff whatsoever. And I found out, you know, having read more about it after I watched the movie that all of that was added in late in production. Like, I don't know if they just didn't have enough content. They had to put something else in. If they if there was not enough intrigue or mystery because there's really not a lot of other hints as to who the killer might be except for that obviously, you know, they're seeking revenge for this incident because the only people who are being targeted seemingly are these 4 kids who are involved which also takes away some of the tension because you don't really feel like anybody else is any kind of imminent danger. It's only those 4 kids you don't really care about anyway because then there's this other huge cast of characters who you don't can't even keep track of. I don't know. If you can't tell, I ended up, you know, I I sat through the whole thing.  I watched the whole thing. And then thinking about it later last evening and even more so today, I'm like, you know, this movie was pretty dumb. Yeah. I don't I don't really think I cared for it very much at all.

Todd:  Well, it's so heavily plotted that it just there's no characterization. It's it's more interested in what's happening, like you said, the silly high school drama and stuff like that, than us really getting to know or care about these people. And it's almost like the writing, it's a little too economical. You get these really brief scenes where just you get a small little bit of important information that's delivered to you on a platter, and then boom, there's another little brief scene where there's a small little bit of information delivered to you on a platter. I mean, even when we fast forward into the future, you've got Leslie Nielsen and the whole family standing around the grave. Oh, okay. So we understand this is Robin the stiff. The family's still breaking up about this.  The mother doesn't like it. Boom. Then we go to school, and they're having this, you know, silly dialogue. And the the first thing out of their mouths is, oh, there's that creepy mister Sykes, you know. Oh, don't worry. Mister Sykes is fine. And and, of course, there's mister Sykes who's who's holding an implement of of, you know, cutting. He's, like, carving the bushes and looks on at them, like, really really creepy.  Like, okay, here's our first possibility for the killer we know is coming up is mister Sykes.

Craig:  Well, yeah. And and such a stock character and one that would be read as being totally offensive Todd, you know, like, they play it like he's slow, like he's impaired and, you know, people could get away with that in the eighties but it's totally not PC now. And so it just it seems even understanding that within the context of its history that was something that we unfortunately, you know, were okay with at the time. It just seems a little bit distasteful like it's off putting and Yeah. It's just another thing against the movie I think overall.

Todd:  Well, and it's just so obviously thrown in there that the your first thing is, like, oh, here's our first possibility. Check him off the list. Right. Because he's there's no way, shape, or form he's gonna be the mysterious killer. And then we get these phone calls, which is, reminded me a lot of Black Christmas.

Craig:  Black Christmas. Mhmm.

Todd:  And, actually, a lot of this movie seemed like it was trying really hard to cop some of the style of Black Christmas. You know?

Craig:  Mhmm. I agree. I

Todd:  agree. Pacing. And I'll have

Craig:  to say that They have the same composer.

Todd:  Oh, there you go.

Craig:  The same musical composer.

Todd:  Well, maybe that's a little bit of it. I mean, the director the director, the cinematographer, they can't really hold a candle to, Bob Clark. I just I just love Bob Clark. He's got a style of his own, but they're trying really hard to make it. I hate to say art house, but maybe art house, like, these elements where it cuts away from the high school drama, and we focus a little more on this mysterious killer or they do flashbacks. They're a little creative, but they feel like they're in the wrong movie, you know? Yeah.

Craig:  And I and I just didn't feel like they were executed very well. Like I I understood what they were trying to do that, you know, they were cutting back and forth, you know, when one of our characters are are are now, you know, teenage characters is having memories of of what happened and maybe is are feeling guilt or or something. And we get these really quick flashbacks to the scenes that we had seen in the beginning. And I, you know, I I got what the the connection that they were trying to make. It just didn't seem well done. I mean, it just it it felt it felt kind of amateur, and and I didn't think they succeeded.

Todd:  Yeah. We get these phone calls to each of the kids and, you know, you get these shots of the phone and the phone cord and, of course, the killer talking, And he says something sinister to every one of them, and every one of them who answers the phone just writes it off as, some, you know, sick person who's calling call. Crank call, heavy breather, whatever. And he's saying, you know, these things, like, do you still like to play games?

Craig:  Right. Right.

Todd:  And and crosses them each off the list. And like you said, it it kinda works against the movie because you know, okay. Well, this guy's targeting these people. Nobody else is really gonna be in danger. It takes a little bit of that suspense out of it, and it also takes the motivation question out of it. And it's just clunky. It's not very well done. And then Mhmm.  Again, like you said, that subplot is inserted in there so clunkily too. And it just so turns out that, whose dad is it? Who is the police officer?

Craig:  It's, Nick's dad.

Todd:  Nick's dad, McBride.

Craig:  Lieutenant McBride. Right?

Todd:  And he just calls in the doctor who worked on the the case of this schizophrenic man who they had thought had killed Robin many years ago. And the doctor walks in the office and he's like  Look, I'm on a tight schedule. I hope this is an emergency, Sergeant. Lieutenant, I was promoted last year. Great. Congratulations. What's the problem? Leonard Murch. Just came over the wire. Last night, Marge escaped from the state hospital in Cleveland.  He took a nurse in their car with him. The authorities in Cleveland say he's violent. I don't see how I can help. I haven't even seen Leonard since he was institutionalized. But you know him. Knew it. Knew it. Past it.  You think he'd head back here? I don't know. Oh, come on. Even a guest will help. Lieutenant, you're asking me to comment on a catatonic schizophrenic who was disfigured and institutionalized 6 years ago.  Right. Who knows where he would go? It's so clunky. It is it's so to the point. Like I said, it's it's just so economical. It's so bold on its face. Everything's just Well,

Craig:  and those that subplot is never tied into the main plot. I mean, like, it's it's it's ancillary, like, you know that they're related, but the lieutenant never, aside from being Nick's dad, he never has anything to do with the other kids. In fact, eventually, when we actually get to the prom, the lieutenant goes and is, like, guarding the prom and waiting to see if this guy will show up for no apparent reason.

Todd:  Yeah.

Craig:  Why would they think that he might show up there? Like, it doesn't even make any sense.

Todd:  It doesn't.

Craig:  And as it turns out, it it's completely inconsequential. You could completely remove all of those scenes. In fact, you could remove any mention of that guy. You could remove that lieutenant entirely, and it would have absolutely no impact on the plot of the movie.

Todd:  Oh, yeah. If you did, then the body count is 0 for the first entire hour. I mean, if you don't count the flashback. For the for the Yes,

Craig:  it is. Right.

Todd:  Hour of the film, the body count is 0. And and that's why, I mean, it gets pretty boring because it's just these characters being somewhat stalked even though they're not really being stalked because the if if you don't have the information that the audience does, nobody has anything to worry about. Right? Right. Right. There's like a picture torn out of a yearbook that it will appear occasionally appear in, each of their lockers that they find. And there's a point in there where Jamie Lee Curtis' character Kim, is showering and and with with somebody else, and a mirror breaks. You know, somebody's obviously thrown something at the mirror in the girl's changing room, but then they go out and they don't find anything. And then they come back in and they Well,

Craig:  and and and they kinda think they kinda think those things are weird, but they don't have any reason to suspect that there would be somebody after them. Yes. Like, I mean, except for maybe those, except for, I guess, the phone calls. But like you said, they totally write those off. And again, you know, you get those phone calls early on and then there's no follow-up with that either. Like, you would expect this guy to keep calling or keep contacting them in some way, tormenting them in some way, but he doesn't. It's like they're just kind of cutting and pasting these different slasher, you know, elements all into one movie, and they it just feels disjointed.

Todd:  Oh, yeah. And the scenes themselves are so awkwardly staged. I mean, they're awkwardly staged. Every single time, you would cut to the kids giving some little bit of information about their high school drama, you would be walking down a hallway kind of really slowly in kind of an odd way just so that the camera could film them in a certain way. It it just all of it there was just an air of unnaturalness, like, hey, we're we're putting a movie together about the way that those things were staged.

Craig:  Yeah. And there were so many things like that just seem completely unnatural. Like, Jamie Lee Curtis will be walking around in her school, and the school is completely empty of any other person. Like, when is this supposed to be? Is this supposed to be during the school day? Like, does she just hang out there during the day on weekends? Like, I don't even understand what's happening. There's a chase scene later on in the movie where it's during the prom and one of the girls, is getting chased around and she's running all over the school on prom night, and there are no other people anywhere around. I'm like, what is happening? I know. And she's

Todd:  got running.

Craig:  Jamie Lee Jamie Lee Curtis and her friend are in the in the locker room, and it's just the 2 of them. Like, was this your private gym class? Like, I don't even Todd doesn't make any sense.

Todd:  Oh, I like that part too where they, open up the the, you know, the the wind the mirror breaks, and so they go out to investigate. And then they open up the door that leads straight to the outside. And the I don't know if you caught this, but the sign on the on there says girls change room, which which is really brilliant, you know, to have your school to have an exterior door, and then to have a sign on that exterior door that announces that it's the girls' changing room. And the the sign below, it says visitors are requested to report to the office.

Craig:  Oh, god. That's funny.

Todd:  I don't know, man. I I don't know if that was just an oversight or if that was intentionally humorous, but I got a big kick out of that. There's a ridiculous scene. That ridiculous scene with Nick and Kim by the ocean when they're just walking.

Craig:  Yeah. Is this supposed to be Very after school special.

Todd:  Is this supposed to be near the school or something? Because  It

Craig:  has to be near the school. There it's like along a beach, but it's like on a cliff. Like, they they call it the bluffs or whatever. It's gotta be near the school, because something else happens there later on prom night. That's right. But, yeah. I mean, it's so melodramatic. You know, they're melodramatically walking along these cliffs.  The waves are crashing and it's

Todd:  I love you.  Camilla?  I love you too. I want you to know, Robin's death, I remember it. I've always been really sorry about it. I mean, I know what you're feeling. I Listen, Kim. I,  I gotta go.  Yeah. See you later.  There's a lot of that in this movie. I I love us particularly. I love Wendy and how they make her out to be such a bitch and they show us her home life, which they show in maybe like 3 different shots. And every single time, Wendy is, like, either getting ready for school or getting ready for a date or getting ready for the prom. And just as the doorbell rings or just as she's getting ready to head out the door, this older woman pops into the frame who at first, I thought, what is it her mother? But she's too old to be her mother. Maybe it's like her grandmother, but she's just dressed up in an apron. And, like, her sole purpose for popping in is just to look aghast at what Wendy's doing or right all that crazy kid kind of look on

Craig:  her face. Yeah. And just to show that, you know, Wendy rules the rooster at her house, like, she can do whatever she wants because she's a bad girl and, you know, that I thought it was her mom. I don't know. You're right. She did look way too old to be her mom, but she says something like, are you gonna be home for dinner? And when he's like, how should I know? And just walks out.

Todd:  When he walks out and

Craig:  she just looks out. Rude. She's smoking in the house, like, putting her cigarettes in the ashtray, not even putting them out. The old lady has to come and put her cigarettes out for her. So silly. And there are so many things like that. Like I said, it's just all this silly high school drama. And we're semi introduced to all these characters.  Like, of course, there's the 4 main kids who were involved in the accident. And then there's, Jamie Lee Curtis and her brother. But then Jamie Lee Curtis has, like, a group of other friends who are just kind of with her all the time that I never caught their names. I, like, they're really unimportant. There's, this jerky buffoon type of guy, highly remember, Lou, like who smokes and fights and he's after Kim and and it's you know I you just wonder why are they giving us all of these characters when they're completely inconsequential really and we don't even care about the central characters that we have or like I don't feel like I know anything about them. Yeah. It's it's just it's it's some it's kind of a mess, really.

Todd:  It is a mess. And it's funny because they're not even Todd central characters. Like, aside from Wendy who is the bitch girl, the rest of them are all, like, blend together. Like, it's not like  Mhmm.  Except for I don't know. Maybe, like, Jude is the girl who just happens to not be able to get a date to the prom until Right. That Seymour guy comes up. And and this is like, hey.  Hey, beautiful needle lift. No. Thanks. Come on. I won't bite. So who are you? Seymour Craig. But, they they, call me Slick. I I can see why.  How old are you Slick? Old enough. I've heard about guys like you running over girls on the sidewalk. For some girls, if they're, if they're good looking, I I give them a ride.

Craig:  Like, like, Kelly is the one who is is, you know, thinking about losing her virginity and she's got kind of this jerky boyfriend who, is pressuring her to do it on prom night or whatever. And it's just seriously, it's it's you know, I work in a high school and there's not as much drama as they try to establish in this hour and a half. I mean, it's and it's just you don't care. Who cares? We don't care if Kelly is gonna have sex with this guy. We don't care that Jude has finally gotten a date. Nobody cares. Let's get to the action.

Todd:  But we don't we don't get to anything for, like, an hour into it. Right. You know, it it but but we do find out that, Kim is going to be crowned queen of the prom along with Nick, the king of the prom. And this must be, like, the most important thing, in their lives. The king and queen, the way that they talk about them must have these incredible duties and standards that they have to uphold to. Because she even makes silly there's silly lines in there, like, well, I need to hold it together. That's what the queen of the prom needs to do. Something like that.  I think during that scene where they're talking at the,

Craig:  on the bluffs.

Todd:  Yeah. Bluffs. And there's a nurse there. Not a nurse. The PE teacher. Female Yeah. PE teacher who makes them rehearse through the process of accepting, the thing. And you know something's gonna happen here.  And even at one point point, it really it's it's kinda like it's copying from a lot of these different movies. Like, we mentioned Black Christmas, and there's Shades of Carrie in here as well. Mhmm. Definitely. Something's gonna happen at the front. Right.

Craig:  Because can't, right. Kim is, well, excuse me. Wendy and Kim, like I said before, are kind of rivals. They both want Nick. Apparently, Wendy and Nick used to be together, but they're not anymore. And now Kim's with Nick, and Wendy doesn't like it. So when Wendy can't convince Nick to come back to her and go to the prom with her, she hooks up with that big doofus, Lou. And, we don't know what their plan is but we know that they're conspiring something to happen at the prom.  And it does feel very much like Carrie. I mean, it could be that exactly, for all we know but all we know is that something is gonna go down, at the prom. And it's it's, you know, when they finally get to the prom or prom night at least, I'm like, thank Todd, can we just Yeah. What's gonna happen? Come on.

Todd:  There

Craig:  Well, and then they just start getting picked off 1 by 1 in really not very creative or interesting ways too.

Todd:  Well, I love I love the silly, like, really opaque moment when, when Nick goes to pick up Kim for the prom. And Mhmm. We we get this shot of Kim  obviously dressing and her brother is there. They're trying to  have they're having this, like, and her brother is there. They're trying to have they're having this, like, awkward brother sister dialogue back and forth, which really just seems to establish, hey. We're still brother and sister, or, hey. Don't forget. We're still brother and sister. She says something about, hey. Can you help me put on my necklace? And he says, I don't know. I am your brother.  And  Right.  There's a lot of that. And then we get a shot back to Nick downstairs, and he's just staring at the picture of Robin on the mantle.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  And you're thinking, oh, is he gonna he's still feeling guilty. Like, we really need to know this now. And he turns around when Kim comes down the stairs. Oh, you look beautiful. And they go together. And as they're walking out, he turns and makes one long, almost spooky look at the picture of Robin on the mantle again. Like, how long has he been dating this girl? You know?

Craig:  How long? I have no idea.

Todd:  And and

Craig:  it's been 6 years, you know. It's been 6 years, and he's just now feeling guilty. And, like, it it it felt like the filmmakers were trying to force you, like, here's how you're gonna feel. This guy feels guilty, so you're gonna have sympathy for him and you're not gonna want him to get killed. You're not gonna really care if the other ones get killed because somebody has to get killed, but you're not gonna want you're gonna root for him. You're gonna root for him and Kim. And okay. Sure, if you say so.

Todd:  So the first death is at the prom, and it's in, I guess, the locker room where they're making it where it's, it's Kelly and Drew, who are making out. And maybe the the best thing I could say about this movie is that the, teenage first time sex scene was appropriately awkward. And I just think it was so poorly staged that it came so close to reality of awkward teenage sex. But, yeah, again, it's this it's what you it's exactly what you would have expected. Suddenly, she doesn't wanna go through with it, and he immediately turns on her and says, well, I and just just very bluntly says, well, I know many other women who would.

Craig:  Like Right.

Todd:  If he's been working her this long, which is what she gives us the impression, that he's been coercing and coercing her this long, then he really gives up pretty quickly right there at the end. He plays all his cards on the table. He walks out. And, yeah, we get this death scene that's not even that great. It's it's really it's there's this low, kind of slow motion, very dark shot of some feet walking across what actually looks to be like a carpet. It doesn't even look like the floor of the room at all, the locker room, and then you find out later that it's because they reused the same shot like 3 more times. Every time the killer is walking towards somebody, no matter what room it's in, it's the same shot of his feet walking across the same floor, except here because the lights are out. They've darkened it up a bit and made it slow motion, and he comes up from behind and grabs her head and slices her neck with, I guess it's the same shard of glass that, came off of the mirror.  And it seems like, oh, we're trying to establish this connection to that past death where Robin had fallen out of the window and was cut apart by glass. Even the poster, the prom night poster, has a a picture of a masked killer with a big shard of glass there, and one of his victims kind of reflected in it. But correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think we see that as a murder weapon ever again from here on out.

Craig:  I don't think so. I think it I think it's at some point, somewhere, the killer gets an axe and is chasing the rest of them around with an axe for the most part. Doctor.

Todd:  Yeah. Doctor.

Craig:  Or maybe even a knife Todd. I don't remember. But I mean, and I don't remember because it's not memorable. You know, like the the killer is just dressed in all black with a black ski mask on. You know, there's there's nothing to indicate who it may or may not be other than you kinda get to see, you know, the size of this person. It doesn't seem to be, you know, we're not talking about like a Jason Voorhees who's like this looming big presence is, you know, it just looks like somebody and then black clothes, you know. So it's it's it's totally not memorable. And you get that scene and then go ahead.

Todd:  I was gonna say some skinny sort of athletic person, you know, running around. Right. I guess it just rules out almost everybody right from the beginning because I don't know. At some point, I feel like we're supposed to suspect Lou, sort of that dumb oath that's conspiring with Wendy because they were talking about, you know, you need to she needs to pay and but don't hurt her. And we had earlier seen Lou in a ski mask. There was this Right. Right. Confrontation in, the cafeteria.  But once again, Lou is like big and chunky guy. He's clearly not gonna be him. And it wouldn't

Craig:  even make sense. Blatant. Like Yeah. Yeah.

Todd:  Yeah. It wouldn't even make sense the way that it staged. I feel like there's even a scream moment in there where, you know, that Lou comes in late after we see a, you know, a killing, and he's kind of out of breath. And he's saying something cryptic. And you're supposed to, I guess, supposed to think that it's him, but it never crosses your mind.

Craig:  No. It never crossed my mind that it was him. Because first of all, I mean, you can tell that the person who it is is is a completely different physique. And Lou is such a stupid idiot character, like, you he would never be able to do anything that required any kind of skill or planning. Yeah. That's true.

Todd:  So so anyway, there's that death, and then, it switches back to the prom which this is this is where the budget of the movie, I think, like, really shows because I never feel like this is actually a prom and not some set that they're trying to make look like the prom. Because Yeah. Some shots are are of just a few people in the corner, and the lighting seems totally different. And then you get a shot of the stage, which is, like, total disco. Yeah.

Craig:  Yeah. Disco floor is perfect. Well, the theme of the prom is disco madness.

Todd:  Yeah. And that's so unfortunate. It works against the movie in retrospect.

Craig:  Well, right. I mean, it certainly dates it. But I was gonna say if there are any redeeming qualities, to this movie, anytime you get a Jamie Lee Curtis disco dance break, you know, I mean, that's something. I'm glad I saw the movie if not just for that clip. But I if you haven't seen the movie and, it doesn't sound all that appealing to you, I'm sure you can find that clip on, on YouTube. And if so, that's really all you need to see.

Todd:  Well, I don't know. I don't know. You could almost miss that too. I mean, it's terrible dancing. It's poorly filled. I mean, it's and

Craig:  it go on. Got the classic shot where, like, the the she and and, Nick are holding hands and spinning, and you're seeing it from either their perspective. So it's the spinning shot. Oh, I loved it. That made me smile.

Todd:  Well, and it never comes to, like, a climax because after their little spinning shot and everything, you expect they're gonna do some pose or everyone's gonna start clapping, but just everybody just kind of moves on to the dance floor and starts dancing with them all of a sudden. It's not like a dance sequence that has a proper ending, that we're supposed to yeah. I don't know. It just didn't it it was no Romy Michelle's high school reunion. Let's put it that way.

Craig:  Oh, no. I it it was goofy. I'm being sarcastic. It was really goofy, but it was funny. I mean, I laughed because it was so goofy.

Todd:  Oh, and we got the disco prom night theme song, which apparently I read Yes. The soundtrack to this movie is like a thing even though it never really was a thing.

Craig:  Yeah. I read about the soundtrack, initially. Initially, they had filmed everything using, contemporary disco music, you know, like stuff with Donna Summer and stuff that that, you know, would have been very recognizable and popular at the time. But I don't know how they overlooked this. But apparently, to get the rights to those songs was way, way out of the production budget. And so they had the, musical composer, rewrite songs, but really all he did was just copy those songs. And if you listen to the music in the background, it's super familiar. I mean, you can totally tell what songs he was copying.  And I guess they got sued, for copyright and ended up settling out of court. I don't remember what they had to pay, but they did have to pay out on it something for for copyright infringement.

Todd:  There's but but, of course, we have a theme song called prom night. Right. The disco dance sequence gets gives gives us an

Craig:  so it's, it's corny. And you know, I I could see this film actually did pretty well, in its initial release, I guess. It was Canada's highest rated or or or, highest earning, horror film of that year of 1980. And I guess that it did really well in the drive in circuit, which I can see. You know, you go to a drive in. You're a young kid going to a drive in in this day and age, you're really probably not going so much for the movie as for the experience. And so, just to have something kind of on in the background when you're hanging out with your friends or your girlfriend or whatever. I could see how it would work.  But beyond that, I don't really see where the appeal lies.

Todd:  Oh, yeah. Something that you don't need to pay attention to, that you could pop in at any moment and you haven't missed a thing.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  That's kind of this movie. You could go in and out of this film, and it really doesn't matter. No. So then, of course, you get another shot of Jude and the Seymour guy who are at the van, in their van. They're having sex, and it's her first time as well. And I guess they're out at the Bluffs, and there's this shot of what is obviously the killer's point of view kind of coming close to the van and sweeping around to the back window. Then we get shot on the inside, more of this inane dialogue, I feel, between these two characters. They decide that they're going to step out and they walk across to have sex on the ground up by the bluffs and there's this long and this is again a point where I feel like the movie tries to be artistic, but it just is so poorly executed and it just can't do anything within the confines of this script and this acting and these lines.  Mhmm. Where there's this sweeping shot that kind of follows them from from the perspective of through the trees. And it's like all one take. And they go and they lay down. They lay down a blanket for about 5 seconds. And for some reason decide, no. We're just gonna go back to the van again. And so then they walk another 12 feet back to the van and go into the van.  And then we're treat so this scene went absolutely nowhere. And then we're treated again to the same shot of from the killer's perspective, swooping around the van to the back. It's so distracting. It's like they got no coverage, but I've never seen a movie like this reuse so many shots so close together as this movie does, it's so weird. She dies and he dies Todd. We get our huge stunt sequence where he jumps his reaction, by the way, to the back doors opening, her falling out the back and getting axed by this murderer is to immediately run to the front, start the car, and try to take off. But instead, all he does is spin circles while the killer tries to get into the cab and is hanging out the door. I felt like this was supposed to be our big, you know, stunt number, our big kind of chase scene, but it ended up just looking really dumb and of course drives off the bluff and almost before Which

Craig:  you see coming a mile away?

Todd:  Oh, of course. And if almost before the van even hits anything, it explodes.

Craig:  Yeah. Well, and then here is another place where it just seems like the writing is so muddy. Like, the killer, you assume that their motive is, you know, revenge for this accident or whatever. But there would be no motive to kill this dorky little scene where guy. I mean, it just doesn't make any sense, but he does anyway. And, yeah, I guess it's for the action shot, you know, the exploding van going off the cliff, which is apparently right outside the high school, but nobody notices, you know, this huge explosion right outside the prom. Well, that's It's just, there's there's no sense in it's almost nonsensical to even criticize it because it's it's so silly. And then right after that, we're back in the school, and Wendy's just, like, in the bathroom, like, putting on makeup or something, and the lights go out.  And she's, like, what's going on? And then she gets chased through the school for what had to have been 10 minutes. Like, it was so long. And I thought, oh my god. Just catch her and kill her already.

Todd:  It's It's so bad. And again, as you said earlier, she's running through this suddenly completely empty school. She's running to all of the places that are completely empty. I mean, there is a prom going on over here. You you have plenty of opportunity to run to where all the people are, but you don't, and you don't scream. It's so quiet, and it feels like this sequence to me was a guy sitting down with a whole bunch of shots in mind. Like, I want a shot where, the victim raises her head about halfway up from behind the table, and we just see her eyes looking back and forth, and they're reflected in the shiny surface of the table. And I want a shot of the killer stepping into frame with an ax that's between his legs.  It's it's like there are some really great shots in this sequence, but they do nothing for the sequence because they're just  No.

Craig:  And she just she just keeps running from one place to the next and hiding, like, okay. I'll run and hide here for 30 seconds until the killer shows up, and then, ah, there he is. Now I'll run somewhere else and hide there for 30 seconds. Ah, here he is again. Like, it's just come on, get on with it. Yeah. And and so eventually, they do. Eventually, she ends up in a closet, and it, like, and this happens several times too.  Like, the killer kind of is looking where she is, but then he's going away, but then she makes a noise. Like, that happens, like, 3 times. Mhmm. And finally, on the last one, she ends up in some closet. And I guess that's where the killer had stashed one of the other girls, either Jude or Kelly. I don't remember. It doesn't make any difference. But she sees the blood dripping and she sees the body and she screams.  And so the killer comes back and kills her. And so then all we've got left is, of the 4 original kids is Nick. And that's when it comes time for the prom king and queen coronation. And, they've rehearsed this before, so they know what they're supposed to do. But, of course, remember we have to lose, got this plan or whatever. So when, Jamie Lee Curtis, my Kim, and Nick go backstage and take their positions, lose goons grab Nick and knock him out. And they take his jacket off. And Lou puts on the jacket and the crown like he's gonna go out there and accept prom king or or whatever, and that's gonna be their big prank, Hardy r.

Todd:  Hardy r. Yeah.  It's not even that cool. But No. Lame. But, of course, this killer is not paying attention, apparently. Just arrives on the scene, after this is done and, comes up behind what he the killer thinks is Nick and takes an axe to his head. And a loose head rolls down the center of the stage, in front of everybody at the prom. And, that that's a neat idea, I think.

Craig:  Mhmm. Mhmm.

Todd:  And everybody runs out screaming. And, then there's a chase sequence between the killer and, I guess, Jamie Lee.

Craig:  Nick, and Kim.

Todd:  And Kim. Oh, yeah.

Craig:  Well, yeah. Like, she she goes back. I guess Nick has kind of woken up like he was knocked out or whatever. She goes back to get him. Meanwhile, everybody else has run outside. So it's just the 3 of them still in there. And it's a there's, you know, a fight team between them. It's completely anticlimactic.  You know, the, the killer gets knocked down a couple times. Jamie Lee gets knocked down a couple times. Nick gets knocked down a couple times, and, at some point the killer loses his axe, and Jamie Lee goes to get it, and she picks it up. And while the killer is, like, standing over Nick or something, she hits him, but with the blunt side of it. Now, I mean, obviously, it causes damage and that would, you know, severely injure somebody, but she doesn't, like, chop his head off or whatever. And then there's this moment where the killer pauses and he and, Kim, Jamie Lee Curtis, make eye contact and there's obviously some recognition there. Now this is when I thought that I had figured out who it was. I thought that it was going to be her mom.  Yeah. Because all throughout the whole movie, they had talked about how the mom had never really recuperated. She wasn't taking it well. It was the anniversary. She, you know, she wasn't doing well. She had come to the prom with the dad because the dad just happened to be the principal also. But then, like, she had disappeared. You know, he said he had to take her to relax somewhere.  So she

Todd:  could've easily been doing all these things

Craig:  behind the scenes. Somewhere. So she could've easily been doing all these things behind the scene. And at that point, I had it figured out. I thought, gosh, oh, it was gonna be another sweet 16 where it's it's the mom taking over, or or or even Friday 13th, the mom getting revenge. But that's not how it plays out. The killer, Nick and Kim, stumble outside where the police are all out there, and I think maybe the killer stumbles out there before them. And, Jamie Lee says to the cops, don't shoot him.  Don't shoot him. And she goes, he collapses from the wound on his head, the the blunt wound on his head. And, she kind of holds him in her arms, and she takes off the mask to reveal that it was her brother, Alex, all along. I don't know. What did you think about the, reveal?

Todd:  I didn't care at that point. I mean, I honestly didn't care. I felt exactly the same way you did. I thought it was gonna be the mom, and, so I was a little surprised at the reveal. And it did make sense that maybe, obviously, back in the day when Robin died, that one of the people who would have stumbled across it would have been, one of the siblings since they've been out there walking.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  So so it made logical sense.

Craig:  You know, we But again, was he just biding his time until prom night, like

Todd:  Yeah. It On 6th

Craig:  It doesn't really make and we're never given any indication throughout the whole rest of the movie that he's in any way unhinged. You know, like, he seems fine. And and his reaction you know, he he doesn't seem to be particularly mourning or anything. I mean, yeah. I guess logically speaking, it would make sense that if he was if he saw what had really happened, that he would wanna get revenge. But there's just there's there's there are so many lame, lame, lame red herrings that when it's finally revealed, it's like, really? Like, that's the best you could come up with after all this misguidance?

Todd:  I mean, it's like you said, it makes logical sense, but there's no foreshadowing. And and we don't even spend much time with him in the movie. Mhmm. He pops in and out almost as much as Leslie Nielsen, which is, like, for 3 or 4 scenes, and that's it. So Right. Yeah. It it's just it's just super clunky. It it feels totally contrived, just like the whole movie.  The whole meal movie just feels completely contrived. It's kind of a paint by numbers script, I think, that's derivative of all the movies we've listed. And it tries at times to be artistic and kind of give this art house feel, but it's so poorly executed, and it's so shoehorned into an otherwise kind of silly movie that it doesn't matter.

Craig:  Right. And I don't know. You know, I've been, very critical as we've gone. You know, it's it's a cheesy eighties slasher. You know, there were some ones that lasted, but even the ones that lasted and turned into big franchises, it's not like they were masterpieces of cinema No. When they came out. You For for whatever reason, they found, a fan base and and, you know, people ran with it. Studios ran with it because they were making money.  You know, I think, this film was originally supposed to be distributed by Paramount, but, they were only gonna release it in a handful of theaters and some other more obscure, company, production company offered to release it to do a wider release. And so they went with that. Well, Paramount, so then instead went with Friday 13th, which came out the same year, which, you know, of course went on to be this huge franchise and still is. So who knows? I mean, it may just be serendipity, you know. Had had these people had the prom night folks gone with, Paramount, maybe that would have become the big new franchise. I don't know. I mean, personally, I think Friday 13th is a better movie. But we you know, it's certainly open for criticism too.  But in the end, it's in the end, you know, going in, I I love watching these kinds of movies. I like to see as many of them as I could. Just the name of this movie and the fact that, Jamie Lee Curtis is in it and, you know, she was such a big screen queen of the eighties. I really couldn't believe that I hadn't seen it. And now that I have, I'm like, I could have gone without seeing it. Like, it would have been fine. You know, it's not enriched my life in any way, beyond just being a completest, I guess.

Todd:  No. There's definitely a reason it's been forgotten. And, you know, you make that comparison to the Friday 13th movies, and you're right. They are better even though they're not great movies, but I think where they're different is at least they're more interesting to watch. At least there's something going on. There's some genuine suspense happening. There's some genuine unknowns as to who's gonna live, who's gonna die, and and even though they're pretty clunky Todd, and very thin on characterization, thin on plot, they make up for it by being really good on atmosphere, and again, that suspense, whereas this movie just doesn't really have either.

Craig:  Right. And creativity. I mean, you know, there's only so many ways that you can kill a person I suppose. But, you know, even in those early movies, you know, there was variety in the kills. You know, there was interest They were shot in interesting ways, and this just wasn't. I mean, it just it almost felt like a made for TV kind of thing and, it it just didn't work for me. You know, I I'm sure that there are people out there who saw it when it came out, who have fond memories of seeing it with their friends at the drive in or, you know, snuggling up with their boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever at the drive in for kind of just some cheap thrills or whatever. And, and I understand that completely, you know.  There are lots of bad movies that I have really fond memories of. But coming to this now, it just didn't do anything for me.

Todd:  Unless you're a disco fan. Right. You get the disco dance sequence, and you get the disco battle at the end. Yes. Well, thank you for listening to another episode of 2 Guys in a Chainsaw. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend. We're on iTunes. We're on Stitcher.  We also have a Facebook page and a Google plus page. Please like us there, share us there, and start up a conversation. Let us know what you thought of this episode and whatever future episodes you might want us to review. Until then, I'm Todd

Craig:  And I'm Craig.

Todd:  With 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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