Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II 1987
Director: Bruce Pittman
Writer: Ron Oliver
Starring Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis, Lisa Schrage, Richard Monette, Terri Hawkes, Brock Simpson, Beverly Hendry, Wendy Smith and Judy Mahbey

The original Prom Night is one of my most hated horror films as I find it unflinchingly boring. But, Hello Mary Lou is a pleasant surprise. This is a fun and gory little horror film that really works on all cylinders. It is a film that combines elements from Carrie and the Exorcist and does it really well. It creates a really creative and fun horror film with some great gore and some great T and A footage. The film has a great cast that is spearheaded by the always intense Michael Ironside. Lyons is quite good too, as she is able to go from the nice girl to the evil queen bitch at a drop of the hat. She is also very sexual at times and that's what makes her performance really shine and makes the film work. This is also film that was made when the Nightmare On Elm Street series was at the height of it's popularity and it shows in many of the elements of the film, such as the locker attack scene during the middle of the film. You could change just a few things and it would fit easily into one of those films. That is probably another reason the film works so well, it has a great villain that you love to hate.
The plot basics are this, in 1957 at the Hamilton High senior prom Mary Lou Maloney (Schrage) is about to be enshrined as the prom queen when a accident caused by her boyfriend Bill Nordham (Ironside) when he discovers her illicit tryst with another classmate and the accident kills her in a horrible burning accident. We flash forward to 1987 where Bill is now the principal of the high school and Vicki Carpenter (Lyon) is getting ready for the senior prom. She finds some relics from the 1957 prom and they are imbued with the malignant spirit of Mary Lou Maloney. Soon, Vicki becomes possessed by the spirit of Mary Lou and she begins to get ready for the prom and to finally take her crown that was denied her so many years ago. Vicki becomes focused and anyone who gets in her way may not live long if they bother her. It is up to Bill and his son Craig (Louis), who is dating Vicki to stop Mary Lou's reign of terror and somehow save Vicki.
This is a fun little horror film. The direction by Pittman is very well done. He has a self assured feel for what works in a horror film and it shows. The best example of that is the locker scene which uses suspense and terror very well along with some exploitative nudity. It all comes together and makes up the most memorable scene in the film. The script is very good too. It balances vengeful spirits with body possession excellently. The characters are very well balanced too, the character of Bill Mordant is a great character with his own strengths and weaknesses that really come into play during the story. The evil modus operandi of Mary Lou is quite fun and hypnotic to watch too. The cast is excellent. Ironside is magnetic and intense as the troubled principal who is trying to hide what he did in the past to his son. Lyon is great at doing a split personality and she really pulls it off well. While Schrage as Mary Lou is unrepentantly evil and you can tell she enjoys it. The SFX and effects in the film are expertly done. The locker room squish and the death of Mary Lou are 2 of the best examples of the effects that are done so well in the film. The soundtrack of the film really accentuates the film too. I loved how right before Mary Lou showed up you would hear the Buddy Holly song "Hello Mary Lou". This is one of the best 80's horror films and one well worth seeing if you have not seen it yet.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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