Prom Night (1980)

R | 93 mins | Horror | 1980

Director:

Paul Lynch

Producer:

Peter Simpson

Cinematographer:

Robert New

Production Companies:

Simcom, Prom Night Productions Inc.
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HISTORY

       The prom’s discotheque scene required the installation of a plexi-glass floor, flashing lights, and 250 teenage extras from the George Vanier Collegiate summer school. The Scarborough Bluff Escarpment served as the location of the van explosion, which was the final sequence filmed in the five week shoot, although an item in the 16 Oct 1979 ^HR reported a seven week production schedule.
       An article in the 25 Jul 1980 HR reported that Avco Embassy Pictures planned a promotional tour for the film’s star, Jamie Lee Curtis, in Aug 1980, which would take Curtis to openings in New York, NY, Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Cincinnati, OH, Kansas City, KS, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA. Midnight screenings were also planned. Additionally, 10,000 of Avco’s promotional “scream pillows” would be distributed to quiet the outbursts of movie-goers.
       The Oct 1980 issue of Film Journal noted that the picture was just another entry in the slasher film genre, and an item in the 29 Aug 1980 LAHExam stated the movie was an imitation of Carrie (1976, see entry), Saturday Night Fever (1977, see entry), and Halloween (1978, see entry). The 16 Jul 1980 DV review also noted that the disco theme music used for the prom made the film “seem dated” before it was even released.
       According to the 22 Jul 1980 HR, the film’s opening weekend, 18-20 Jul 1980, in 200 theaters in Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, Louisville, KY and throughout TX, grossed $1,189,636. Items in the 19 Aug 1980 HR and the 25 ... More Less

       The prom’s discotheque scene required the installation of a plexi-glass floor, flashing lights, and 250 teenage extras from the George Vanier Collegiate summer school. The Scarborough Bluff Escarpment served as the location of the van explosion, which was the final sequence filmed in the five week shoot, although an item in the 16 Oct 1979 ^HR reported a seven week production schedule.
       An article in the 25 Jul 1980 HR reported that Avco Embassy Pictures planned a promotional tour for the film’s star, Jamie Lee Curtis, in Aug 1980, which would take Curtis to openings in New York, NY, Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Cincinnati, OH, Kansas City, KS, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA. Midnight screenings were also planned. Additionally, 10,000 of Avco’s promotional “scream pillows” would be distributed to quiet the outbursts of movie-goers.
       The Oct 1980 issue of Film Journal noted that the picture was just another entry in the slasher film genre, and an item in the 29 Aug 1980 LAHExam stated the movie was an imitation of Carrie (1976, see entry), Saturday Night Fever (1977, see entry), and Halloween (1978, see entry). The 16 Jul 1980 DV review also noted that the disco theme music used for the prom made the film “seem dated” before it was even released.
       According to the 22 Jul 1980 HR, the film’s opening weekend, 18-20 Jul 1980, in 200 theaters in Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, Louisville, KY and throughout TX, grossed $1,189,636. Items in the 19 Aug 1980 HR and the 25 Aug 1980 Box reported the film earned over $1.3 million in its 15 Aug 1980 opening weekend in New York and Los Angeles. The film marked Avco’s largest Los Angeles weekend gross to date, and also set records in Philadelphia, PA and New England. The 26 Aug 1980 DV noted the successful “staggered openings” had already brought in $8,132,650, and added that sixty percent of the 500 prints in distribution over Labor Day weekend would be new openings. According to the 3 Sep 1980 HR, the Labor Day weekend gross was an impressive $2,111,568. In Oct 1980, Film Journal reported that the picture had already grossed $12 million. According to articles in the 11 Feb 1981 Var and the 23 Feb 1981 DV, the film earned more than $6 million in domestic rentals in 1980. The Canadian television network (CTV) paid a record $200,000 for three airings. Seven months after its theatrical run, Prom Night aired on television 22 Feb 1981 during Feb 1981 sweeps on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network. Avco and producer Peter Simpson sold the package of two prime time showings for $3,25 million. Although it was speculated they could have received more from a pay-television deal, Simpson, who headed Simco, a television syndication company, noted little interest from pay-television venues and expected the direct-to-television deal would reap higher Nielson ratings.
       Production notes reported Prom Night marked the feature film acting debuts of Marybeth Rubens, Joy Thompson, Michael Tough, David Mucci and Liz Stalker-Mason.
      End credits include the statement: “Filmed in Toronto.” According to production notes in AMPAS library files, Don Mills Collegiate, a Toronto, Canada, suburban high school, was the location for the film’s Alexander Hamilton high school. The North York Board of Education allowed the filmmakers to set up production offices at the school, and the carpentry crew took over the school’s woodworking shop. An item in the 8 Aug 1979 Var reported the film was budgeted at $1.5 million and would begin filming the following Monday, 13 Aug 1979.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Aug 1980.
---
Daily Variety
16 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1980.
---
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jul 1980
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jul 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 1980.
---
LAHExam
29 Aug 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Aug 1980
p. 4.
New York Times
16 Aug 1980
p. 11.
The Film Journal
Oct 1980.
---
Variety
8 Aug 1979.
---
Variety
23 Jul 1980
p. 20.
Variety
11 Feb 1981.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Simcom Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/2d unit dir
1st asst dir/2d unit dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Asst grip
2d unit cam
Cam op
Focus puller
Clapper loader
Disco lighting
Film processing
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir/Pre-prod art dir
Story board
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed/Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Key props
Asst props
Key set dresser
Key set dresser
Const mgr
Carpenter
COSTUMES
Asst ward
Addl ward
MUSIC
Mus/Orig disco mus
Main source mus
Courtesy Brian Pombiere Prod.
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Prosthetics
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Asst prod mgr
Driver capt/Prod asst
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst to the prod
Casting, Toronto
Casting, Los Angeles
STAND INS
Stunt coord/Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
DETAILS
Release Date:
1980
Premiere Information:
Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, Louisville, KY and Texas openings: 18 July 1980
Los Angeles and New York openings: 15 August 1980
Production Date:
Began 13 August 1979
Copyright Claimant:
Guardian Trust Company
Copyright Date:
25 August 1980
Copyright Number:
PA78147
Physical Properties:
Sound
Quinn Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Four twelve-year-old kids play a game called “Killer is Coming” in an abandoned convent. Wendy, who is “It,” stalks Nick, Kelly and Jude. As Kim Hammond walks by with her younger twin siblings, Robin and Alex, she sees Nick on an outside ledge and waves. However, he signals her to go away. Kim is further frustrated that she forgot a textbook and must return to school. Robin wants to play the game but Alex knows they are not wanted and leaves. When Robin joins the game, the other kids chase her, relentlessly shouting, “Kill,” until she is cornered against a window. Backing away, Robin falls through the window to her death. Nick wants to get help but Wendy forces them to make a pact never to tell. As the four kids race off, a shadow falls over Robin’s body. Someone else is there. Soon after, the police think a sexual predator attacked Robin and arrest a suspect. Six years later, the family visits Robin’s grave on the anniversary of her death. It also happens to be the day of the prom at Alexander Hamilton high school, where Kim and Alex are students, and their father, Mr. Hammond, is the principal. As the three enter the school, they pass Mr. Sykes, the new gardener. The kids think Sykes is strange but Mr. Hammond assures them that he has been checked out. Jude has no date for the prom and receives a strange call asking, “Can you come out to play tonight? See you at the prom.” The caller hangs up and ... +


Four twelve-year-old kids play a game called “Killer is Coming” in an abandoned convent. Wendy, who is “It,” stalks Nick, Kelly and Jude. As Kim Hammond walks by with her younger twin siblings, Robin and Alex, she sees Nick on an outside ledge and waves. However, he signals her to go away. Kim is further frustrated that she forgot a textbook and must return to school. Robin wants to play the game but Alex knows they are not wanted and leaves. When Robin joins the game, the other kids chase her, relentlessly shouting, “Kill,” until she is cornered against a window. Backing away, Robin falls through the window to her death. Nick wants to get help but Wendy forces them to make a pact never to tell. As the four kids race off, a shadow falls over Robin’s body. Someone else is there. Soon after, the police think a sexual predator attacked Robin and arrest a suspect. Six years later, the family visits Robin’s grave on the anniversary of her death. It also happens to be the day of the prom at Alexander Hamilton high school, where Kim and Alex are students, and their father, Mr. Hammond, is the principal. As the three enter the school, they pass Mr. Sykes, the new gardener. The kids think Sykes is strange but Mr. Hammond assures them that he has been checked out. Jude has no date for the prom and receives a strange call asking, “Can you come out to play tonight? See you at the prom.” The caller hangs up and crosses Jude’s name off a list of the four kids involved with Robin’s death. As Jude walks to school, she is picked up by geeky Seymour, nicknamed “Slick.” He asks her to the prom and Jude agrees. The stalker calls Kelly next. She thinks it is her boyfriend, Drew, until Drew sneaks up behind her. Nick and his father, Lieutenant McBride, are leaving when Nick’s phone rings. Thinking it is his ex-girlfriend Wendy, Nick ignores the call and tells his father that Wendy cannot accept that Nick is going to prom with Kim Hammond. At work, McBride reviews Robin Hammond’s file with Dr. Fairchild. The suspect, Leonard Murch, was disfigured in a fiery crash as he tried to escape. According to Fairchild, Murch is a “catatonic schizophrenic” and has been institutionalized for six years. Unfortunately, Murch just escaped from the state hospital, taking a nurse hostage. McBride gets word that the nurse’s body has been found at the abandoned convent where Robin died. The stalker calls Wendy but when she realizes it is not Nick, she immediately hangs up. In the hallway before school, Jude tells Kim about her date with Seymour. Fellow classmate Lou puts the moves on Kim but she finds him repulsive. At the deserted convent, McBride wonders why Murch is back in town, but decides not to arouse the fears of the townspeople. Wendy confronts Kim, saying that Nick might be king of the prom, and Kim the queen, but Nick still belongs to Wendy. In the cafeteria lunch line, Lou, wearing a ski mask, kisses Kim and her brother, Alex, punches him. Lou’s friends attack Alex, and Lou sucker punches him. Lou passes Wendy on his way to the principal’s office, and Wendy asks to meet him later. Mr. Hammond suspends Lou, tosses the ski mask in the trash, and sends Alex to the nurse’s office. That afternoon, Kim and Nick stroll on a nearby cliff overlooking a beach and confess their love for each other. Kim is sad about Robin since this would have been her first prom. Nick almost confesses to aiding in Robin’s death but Kim rushes off. Meanwhile, Wendy conspires with Lou to pull a stunt at the prom. In the girls’ dressing room after gym, Kelly tells Kim she is finally going to let Drew have sex with her at prom. A mirror is smashed in the other room and the girls rush to look outside, but only find Sykes changing a light bulb. In the gymnasium, Wendy and Lou lurk in the background while Nick and Kim rehearse their prom entrances from opposite sides of the stage. Meanwhile, police discover the dead nurse’s car and McBride patrols the high school area. That night, Mr. and Mrs. Hammond chaperone the prom and Alex, who has no date, handles the sound system. Nick escorts Kim, Kelly is with Drew, and Jude arrives with Seymour. Wendy angrily waits for Lou who arrives late and brings two friends. Wendy’s entrance prompts Kim to pull Nick onto the dance floor and they become the center of attention while doing a disco dance. Kelly and Drew sneak off for sex but Kelly is too nervous and Drew leaves in anger. Wearing a ski mask, the killer sneaks up behind Kelly and slices her throat. Nearby, Jude and Seymour have sex in his van. They decide to move outside, but stop when they hear someone. Back in the van, Jude and Seymour are smoking a marijuana cigarette when the van door opens and Jude is knifed. Seymour attempts to drive away but is attacked by the killer, who jumps out of the vehicle just before it speeds over the cliff and explodes. Wendy is fixing her makeup in the girls’ room when the lights suddenly go off. The killer, now wielding an ax, chases Wendy through the school before killing her in the auto shop. McBride is relieved to learn that Murch was arrested in another town. Kim looks for her Dad as Sykes drunkenly enters the prom saying there is a killer on the loose. The police lead Sykes away as Kim and Nick get ready for their royal prom processional. Even though Wendy is not around, Lou and his buddies proceed with their plan. Kim and Nick are handed their crowns and take their places backstage. Lou’s friends knock out Nick, tie him up and hand the crown to Lou, but, as the processional begins, the killer sneaks up behind the “king,” and chops off Lou’s head. Kim rushes to help Nick, but the killer traps the two of them. As the three fight, the killer loses his ax. Kim grabs it and whacks the attacker. He looks at her and Kim suddenly realizes the killer is Alex. He staggers outside and collapses. Kim gently removes the ski mask from her brother’s face as Alex tells her that the four kids killed their sister. Kim is in shock as her brother dies in her arms and prom night ends. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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