Prom Night is considered to be one of the best slasher films of all time. I consider it to be exceedingly boring. Apart from the prologue, it was tough to sit through. The in-name-only sequels were commercialized cheese wheels, but dammit, at least I can throw them on at a party without killing everyone's buzz. And that's coming from a b-movie fan who recently refused to watch Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil in its entirety (I realized halfway through that I had seen it before...and hated it). The second entry in this series is a different story, a much different story.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II takes cues from Carrie and A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's 1957. Prom night. A cute, slutty brunette named Mary Lou ditches her date to make out with someone else behind the curtain. The callow, unknowing chump that she arrived with barges in on the would-be prom queen and her boytoy. This doesn't seem to bother Mary Lou, though. She just laughs it off. Incensed, the chump - let's call him Plot Device McGee - schemes to exact revenge on his ex-girlfriend. When Mary Lou is announced as the prom queen and receives her crown, he drops a firecracker onto the stage. I don't know what he thought would happen, but eventually, her dress is engulfed in flames.
Cut to the present day. You can piece the rest of this storyline together, I'm sure. Prom Night II feels like an Elm Street sequel. It's a supernatural "dead teenager" flick that sports dated fashion, campy one-liners and fantastical death sequences. Oh, and our villain is a burn victim. This time capsule of a slasher isn't too far off from The Dream Master, and it's just as entertaining. Unlike most films of this ilk, Prom Night II develops its characters before they are sent to an early grave. We learn quite a bit about the first person who dies at the hands of Mary Lou. How often does that happen? The heroine (as portrayed by Wendy Lyon) is also fleshed out. She gets naked to boot, so I guess you could say that she was fleshed out in more ways than one. I slay me!
Any downfalls? Well, the third act is dumb. I wasn't expecting a brainy slasher (oxymoron of the century), but believe it or not, the first hour hits all of the right notes without leaning on cliches. It's actually clever. As soon as Mary Lou possesses what's-her-face, Prom Night II becomes a formulaic "fast food" horror movie. It's still fun, but it loses some of its charm. Any other downfalls? Yeah, I wanted to see more of Lisa Schrage rocking the role of Mary Lou. She was awesome! I'll attract hate mail for saying this, but Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II should have been the first film of this franchise. Forget Jamie Lee Curtis. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hide under my desk.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 9:39 PM