Halloween Dual Reviews: Prom Night (1980) & Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Prom Night (1980)

When a hide and seek game turns wrong causing a young girl jumped to her death, a pact was then made by the four little Satan that caused this event. They promised to never tell a single soul and goes on with their lives without even a guilt conscience on their minds. When their senior prom arrives six years later, they should have known that their past is coming to haunt their sorry asses.

Thirty four years after its released in 1980, Prom Night has become a cult hit to many slasher movie-goers. I understand the appeal and watched the movie with the exact notion in mind. The movie’s buildup is surprising for a Canadian movie with moderate budget. Albeit the 80s cheese factor, miserable hairstyles and groovy disco songs, Prom Night is a mediocre fun slasher movie that focuses little time on the killer and more on its victims (including sex, relationship and drugs).

Jamie Lee Curtis, two years after Halloween, starred as the dead girl’s popular sister. Her butch hair is hard to look at, but her dance number is quite impressive. Paul Lynch’s directing can somewhat get lost in his own doing, but as long as you know what’s going on you are safe to enjoy some axe killing and severed head on the stage. The only thing I disliked is the cheap cinematography and lighting. It really hurts my eyes from straining too long on the screen trying to decipher the murder spree that’s going on. 80s movies, am I right?

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

I still feel the chill in the back of my spine when I remember the ending scene in Sleepaway camp. It was not horrifying or even scary but it was bizarre and uncomfortable in a funny way. The movie’s title said it all: it’s about a group of children in a summer camp where things goes wrong. The plot is supposed to be predictable but it’s not. First, the murder executions are bloody and ominous, for examples: using bee hives and iron curling to kill someone is better than simple kitchen knives. Next, the directing is actually intriguing and will keep you on your toes – I was busy playing whodunit all the way through (although I have my suspicion). Last, when you thought you know how the movie will end and have actually seen it, you know it was far from what you have predicted.

Many have said that Sleepaway Camp is not just a horror movie, it’s psychological as well. Of course as a usual recurring theme with these B-movie horror, you will find “negative” stereotypical if you try to nitpick the movie. But when you don’t (and realized this is a movie not to be taken seriously), the effect of Sleepaway can be refreshing and scary at the same time. The psychological aspect as you suspect still haunts me till this day. I watched this movie a couple of months back and I can still recall scenes by scenes – something I will never say for other cheap slasher flicks.

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