Synopsis: When Hamilton High’s Prom Queen of 1957, Mary Lou Maloney is killed by her jilted boyfriend, she comes back for revenge 30 years later.
Stars: Lisa Schrage, Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis
Director: Bruce Pittman
Running Length: 97 minutes
TMMM Score: (5/10)
Review: I’ve always found 1987 to be a really interesting year in cinema. That was the year that Dirty Dancing became a sensation and Michael Douglas won an Oscar for Wall Street in the same year he fought off Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. The Lost Boys and The Princess Bride became cult favorites and RoboCop blasted away his first bad guys. It was also the year of random sequels to popular movies. The Living Daylights introduced a new Bond to filmgoers while Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors were frightfully fun (Jaws: The Revenge was just frightful).
When you look at Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II in comparison to the other films that were released that year, it’s not hard to see why it’s been lost among the fray. While not a particularly great film by any stretch of the imagination it still stands up as a goofy teen horror flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The only relation this has to the original 1980 Prom Night is that both films are set in Hamilton High. In fact, the original title of the movie was The Haunting of Hamiltion High…until it was renamed to the rhyme-tastic title it has now. Perhaps borrowing a page from the largely ill-advised new direction of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, this is an all new story that is best described as a Carrie meets The Grudge knockoffkinda experience.
When mean girl Mary Lou Maloney meets a fiery end after winning prom queen, it takes a good 30 years for her to come back to haunt the son of the boy that caused the accident. You’ll have to grin and bear it that the guy is now the principal of the school and that his son just happens to be taking a goody two-shoes ripe for possession to the prom. Ironside is a nice bit of casting here as the principal, playing against type as not just another villain. There’s a fair amount of overacting on his part but that’s par for the course with everything involving the movie. It’s all performed with such earnest intent that you can’t help but give credit for how firmly they all unite to work through some hokey-pokey dialogue and exposition.
Virginal good-girl Vicki (Lyon) goes to look for a dress to prom in the musty basement of her school and unleashes the spirit of Mary Lou out of an old trunk. How did she get in the trunk? Hell if I know…the movie doesn’t tell us. Anyway, pretty soon Mary Lou’s spirit has taken over Vicki, turning her into a vixen that starts to off her friends in nasty ways. Poor Lyon has to walk around naked in a locker room stalking her friend that makes a dumb move and hides in a locker (echoes of Madman were in my mind at this point). No one looks remotely high school age…another 80’s casting staple.
The whole look of the film is gauzy yet crisp…a sure sign we’re watching a movie filmed in Canada (if some of the accents didn’t already give it away). There are a few chuckles along the way as it so just so happens that Hamilton High is stocked to the rafters with gaudy 80’s fashion and hairstyles. It’s one of the most unobtrusive horror films I’ve seen lately…so much so that it begins to feel tired as it rambles to its conclusion. Director Pittman and screenwriter Ron Oliver let the action peter out too much so that by the time we arrive at the denouement of mean ole Mary Lou, we are indifferent as to who lives and who bites it.
There would be two more sequels to Prom Night, both set in Hamilton High and one featuring another tale of revenge from Mary Lou. This has always been the most interesting of the lot with its overall harmless yet oddly fun campy vibe.