Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Film Review: HELLO MARY LOU- PROM NIGHT 2 (1987, Bruce Pittman)

Stars: 4.8 of 5.
Running Time: 97 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Michael Ironside, Steve Atkinson (also appeared as young Ironside in MINDFIELD!), Lisa Schrage (FOOD OF THE GODS 2), Justin Louis (COCKTAIL, NAKED LUNCH), Wendy Lyon (ANNE OF GREEN GABLES). Music by Paul Zaza- the only returning element from the first PROM NIGHT. Written by Ron Oliver (PROM NIGHT III, GOOSEBUMPS).
Tag-line: "Mary Lou is back ... God help the students of Hamilton High." I mean, Mary Lou is 'back' in the context of this movie's narrative, sure, but she was most assuredly not a part of the first PROM NIGHT.
Best one-liner: "Places to go, people to kill!"

Well, somebody on Netflix said that anyone who gives this more than one star needs their head examined. Well, sign me up for an MRI, cause I thought this shit was fantastic. It's a Frankenstein's monster of a flick, with a CARRIE-esque narrative,

These kids have no idea what they're in for.

the morbid creativity of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and the radiant style of Dario Argento- not to mention Michael Ironside in yet another intense, cardigan-heavy role (as the principal!).

Principal Ironside. I went to the wrong high school, I guess.

Now, HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II has absolutely nothing to do with the original PROM NIGHT, which makes the decision to include a completely NEW character's name in the title that much ballsier. Mary Lou Maloney, however, completely lives up to the hype that accompanies being a title character. After being burned alive semi-accidentally by her boyfriend

(they have a dead ringer, balding kid play young Ironside in flashbacks!) at Prom Night '57, Mary Lou returns with a vengeance in '87, and with apparently God-like powers.

Her character possesses none of the customary horror villain weaknesses (i.e., fear of water, being pulled out of the dream-world), and her only motivation seems to be obtaining the title of 'Prom Queen,' so, if you happen to be in her way, get out of it- or DIE. I really respect that.

I also respect it when horror villains have their own vanity plates.

They even set it up like THE EXORCIST ("She's possessed– Linda Blairsville!"), as if Christianity has a chance of stopping Mary Lou, but an exploding Bible lets you know how that'll turn out. There's a lot of imagination at play here, and they really take advantage of the high school setting (the school itself is majestically terrifying,

and somewhat resembles the dance academy in SUSPIRIA!): amorphous blackboards, paper-cutter guillotines, spider-web volleyball nets, lockers that'll flatten you to a pulp, blood-squirting drinking fountains, cockroach-infested cafeterias, and a Macintosh Plus that shoots killer lightning. Hell, there's even an incestuous makeout session and a carousel horse with a lascivious, quivering tongue:


Ironside is phenomenal: tortured by the weight of the past,

he gets to whomp somebody unconscious with a shoe, disrupt the prom with gunfire,

Ironside grasps for the crown.

and by the end, gets to flash that fearsome, toothy smile.

Always worth the price of admission.

Just about five stars.

-Sean Gill


HK Fanatic said...

When you mentioned that the writer had done some "Goosebumps" work, I had to look him up on IMDB. Turns out he wrote two episodes of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?", one of which I vividly remember. "An amateur pet detective suspects that his mom's new boyfriend is a werewolf." :D

Now that I think think about it, if you removed the gore and nudity "Prom Night II" it might make a solid episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

I submit for the approval of the Midnight Society...

The Tale of the Haunted Prom Queen!

(or something to that effect)

Sean Gill said...

Hah! Well, as long as Ironside is still attached to the project, I support this endeavor 100%