We had lots of differing opinions on the dystopian style Face-Off
from two weeks ago, which had Doomsday easily besting The Book of Eli. Mr. Eli actually had some supporters with one even accusing me of selecting categories that favored only Doomsday. Not sure exactly how that works when some of the categories consisted of basic apocalyptic tropes such as "Wasteland" and "Hero", but hey, peeps have gots their happy opinions!
Today's Face-Off finds us on the cusp of the summer season and as the temps heat up and the kiddies get crazy, we decided to pit a pair of surprisingly similar-themed fright flicks up against each other. Both take place right around the start of summertime and feature teens with a secret past being targeted with terror! I say we let the fireworks begin! It's time to get hooked on Prom Night Vs. I Know What You Did Last Summer!
Five young kids are playing a hide and seek game in a large, abandoned building. Up on the highest floor, four of them begin teasing Robin, who becomes nervous and unsure. She gets backed up against a broken window and accidentally falls through to her death. Realizing what they've done, the four kids run off and vow never to tell anyone what happened.
Four recent high school grads are celebrating on the fourth of July. While driving home on a dark, desolate road, they hit a man and supposedly kill him. Rather than calling the authoritites and fearing for their futures, they decide to dump the body in the ocean and let the current take care of it. The four vow to never speak of what happened again.
Because it came out right around the dawn of the slasher movie, Prom Night has a nicely creepy, early 80's suspense vibe. Nothing is rushed or blown out of proportion. The stalk scenes are perfectly crafted and benefit from an eerie score that utilizes a collection of musical chords that provides a continuous spine tingling sense. The masked killer also speaks in an ominous whisper.
At least Jim Gillespie directed I Know What You Did with a sense of suspenseful style as opposed to just going through the motions. There is a nice use of shadows and lighting and even smoke whenever the Fisherman is stalking his prey. However for an R-rated flick, the scares come up a little disappointing and don't really make you jump that much.
Prom Night is lucky enough to have the number one scream queen in its pocket. This was Jaime Lee Curtis right in the midst of her scream queen revolution and delivering some amazing work. She definitely anchors the film wonderfully. Her portrayal of a pretty, popular, yet grounded high school senior is spot on. And man, can that woman swing an axe!
Jennifer Love Hewitt actually makes for a pretty spot-on scream queen. Her hotness is toned down a bit, which was a smart, plot-driven device. She does a great job shrieking with fear as that shiny hook is bearing down on her. There is definitely a true vulnerability about her that works in the flick's favor. She also has quite the set of pipes!
The masked baddie of Prom is a master at carrying out vengeance. First, he gives his future victims a foreboding phone call to lightly rattle their nerves. He then launches a full scale master class in stalk and slay. No one sees him coming and no one can escape his sharp blade. His head-to-toe black garb fits nicely with his shadowy persona.
Okay, I'm going to say it: the look of the Fisherman is by now horror iconic. The black slicker, that rain hat, the boots, and that huge hook! Nobody wants that towering nightmare coming after them! He's also fantastic at f*cking with his victims whether it's leaving bodies in their trunk or cutting their hair in their sleep! And when he swings that hook, you just know the end result is gonna hurt!
After beheading silly ol' Lou onto the dance floor, the killer emerges for a little mano a mano face-off with Nick, the last of the four secret-keeping kids left. However, Nick is Jaime Lee's man, hence she lends some excellent assistance in the form of a harsh axe-swipe to the head of the killer. We are then hit with the tragic revelation that the killer was Jamie Lee's own brother! Powerful and scary!
Jennifer Love figures out who the Fisherman is, but not before he captures her on his boat and sails out to sea. Luckily, her boyfriend stowed away on board and is able to assist in setting her free. The only problem here is that the Fisherman is no longer wearing his now iconic costume. So Jennifer and her b/f are merely being chased by an old dude in a cap. Not scary! And that cheap scare in the showers at the end doesn't help.
I know what I did with this last face-off: I declared Prom Night to be the winner! Not even Jennifer Love's "hewitts" or Sarah Michelle's "gellars" were enough to upend Miss Jaime Lee Curtis! Do you agree with this outcome hook, line, and sinker? Or am I fishing in the wrong stream? Okay, enough with these dumb quips! Kindly cast your thoughts below in our bullets section! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org