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High School Turns Hellish in These Prom Night Horror Films

A killer night to remember.

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  • Photo Credit: Gunpowder & Sky

Prom is idealized as a magical night we’ll always remember. But considering it’s often held in a school gym, supervised by high school teachers, and catalyzed by the height of adolescent angst, magical is not exactly how many of us remember it. Maybe that’s why it's such a cathartic setting for a bloody horror movie. Films in which the Prom King gets decapitated, or a Prom Queen goes on a murderous rampage are often oh-so-satisfying. We cringed through all the awkward teenage moments and found seven of the best prom night horror films.

Related: Top 10 Stephen King Adaptations in the Last 20 Years

Carrie (1976, 2013)

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  • Photo Credit: United Artists

Based on the Stephen King novel by the same name, Carrie is considered one of the most iconic horror movies of all time by many. The movie centers around sixteen-year-old Carrie (Sissy Spacek) who is bullied by the girls at school and abused by her zealot mother at home. When the girls decide to play a cruel prank on prom night, she loses control of her telekinetic powers and goes on a rampage of revenge. The film has a bloody, explosive ending and is rich with themes of bullying and violence that still resonate today.

Prom Night (1980)

Prom Night
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  • Photo Credit: Astral Films

When they were ten years old, four kids caused a tragic accident that killed a little girl. They covered it up, believing no one saw what happened. Now, six years later, on the anniversary of her death, they each get anonymous threatening phone calls as they’re getting ready for prom. A masked figure stalks them throughout the night, hunting them down one-by-one. This movie launched multiple sequels and has gained cult status with horror fans.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Jennifer's Body
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  • Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

After attending a concert at a local dive bar, Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) shows up at her best friend Needy’s house (Amanda Seyfried) vomiting back bile and covered in blood. When Jennifer’s dates start to go missing and she frequently shows up covered in blood, Needy realizes something isn’t quite adding up. But discovering your best friend is possessed by a demon and killing her are two different things. She has one chance to get her, on the way to prom. Jennifer’s Body is a dark comedy horror film that will make you cringe as much as if you had to go back and attend an actual prom—again.

Related: Jennifer's Body May Have Been Inspired By This Real-Life Murder

The Loved Ones (2009)

The Loved Ones
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  • Photo Credit: Screen Australia

When high school student Brent’s (Xavier Samuel) dad dies, fellow classmate Lola (Robin McLeavy) becomes obsessed with him. She asks him to prom, but he already has a girlfriend (Victoria Thaine), so he turns her down. But as he’s on his way, he gets attacked and blacks out, only to wake up tied down in a terrifying version of a prom he can’t escape. The Loved Ones is a fast-paced movie that blends the conventions of teen movies with the popular horror tropes with surprising twists.

Tragedy Girls (2017)

Tragedy Girls
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  • Photo Credit: Gunpowder & Sky

McKayla Hooper (Alexandra Shipp) and Sadie Cunningham (Brianna Hildebrand) have a true crime blog that they’ll do anything to get more followers. When they lure a serial killer to their town, they use him to murder anyone standing in their way. As the bodies quickly add up, the girls plan their grand finale at their Senior prom. Tragedy Girls has everything horror fans love. Plenty of blood. Razor-sharp humor. Social commentary that doesn’t bludgeon you over the head. And a tightly woven plot filled with visceral moments of complete and abject terror.

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Dance of the Dead
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  • Photo Credit: Ghost House Pictures

The last thing the students at a Georgia high school prom expect is a bunch of corpses from the graveyard next door to descend on the festivities. But that’s exactly what happens. And the only people who can save them are the misfit outcasts who didn’t go to prom because they couldn’t get dates. A fast, funny, and incredibly gory movie, Dance of the Dead is wildly fun.

Related: Growing Pains, Growing Terror: 11 Best Teen Horror Movies 

Night of the Creeps (1986)

Night of the Creeps
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  • Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures

When two pledges (Jason Lively and Steve Marshall) steal a corpse from the university cryo freezer, they accidentally unleash alien slugs who turn people into ravenous zombies. They try to clean up their mistake, but no one believes them until the undead bodies start showing up and trying to eat the college campus alive. It all escalates on the night of the formal dance, when instead of tearing up the dance floor, they’re fighting for their lives. Night of the Creeps is a weird mash-up of aliens and zombies that is a beautiful homage to 1980’s B-horror films. There’s gore, special effects that still hold up, and plenty of scares.

Featured image from "Tragedy Girls" via Gunpowder & Sky.