Bad stuff happens on prom night -- and I'm not talking about spiked punch bowls or backseat groping. From serial killers to vengeful ghosts, these films feature prom nights that turn into blood baths, starting with Prom Night
, one of the early hits in the '80s slasher craze. Pray you don't have a date.
Potential spoilers ahead!
© Echo Bridge
Four kids playing a prank inadvertently cause a girl named Robin to fall to her death, and they vow to remain silent when a local man is blamed and jailed. Six years later, they're all in high school and preparing from prom, along with Robin's brother and sister, Alex and Kim (Jamie Lee Curtis). The day of the prom, the man jailed for Robin's death escapes, and (coincidentally?) a masked killer begins stalking the dance, bumping off the teens involved in the accident six years earlier. The last remaining prankster is Nick, Kim's date, but Kim helps him escape by thwacking the masked murderer with an axe. She takes off the mask, revealing the killer to be Alex. It turns out that he witnessed Robin's death as a child. He dies in Kim's arms.
A sequel in name only, this film takes the series on a supernatural turn. In 1957, wannabe prom queen Mary Lou Maloney is accidentally killed when a prank by her boyfriend Billy goes awry before she has a chance to win her crown. Thirty years later, a mousy girl named Vicki uncovers Mary Lou's prom gear and becomes possessed, transforming her into the bad girl Mary Lou was. Mary Lou's spirit pushes Vicki to run for prom queen and kill anyone who gets in the way. Billy (Michael Ironside), now the principal, realizes what's happening -- as does his son Craig, who's dating Vicki. At the prom, Mary Lou opens a portal to Hell and attempts to send Craig through, so Billy gives her the crown. Appeased, Mary Lou vanishes, leaving Vicki behind.
This campy edition ratchets up the comedy, as Mary Lou escapes from Hell and returns to Hamilton High, where she seduces a student named Alex. At first, the sex is great, and he benefits when Mary Lou manipulates his grades and even helps him become a football star. But things get weird when she begins killing anyone who gives him a hard time. Alex dumps her to return to his girlfriend Sarah, so Mary Lou plots to kill her at prom. Alex makes a deal that he'll willingly go to Hell with her if she leaves Sarah alone. The two descend into Hell, but Sarah follows and rescues Alex, running Mary Lou over in a car. Just when they think they've escaped, though, Mary Lou kills Sarah, leaving Alex trapped in the 1950s as some sort of ghost.
Returning to its slasher roots, this film abandons the Mary Lou plot (and humor). Apparently, prom night at Hamilton High in 1957 wasn't just the site of Mary Lou's demise, but there was also a psycho priest named Jonas who killed two fornicating students. Fellow priests locked him in the basement of a church, keeping him in a drug-induced coma for over 30 years, but in 1991, a neglectful priest fails to dose Jonas properly, and the madman escapes. Jonas heads to his old seminary, which is now a vacation home where four teens are partying on -- yup -- prom night. The priest kills all but the religious Meagan, who shoots him and locks him in a burning shed. As the movie ends, however, Jonas' charred body awakens in the back of an ambulance.
After obsessed teacher Mr. Fenton (Johnathon Schaech) kills her family and is thrown into a mental institution, Donna (Brittany Snow) moves in with her aunt and uncle halfway across the country. Three years later, Fenton breaks out of the asylum and finds his way back to Donna as she prepares for prom. He infiltrates the hotel in which the prom is being held and kills her friends one by one as he tries to get some "alone time" with Donna. She escapes Fenton at the hotel, but he tracks her to her new home, where he grabs her in a closet. She manages to jump out of the closet, and when he follows, police detective Winn (Idris Elba) shoots him dead.