Tag Archives: Prom Night

Fright Club: Best Dance Sequences in Horror

Who’d have guessed that deep inside the most notorious genre in film beats the heart of a dancer? Well, we guessed. You can’t hide your sensitive soul from us! We are here to admire your dancer’s heart and your boogie shoes as we count down the 5 best dance scenes in horror movies!

5. Prom Night (1980)

Saturday Night Fever meets Carrie in this high school slasher that’s utterly preoccupied with disco and Jamie Lee Curtis’s boobs. Who isn’t?! See it for the super-colossal dance-off. Go Jamie Lee and Jamie Lee’s thumbs, go! Is that Leslie Nielsen? Who brought all that glitter? And who’s the killer? Is it the pervy janitor? The disfigured escaped mental patient? The vindictive ex and her hoodlum new boyfriend? It all builds to a bloodbath on prom night, so just go with it and boogie down!

4. Night of the Demons (1988)

Do not be confused – Night of the Demons is not exactly recommended viewing. It’s terrible. Once you get past its dirt-cheap sets and TV-level staging, you’ll notice that Night of the Demons boasts among the most stilted and cardboard dialogue of any film from the Aquanet decade. But Angela (Amelia “Mimi” Kinkade) looks cool. Every goth chick – Fairuza Balk’s Nancy Downs from The Craft in particular – owes Angela a little respect. And professional dancer Kinkade does the demonic transformation justice. The acting is atrocious – all of it – but the film boasts a campy, nostalgic, oh-so-80s quality, and we never disagree with Bauhaus on a soundtrack.

3. Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The film has a lot to boast about. 1) It’s the first film to have zombies moan for braaaaiiiinnnnssss. 2) It’s a funny and clever twist on Romero’s foundation. 3) Eighties scream queen Linnea Quigley dons a ridiculous Eighties punk ‘do to dance nearly naked in a cemetery. Artistry among the headstones. So that’s the point today – wearing nothing but legwarmers and a wistful gaze, Quigley makes the film truly memorable.


2. Calvaire (2004)

This is a weird film from the opening credits, but it takes a sharp turn toward seriously bizarre inside the local pub. As soon as those first piano keys slam and tinkle and those first boots stomp, slide and try to keep time, a whole new narrative takes shape. Things becomes clear in a way that you just don’t want them to, and we know that poor, poor Marc (Laurent Lucas) should not hope the townsfolk will be his salvation.

1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Oh, Jame Gumm. Even after 30 years, your transformation to the tune of the Q Lazzarus song Goodbye Horses is still equal parts compelling and repellant. Ted Levine evolves from hulking, inarticulate caveman to slinking sex pot – sure, a sexpot with another woman’s scalp atop his head, but he’s doing his best! And let’s be honest, you forget all about that other scalp once you witness the Buffalo Bill Skin It Back.


Fright Club: Horror at the High School Dance

Love is in the air! And it smells a lot like prom. If you thought your own prom was a dud – crap DJ, your date was grounded, your date wore corduroy, unplanned pregnancy, what have you – well, here’s a list of five high school dances that made yours look like an absolute joy. You know what we’ve learned from looking into this topic? It’s always fun to see someone die on prom night.

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5. Prom Night (1980)

Saturday Night Fever meets Carrie in this high school slasher that’s utterly preoccupied with disco and Jamie Lee Curtis’s boobs. Who isn’t?!

You’ll find red herrings and Seventies cop drama in a plot that, as Scream later points out, became the framework for countless films to follow. But Prom Night did it first. It did it really sloppily, but man did it bring its boogie shoes.

Who’s the killer? Is it the pervy janitor? The disfigured escaped mental patient? The vindictive ex and her hoodlum new boyfriend? It all builds to a bloodbath on prom night, so boogie down!

See it for the super-colossal dance-off. Go Jamie Lee and Jamie Lee’s thumbs, go! Is that Leslie Nielsen? Who brought that glitter?

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Joss Whedon may have gotten more miles and more artistic satisfaction from the TV series, but what he did not have was Paul Reubens. Or Rutger Hauer, for that matter. How did he think that would work?

Back in ’92, Hauer and Reubens played vampires (thank you!) bent on draining a California town, but one superficial mean girl at the local high school happens to be the Chosen One, the Slayer, or so says Donald Sutherland, and it generally seems like a fine idea to listen to him. Kristy Swanson then flirts with Luke Perry while training to stake some bloodsuckers.

Swanson is joined by Ben Affleck and Hilary Swank as vacuous teens in a highly dated but no less fun horror comedy. The film may be too campy for Whedon’s taste, but anytime you crown Rutger Hauer prom king, you can count us in.

3. Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)

“Do you know what’s cooler than cool? Scouting!”

OK, maybe not, but Boy Scouts are exactly the people you need on your zombie survival team. Who doesn’t know that? They know how to tie knots properly, they can forage, find their way around in the woods, and they’re handy. They’re prepared. Duh.

Director Christopher Landon, working with a team of writers, puts this wickedly logical premise into action with his bloody horror comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.

This is not a family film, though – make no mistake. This is definitely an R-rated movie, but for all its juvenile preoccupations and vulgar body horror, a childlike sweetness runs through it that keeps it forever fun to watch.

Cleverly written, directed with a keen eye toward detail and pacing, brimming with laughs, gore, friendship, and dismembered appendages – but utterly lacking in cynicism or irony – it’s a blast of a film with a lot to offer.


2. Carrie (1976)

The seminal film about teen angst and high school carnage has to be Brian De Palma’s 1976 landmark adaptation of Stephen King’s first full length novel, the tale of an unpopular teenager who marks the arrival of her period by suddenly embracing her psychic powers.

Sissy Spacek is the perfect balance of freckle-faced vulnerability and awed vengeance. Her simpleton characterization would have been overdone were it not for Piper Laurie’s glorious evil zeal as her religious wacko mother. It’s easy to believe this particular mother could have successfully smothered a daughter into Carrie’s stupor.

One ugly trick at the prom involving a bucket of cow’s blood, and Carrie’s psycho switch is flipped. Spacek’s blood drenched Gloria Swanson on the stage conducting the carnage is perfectly over-the-top. And after all the mean kids get their comeuppance, Carrie returns home to the real horror show.

1. The Loved Ones (2009)

Writer/director/Tasmanian Sean Byrne upends high school clichés and deftly maneuvers between angsty, gritty drama and neon pink carnage in a story that borrows from other horror flicks but absolutely tells its own story.

Brent (Xavier Samuel) is dealing with guilt and tragedy in his own way, and his girlfriend Holly tries to be patient with him. Oblivious to all this, Lola (a gloriously wrong-minded Robin McLeavy) asks Brent to the end of school dance. He politely declines, which proves to be probably a poor decision.

Byrne quietly crafts an atmosphere of loss and depression in and around the school without painting the troubles cleanly. This slow reveal pulls the tale together and elevates it above a simple work of outrageous violence.

Inside Lola’s house, the mood is decidedly different. Here, we’re privy to the weirdest, darkest image of a spoiled princess and her daddy. The daddy/daughter bonding over power tool related tasks is – well – I’m not sure touching is the right word for it.

The Loved Ones is a cleverly written, unique piece of filmmaking that benefits from McLeavy’s inspired performance as much as it does its filmmaker’s sly handling of subject matter.


This Week’s Countdown is Off Like a Prom Dress

It’s  almost May…what’s that I smell? Lilacs? Goose poop? Fresh spring roadkill? Nope, it’s that similar fragrance mashup of boutonnieres, hair spray, and desperation that equals prom.

Let’s all relive our own prom anxieties while the kids struggle through their real-life horror, shall we?


Carrie (1976)

Yes! Best prom movie ever! Sure, it opens like a ‘70s soft core porno with images created by a director who has clearly never been in a girls’ locker room. But as soon as that bloody stream punctures the dreamlike shower sequence, we witness the definitive moment in mean girl cinema.

No, Senior Prom, or “Love Among the Stars,” doesn’t go as well as it might have for poor Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) and her classmates. Contrite Sue Snell (Amy Irving), who’d given up her own prom so boyfriend Tommy (William Katt, sporting an awe inspiring ‘fro) could accompany Carrie, sneaks in to witness her own good deed. Unfortunately for Sue, the strict rules of horror cinema demand that outcasts remain outcasts. Sure, Sue shouldn’t have been mean to Carrie in the first place, but being nice was the big mistake. Only bad things would follow.

Quote: They’re all going to laugh at you.


Prom Night (1980)

This bland Jamie Lee Curtis slasher crystalized a formula that would be mimicked (often more successfully) for decades. Open with a flashback, turn it into a secret kept among a handful of friends, flash forward to one big event these friends are planning, nightmare resurfaces and red herrings await.

But that’s not the reason to see Prom Night. See it for the super-colossal dance floor boogie. Go Jamie Lee and Jamie Lee’s thumbs, go! Is that Leslie Nielsen? Who brought that glitter? It’s always fun to see someone die on prom night.

Quote: It’s not who you go with, honey. It’s who takes you home.



Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

No one rocks a brown corduroy suit at a formal dance like my husband, but Napoleon Dynamite comes in second. And what about Deb’s awesome sleeves? That’s a styling couple.

Kip may have found his soul mate, but poor Napoleon’s still swimming the tepid pool of young love, llama food, best friends, delusional uncles, ailing grandmas, and sweet moves. Thank God for it.

Quote: I like your sleeves.


Grease (1978)

Poodle skirt to hot pants, that’s the transformation at the heart of this generation-pleaser. Did Sandy (Olivia Newton John) have a yeast infection by the time she got those pants off? Well, of course she did, but it was worth it to call John Travolta a stud and do a frisky dance in the Shake Shack.

Let’s not forget the prom, though. Cha Cha DiGregorio (the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s…with the worst reputation!) might have planned to dump Kenickie and steal Danny (Travolta) away from the fair and timid Sandy, but she did not know the hygienically questionable lengths Sandy was willing to go to keep her man.

Quote: It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes.


Footloose (1984)

See this one now, not the ridiculous remake. (How do I know it’s ridiculous? Because it’s a remake of Footloose, for Lord’s sake.)

Kevin Bacon moves to a hyper-conservative town and has to dance his way out. John Lithgow scowls. Sarah Jessica Parker looks unfashionable. Chris Penn learns to disco. Tears are shed, families are mended.

Quote: If our Lord wasn’t testing us, how would you account for the proliferation, these days, of this obscene rock and roll music, with its gospel of easy sexuality and relaxed morality?



Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Years before Sarah Michelle Gellar began her 145-episode vampire battle royale, and one year before writer Joss Whedon would pen the animated masterpiece Toy Story, Kristy Swanson joined that guy from 90210 (Luke Perry) to stake the undead at the big high school formal as the silver screen Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Bonus points for casting choices in Paul Reubens and Rutger Hauer as marauding, stinky vampires. Additional points for an early, non-Oscar nominated role for Hilary Swank.

Quote: All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die.


Pretty in Pink (1986)

Part 3 of the Molly Trilogy, Pretty in Pink mopes with a cool redhead (Ringwald) from the wrong side of the tracks as she stokes her anxiety about prom and its place in her existential dread.

Some claim you can learn all you need to know about a person by asking which is their favorite Beatle. I disagree. The real question: who did you root for, Blane or Duckie?

Quote:  His name is Blane?! That’s not a name, that’s a major appliance.