Get in the Mood for EMP’s Fashionably Undead Prom: “Under the Sea,” October 22

Posted on October 19, 2016, 12:43 pm
6 mins


The time has come once again for Experience Music Project to host their annual Fashionably Undead Prom. This year’s theme, “Under the Sea” invokes all kinds of abyssal horrors.

Along with a live DJ, entertainment at Fashionably Undead Prom includes a live set from retro-pop diva, Prom Queen. Guests can get a ’60s style pompadour from the Bowie salon and take a picture of it at the photo booth. For munchies, try out some pizza from Wicked Pies. Plus, what prom would be complete without a little spiked punch?

As an added bonus, your prom ticket includes admission to one of my favorite EMP exhibits: Can’t Look Away: The Lure of the Horror Film. Highlights include Jack Torrance’s actual ax from The Shining, a scream booth and all sorts of other ghastly surprises.

The Lure of the Horror Film and my brand new 48-inch TV gave me an idea last night. In honor of EMP’s Undead Prom, why not watch Jamie Lee Curtis‘s 1980 horror film Prom Night?

I’m not saying you should watch it. But as an early entry to the high-school slasher genre, it might give one a little inspiration.

Prom Night (1980) 

Prom Night

My new TV! Also, Prom Night.

The film begins with a gang of psychotic pre-teens playing an unsupervised version of hide-and-seek. The game comes to an abrupt end when their taunting chants of “killer!” drive a girl out a third story window. Director Paul Lynch lays it on thick when a shattered piece of glass follows her down and slits her throat.

“Let’s never talk about this again,” the most psychotic child of the bunch says, and the others glumly agree. (Most critics said the same thing when it was released, but it still went on to become Canada’s highest grossing film in 1980.)

Cut to six years later: The playmates are all grown up and looking forward to senior prom, but the family of the fallen girl still mourns her loss. That includes Kim, whose boyfriend Nick was one of those playmates. The two of them are almost sure to be Prom Queen and King, but that isn’t just because her father is also the principal of the school. Leslie Nielsen plays the role seriously, but he is not much of a disciplinarian. Students are brazenly boozing and smoking and—get this—one of them terrorizes a female student in the cafeteria while wearing a black ski mask.

Such a fun prank…one that would put that kid would be on the FBI watch-list in 2016.

It’s a long, boring six weeks until prom night. When people start getting murdered, it’s just kind of sad and upsetting. The jerk in the ski mask from earlier is one exception. He and his buddies are trying to pull some Carrie-inspired prank when the killer decapitates him. The severed head rolls out into the horrified crowd, and prom is pretty much ruined. As for the identity of the killer…most audiences today will have guessed it in the first 20 minutes. Expect the expected.

Prom Night (2008)

“That was horrible!” I said to myself after watching it. “I better follow that up with the even worse remake. At least Idris Elba is in it.”

My condolences to Idris Elba. Neither of us should ever have gotten involved with this film.

Prom Night (2008) has an 8% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans of the original film are particularly upset with its PG-13 rating. This is a rare distinction for a slasher film, and a tad arbitrary. The remake has no severed heads or nudity, but teens are still dying at prom. It seems dishonest.

The remake’s plot has no resemblance to the original, except that its young, virginal heroine (Brittany Snow) is haunted by tragedy. Apart from seeing her mother murdered in front of her, this girl has a lot going for her. No one will ever say the latter bit about this film, in spite of the grandiose productions value of the party. It looks more like an episode of MTV’s My Super Sweet 16. The main difference is that Prom Night is less horrifying and misanthropic. In short, Prom Night is not a good film.

“Joe Lies” by Prom Queen

To end on a cheery note, here’s a song you can expect to hear from Prom Queen. You may or may not recognize the inspiration for the lyrics from Say Anything. “I wrote 63 songs last year. They’re all about Joe.” Preach on, Corey!

Fashionably Undead Prom: Under the Sea

When: Saturday, October 22, 9pm-1am

Where: EMP Museum (325 Fifth Ave N)

Tickets are $25, 21+

Molly Laich is a writer and media fan. You can find her at and and on twitter @MollyL