In this weeks episode of the Jamie Lee Curtis Horror Rewatch, Cory and Nathan are slashing to the disco beat as they discuss “Prom Night”.
John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980):
In 1974, 11-year-olds Wendy Richards, Jude Cunningham, Kelly Lynch, and Nick McBride play hide and seek in an abandoned convent. 10-year-old Robin Hammond tries to join them, but they start teasing her by repeating “Kill! Kill! Kill!”. Robin is then backed up towards a window from which she falls to her death. Instead of reporting the incident to the police, the children make a pact not to tell anyone what happened and keep the incident a secret, but after they leave, a shadow falls across Robin’s body. Later a known rapist, Leonard Merch is mistakenly blamed for Robin’s death and is arrested.
Six years pass and it is 1980. Robin’s family attend her memorial on the anniversary of her death. Robin’s teenage sister, Kim, and fraternal twin brother, Alex, are also preparing for the school prom to be held that evening. Their parents will also attend, as their father is the school principal. Kelly, Jude and Wendy begin receiving obscene phone calls from an unknown figure, while Nick ignores his ringing phone. Kim and Nick, whom she is dating, are attending prom together; Jude is asked by goofy jokester Seymour “Slick” Crane whom she meets by chance that morning; Kelly is going with her boyfriend Drew Shinnick (who is preoccupied with having sex with her despite objections), while Wendy, previously Nick’s girlfriend, asks the school rebel, Lou Farmer with plans to embarrass Nick and Kim at prom.
In the changing room after gym class, Kim and Kelly discover the locker room mirror severely cracked and a shard missing. The offender blamed for Robin’s death has escaped and Lt. McBride, Nick’s father, investigates. Also during the day, Wendy, Jude and Kelly discover their year book photos in their lockers torn and stabbed with a piece of glass. During the senior prom, Kim and Nick perform a dance number to impress Wendy who had insisted Nick would be getting back with her after the prom. Later, Kelly and Drew make out in the changing room, but Kelly refuses to continue to full sex, resulting in Drew angrily leaving. As Kelly gets dressed, an unidentified figure wearing a ski mask and all-black clothing stealthily approaches her and slits her throat with a mirror shard. Jude and Slick have sex and smoke marijuana in Slick’s van parked outside school grounds. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched and are then attacked by the masked killer, who stabs Jude’s throat. Slick struggles with the killer while attempting to drive away but the killer escapes from the van (with Slick inside) as it tumbles off a cliff and explodes into a wreckage. McBride, staking out the prom, is informed that the sex offender blamed for Robin’s death has been caught. He is relieved and ends his scrutiny of the event.
In the bathroom, the killer, now wielding an axe, confronts and chases Wendy through the school. She evades the killer several times, but is caught and killed after she screams upon discovering Kelly’s body in a storage room. Kim and Nick prepare to be crowned prom king and queen but Wendy’s plan is put into action by Lou and his lackeys who tie up Nick with Lou taking his crown and assuming his position back stage. Mistaking him for Nick, the killer approaches behind Lou and decapitates him. Lou’s severed head rolls down the runway and onto the dance floor, sending the prom-goers fleeing in horror.
Kim finds Nick and frees him. As they prepare to escape, they are confronted by the killer who attacks Nick but not Kim. Eventually in the ensuing brawl, Kim bluntly strikes the killer’s head with his own axe. She and the killer then stare at each other for a moment and Kim realizes who he really is. He runs outside where the police have arrived. As guns are raised Kim screams for Lt. McBride not to shoot him. Although he obeys, the killer collapses, as he is already dying from his head wound. The killer is then revealed to be Alex, who explains to Kim that he was trying to avenge Robin’s death and that Jude, Kelly, Wendy and Nick were responsible for their sister’s death. He cries Robin’s name and dies in Kim’s arms. Kim cries at the death of another sibling.
The scares are affective and the mystery is fun. This isn’t the best of this era of slasher films but they do make bold choices in the big reveal and don’t fall too far into the trope realm. Recommend!
What’s Up Next?:
Our discussions of Jamie Lee Curtis continues with “Terror Train”
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