Picks and Pans Review: Prom Night

updated 09/29/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/29/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Prom themes are usually something like "Summer Rhapsody" or "Dancing in the Dark." The high school soiree in question here is called "Disco Madness," but "Romance and Getting Hacked to Pieces" would be better. A killer is loose, out to avenge a childhood prank that turned ugly. He also seems to have something against kissing, since the sexier-minded victims go first. For all its gore (plenty) and stereotypes, though, this is an involving entry in the maniac-stalks-teens school of scare films. Canadian director Paul (Blood and Guts) Lynch effectively uses the inherently nightmarish qualities of disco music and mounts a couple of tense hide-and-seek chases. Jamie Lee Curtis, who survived a similar go-round in Halloween, is a comely and feisty heroine; Eddie Benton as the bad girl and Joy Thompson as the lovable one are appealing, too. Director Lynch eventually gets hoisted on his own axes, shards of glass and butcher knives, lapsing into soft-focus photography, slow motion and fades to black at all provocations. Still, this isn't a bad film to go to, especially if you go someplace nice afterward. (R)

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