Here it is. Prom Night. The film that gave rise to one of the best horror titles of all time--Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II. That's very clever. But, the October Horrorshow won't be covering that flick, just yet. First, we have to go over the progenitor.
Prom Night, written by William Gray and Robert Guza, Jr., and directed by Paul Lynch, is another of the batch of films Jamie Lee Curtis starred in that cemented her reputation in the late 70s and 80s as a scream queen. Of the five, she screams the least in this one, but that's because, for once, no one seems to be trying to kill her. It's very weird, in fact, to see Jamie Lee Curtis in a horror flick and she's not the protagonist. Or, wait, she is. But only because no one else fits the bill. She survives until the very end, sure, but she's not in any danger.

Sometimes a movie tries to be an epic, but has a hard time shaking off its b-movie stink. Such is the case with Lifeforce, the 1985 sci-fi/horror film from director Tobe Hooper and writers Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby. The film opens with a bombastic score composed by Henry Mancini, in quite a departure from the type of music cinema buffs would associate with him. The camera flies over and endless asteroid that looks plucked from the long, dichromatic shots that Stanley Kubrick filmed for 2001. What follows is a quick introductory voiceover that takes care of all the backstory and character development. Viewers are told of the mission of the HMS Churchill, a joint American/British space shuttle mission tasked with exploring Halley's Comet upon its dodranscentennial approach to the earth. 

The lore surrounding ghosts is no less extensive and esoteric than in any other fantasy that human beings engage in. Googling "ghost types" garners about 30 million hits for me, but only because Google thinks I was looking for something about Pokemon. Going a bit more formal with the language and googling "types of ghosts" leads to about 11 million hits. Hardly any more manageable, but at least this time Google hasn't confused my search with a videogame. Many pages detail the physical characteristics, categorizing spectral apparitions as orbs, vapors, mists, shadows, rods of light, even corkscrews. There are lists which deal with animal ghosts. Strangely appealing are object ghosts, like ships or cars, supposedly manifestations of intense energy emitted by their passengers. There is a lot of information out there in the real world for anyone curious enough to look.

For about four years in the late 70s and early 80s, Jamie Lee Curtis had a hell of a run as a scream queen. During that time, she starred in four slasher flicks, and was part of an ensemble cast in another. Audiences in those days must have grown familiar with her piercing, oddly resonant, terrified wail. Whether she was fleeing a maniac in a William Shatner mask, evading the vengeful spirits of dead lepers, or, in today's film, fighting off a costumed murderer aboard a moving train, her howling gusts are an integral part of the soundtrack. She was perfect for the roles she played. Always playing the survivor, she had youth, attractiveness, and innocence touched with enough sexuality to make her someone all the males in the audience would want to save. Only, she didn't need it. For a time, there, she seemed to be the hardest person in Hollywood to kill. It's a living, I guess.

Being a fan of shitty movies can be taxing. For one thing, not all shitty movies are alike. There are good shitty movies and bad shitty movies. But, since we're not dealing with quality, the bad far outweighs the good. For every Commando there are about fifty Ghosts of Georgia. It's almost like watching sports, in that regard. A hardcore sports fan will sit through game after game, investing vast amounts of time waiting for the handful of games in a season that are memorable. That's what I do a couple of times a week, only with movies. I sit down, hoping to be entertained, but most of the time, I'm treated to a festival of bores. Not today.