- Angst? What Angst?: None of the four kids show any angst at all about having participated in the Accidental Murder of a child. Nick is the only one who even references it when he's older. Hell, Jude and Kelly are best friends with the sister of the girl they killed! You have to wonder if that's why Alex targeted them.
- Awesome Music: The whole soundtrack, especially if you like disco.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: While the film itself is remembered, the girls' locker room scene where Jamie Lee Curtis's blouse is open and displaying her cleavage has been made into many a screen cap.
- Better by a Different Name: Some people view I Know What You Did Last Summer as a film that took this one's ideas and pulled them off much better. Namely the protagonists are actually affected by what they did.
- Broken Base: The film's Slow-Paced Beginning: The first half of the film is the characters going about their day, the prom doesn't happen until almost an hour in, and the killer doesn't show up until more than an hour in, with less than 30 minutes left. Some like this because the viewers get to know the characters while others dislike it for being too much of a slow burn and the characters are still cut-outs.
- Critical Dissonance: The film was savaged by critics and got low reviews. However it was popular with audiences and became a Cult Classic. Put it this way - it earned $14 million on a $1.5 million budget, and a further $6 million through video rentals.
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- Hilarious in Hindsight: This wouldnt be the last time Jamie Lee Curtis dealt with a Serial Killer who was also her brother.
- Hollywood Homely: The very cute Jude is supposedly so homely she can't get a date to the prom until Slick asks her the morning before. (In the in audio commentary included on the blu ray, the director and the screen writer actually refer to Jude as one as the "hot girls.")
- Inferred Holocaust: Kim and Alex's mother is shown to still be emotionally fragile six years after Robin's death. What's going to happen to her when she finds out her son is dead?
- Magnificent Bastard: Alex Hammond witnessed his sister Robin's death by the hands of her classmates and sought to avenge her. Calling her killers to frighten them, Alex spends most of the day gathering up supplies and gets the school bully suspended for harassing his other sister Kim. During the prom, Alex puts himself in a position to keep tabs on everyone before stalking the school corridors and grounds, killing the perpetrators one-by-one. When he kills the wrong person while trying to kill the last one, Alex moves quickly to strike again and nearly kills his target before receiving fatal injuries, then reveals his victims' crime before dying. Alex Hammond proves to be one of the most intelligent and compelling Serial Killers in the Slasher Movie genre.
- Narm: The killer doesn't wear any normal black ski mask, it has glitter all over it.
- Narm Charm:
- The dancing between Nick and Kim when Wendy arrives at the prom. Dancing Is Serious Business lends itself to Narm, coupled with the total 80s-ness of it. But that's why it's awesome - especially when Jamie Lee Curtis does a flawless back walkover.
- The entire latter half of the film, including the final fight with the killer, being set to endless disco music.
- Retroactive Recognition: B-movie action star Jeff Wincott appears in an early role as Kelly's boyfriend Drew.
- Rewatch Bonus:
- Alex's reluctance to go to the prom with Jude. Why would he want to go with someone he knows killed his sister?
- Alex taking a job as the secondary DJ. The DJs box is the highest point in the dance room, meaning that Alex has a vantage point where he can keep tabs on everyone.
- Alex attacking Lou in the cafeteria seems like My Sister Is Off-Limits! played for excessiveness. However it's Foreshadowing that Alex is not as runty as he seems, and that he has a violent side...
- Alex throws a dirty look when Lou and Wendy enter the prom. On the first watch we think he's glaring at Lou, for their fight earlier. But on the second, it's clear he's actually glaring at Wendy because he plans on killing her.
- Signature Scene:
- The dance between Kim and Nick just to annoy Wendy when she arrives at the prom is one of the most remembered scenes in the movie.
- Closely followed by the scene where the killer chases Wendy all around the school. Lasting nearly eight minutes, it's considered one of the most memorable slasher chase scenes.
- Spoiled by the Format: A potential suspect for the killer is Kim, since two of the culprits are her friend and boyfriend. But Scream told us that Jamie Lee Curtis is always the Final Girl in horror movies.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: "Love Me 'Til I Die" bears a more than striking resemblance to "I Will Survive." Indeed, the film was supposed to feature many popular disco songs, but the cost of licensing them was far too expensive for the film's budget. Peter Simpson told the film's composer to write songs similar to certain popular disco songs. When asked "how close?", he said "Close enough for them to sue us, but not close enough for them to win." They were in fact sued over the soundtrack by a record label, but they settled out of court.
- Tear Jerker:
- Robin's death. Just a poor innocent little girl who wanted to be included. And she accidentally dies when she falls out of the window. The poor girl was completely terrified too.
- Kelly's last moment with Drew is quite sad too. She backs out of sex, not wanting to and is told "if you won't, I know plenty who will" and kicks her to the curb.
- The ending where it's revealed that Alex saw Robin's death and he's the killer. He shows no pleasure from the murders and his dying moments have him wailing about his sister.
- Kim following a fatally injured Alex outside and begging the police not to shoot him, holding him in her arms as he dies, quietly crying the whole time.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Kim never finds out about the fact that one of her best friends and boyfriend killed her younger sister. It's implied that she does find out at the end but any story potential to be gotten from this is lost.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The three "sympathetic" culprits - Nick, Jude and Kelly. Despite having taken part in Robin's death (albeit accidentally) they don't show any angst about it at all six years later. Nick looks as if he might, but he's got no problem dating the sister of the girl he killed. Likewise Kelly appears to be one of Kim's best friends.
- What an Idiot!: The inciting incident that kicks off the rest of the film is a result of this. Wendy, Nick, Jude and Kelly decide to torment Robin by pretending they're going to kill her, chasing her through the building until they corner her against a window.
You'd Expect: The four to knock it off and reveal they were only playing.
Instead: They continue with the charade and force her up against the window.
The Result: Robin falls out the window to her death.
- The Woobie:
- The dorky, yet kind of cool Slick who dies merely because he's at the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Kim's mother clearly is still grieving for her daughter so many years later, and she looks so sad throughout the whole film.
- Kim. By the end of the film she's lost two siblings, one of whom she is responsible for killing defending her boyfriend after he turned out to be the murderer. And on top of that, she's got to deal with the fact her boyfriend is partly responsible for her little sister's death and never told her.
YMMV / Prom Night (1980)