Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou

Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Back in 1957, bad girl Mary Lou Maloney was accidentally set ablaze at Hamilton High's prom, the victim of a prank gone wrong. Her date Bill Nordham (reliable B-movie stalwart Michael "Scanners" Ironside) had only wanted to show her up for going off with another boy.

Thirty years have passed and the incident, for which no one was ever brought to book, has all but been forgotten. Bill is now the principal of Hamilton High, with his son Craig in senior year.

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Craig's girlfriend Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon, eerily reminiscent of Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith) unwittingly unleashes the spirit of Mary Lou that takes possession of her and goes in search of revenge...

As the liner notes to this 1987 horror reveal, it was originally released as The Haunting Of Hamilton High, then opportunistically rebaptised with the Prom Night II label as a means of tying it in with the Jamie Lee Curtis/Leslie Nielsen sub-Halloween slasher from 1980, with both productions inexplicably using the Hamilton High name.

While there's a hide-in-the-locker moment that perhaps recalls Carpenter's film, Prom Night II's main influences lie elsewhere, in the form of Carrie, The Exorcist and A Nightmare On Elm Street.

The filmmakers make no attempt to disguise this, instead shouting it out loud by having the local priest - the only other person who knows the truth of Mary Lou's death - attempt a "power of Christ compels you" exorcism and, in a more subtle in-joke way, naming the characters after genre directors (Carpenter, Henenlotter, Craven, etc) in the manner of Joe Dante's The Howling.

The result is a film that, even if never reaching the levels of the better of its inspirations and not really bringing anything new to the party, nevertheless delivers the schlock goods.

The effects, while necessarily cheap, cheerful and not up to contemporary standards are nevertheless satisfactory for the most part, with Vicki's possessed rocking horse a particular stand out.

The shocks and gore are likewise decent for an R-rated entry from a time when the censors were less forgiving than now, with the filmmakers even including some pleasingly gratuitous (female) nudity by way of mitigation for the obligatory Eighties fashion crimes.

Reviewed on: 15 Sep 2005
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Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou packshot
A tale of accidental death, possession and ghostly revenge.
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Director: Bruce Pittman

Writer: Ron Oliver

Starring: Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis, Lisa Schrage, Richard Monette, Terri Hawkes, Brock Simpson, Beverly Hendry

Year: 1987

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada


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