The walk of shame. Jarv reviews Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou.
The interesting thing about Slasher movie series is that continuity is a dirty word. For example, the Leprechaun zooms around the world, stops in space and finishes up in Compton, not to mention that he has different rules and a different personality in each film. Friday the 13th bends continuity over and treats it to some special kind of loving, while Halloween does things to the character and story in the sequels that are probably illegal even in Holland. So, is it wise to expect Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou to follow any standard of continuity whatsoever, to make any sense at all, and to have even the slightest thing to do with the competent but totally dreary film that spawned it? The short answer to this question is no. The slightly longer answer is “fuck no”, and read on for the full length answer.
Man, I really, really enjoyed this film. This is colossally stupid and is, brilliantly, not a slasher film. This is a supernatural horror movie that has less than nothing to do with the original. This time out, we’re treated to a demented and angry ghost from the bowels of hell and who wants nothing more than to be crowned Prom Queen in the afterlife. This is automatically funny, but when you throw in the shenanigans on screen here, some boob to keep the kids interested, and some of the downright funniest death scenes that I’ve seen in a long time, then it’s no small exaggeration to say that Prom Night 2 is an absolute riot.
The film opens with Mary Lou in confessional in 1957. Apparently she’s been up to all sorts of naughtiness including *gasp* fornication. She’s going to confession to brag about it, and there’s no sign of repentance from her. She loves the cock and has no plans of changing, even to the extent of leaving a card with “For a good time, call Mary Lou” on it for the priest. This is not the type of girl you take home to meet your mother.
Cut to the prom itself, and Mary Lou goes with her boyfriend Billy. He’s a prizewinning moron, and gives her his letters. Before the cretin can even turn around, she’s off backstage with Bobby to share some cock and make some memories. Unsurprisingly, Billy is utterly devastated by this turn of events, and goes off to the toilet to pull his shit together. In the crapper, he finds a stink bomb that some miscreants were going to throw on the newly crowned queen. So, Mary Lou gets crowned and Billy nails her with the stink bomb. Up she goes like a fucking Catherine Wheel and cue opening credits. Now, if you’re thinking that sounds familiar, that’s because, again, they’ve lifted it from Carrie. Which is fair enough, because you may as well steal from the best.
In the present, Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon) wants to go to prom. Unfortunately, she can’t afford a dress, and her mum is some sort of religious nut-job so won’t buy her one. Anyhoo, good old Vicki is rooting around in the cupboard and finds Mary Lou’s old Prom Stuff. Vicki is then possessed, the teens die in hilarious incidents, and Billy (Michael Ironside) sacrifices himself to appease Mary Lou and save his son Craig who was dating Vicki. Or has he…
This film is an absolute fucking blast. It’s stuffed full of things to like and things to admire. One little joke, that speaks volumes about how well crafted this is for a horror sequel is that all the character names bar the Nordham’s come from famous Horror and schlock directors, so we’ve got Browning, Carpenter, Hennenlotter, Waters, Hooper, Craven and more appearing as character surnames. I realised this about three-quarters of the way through with Hennenlotter, and couldn’t stop laughing afterwards.
Even leaving aside the comedy inherent in in-jokes such as these, there’s a lot to admire on a basic fun level. Bruce Pittman was working on Ron Oliver’s script, and he really throws the kitchen sink at this one. There’s any excuse to take Wendy Lyon’s top off, and almost all of the actors show a willingness to debase themselves on command. I particularly like the exchange between Kelly Hennenlotter (Terri Hawkes) and Josh about rigging the voting system for a blowjob which is exactly the sort of thing a computer nerd would do. Kelly wiping her mouth with a look of disgust says it all.
Which brings me round to the acting. Hawkes is good as Kelly, and DO THE CUNT IRONSIDE doesn’t do any cunt at all, but puts in a solid turn. However, Lyon is absolutely superb as Vicki, and is clearly having a blast here, and the possession scene where she’s pulled through the blackboard is in and of itself hilarious. This is a great scream queen turn, and I’m almost inspired to go and find more she’s been in. Lisa Schrage, who plays the titular ghost with PMS, is also on fine form. She’s one cackle away from being locked in an oven, and yet is strangely sexy (in a really trashy sort of way). The male leads in this film are all, Ironside excepted, planks, but that’s not the point.
I’ve mentioned above that Prom Night 2 references Carrie, and if you’ve read that plot analysis, it isn’t hard to spot what else it’s stolen from. This is basically a good version of the plot of Nightmare on Elm St. 2 with a whole load of other fun thrown in for shits and giggles. However, it’s in the death sequences where the film really goes to town on the references. Vicki defenestrates her friend Jess, and the scene visually reminded me of the child’s death in the first film. Some, such as the electrocution of Josh, look awfully familiar to me, but I can’t quite place where from (I think Lifeforce, see below). It’s a hodgepodge of stolen plot points, references both textual and visual, and if handled with less of a sense of fun would be both smug and obnoxious.
Yet Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou is fun. Great fun, actually, and miles better than the lacklustre original. This would have made a worthy schlock vault entry in its own right, but as part of a series that should, almost by definition, fuck off for being an utterly mediocre slasher series, I applaud the inventiveness and downright chutzpah of everyone involved here. This is big, brash and gaudy film-making and it’s made with such a sense of fun that I can safely say that Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou is a supreme example of trash cinema, and one of the funnier sequels out there to any horror series.
Overall, yup, I recommend this. I actually recommend this a lot. Prom Night 2: Hello Mary Lou has the added bonus of having nothing at all to do with Prom Night one, so you can just ignore that and skip straight on to the fun and games with Hell’s own Prom Queen. I give this genuine surprise 3 dumpster babies out of a possible 4, and this is a great drunken movie. Not to mention the life-threatening drinking game where you have to down the pint every time someone spots a film reference.
Until next time when Mary Lou is back with a bang,