JULY 26, 2008
What is it about the Prom Night movies that results in me never watching them at home? The first one was watched at a friend’s house during Christmas vacation, and now Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II was watched in my hotel room during Comic Con. I suspect part III will be seen on a plane and IV maybe just on my Ipod. And like last time, the presentation wasn’t the best; my friend’s TV had a loose connection for the video wire, resulting in a fuzzy image on the original, and since I forgot to bring a remote for the DVD player, I watched II with the subtitles on the entire time.
Of course, that wasn’t too bad of a deal, the subs were pretty funny at times. Not only were they out of sync, but they also had a lot of misspelled words. My favorite was when a classroom erupts in laughter and subs inform us that the teacher is asking them to keep it to a “ball roar”. There’s another instance where the work “jerk” is given a capital letter, as if it was a proper noun. As someone who uses the term much more than the average man (talk to me for five minutes, I guarantee I’ll call someone or something a jerk), this amused me greatly. Also, whenever someone says “hmmm” the subs spell it “hum.” This must annoy the deaf viewers, because there are also instances of people legitimately humming. I hope they know the difference.
I actually like this one more than the original. Not hard, I don’t really like the original at all. But this one (which has nothing to do with the original) is more mean-spirited, a bit weird at times, and has a far more memorable antagonist. Oh and a better soundtrack. Apparently they spent all their money on licensing old 50s tunes (and Michael Ironside!), so while some stuff looks cheap, at least you get to hear genuine “oldies” during the flashback sequences (plus the title song plays throughout).
Of course, it suffers from some of the same problems as the original. It takes even LONGER to get to the goddamn prom, and there is very little suspense to any of the kill scenes. Also, I don’t care much when a sequel has zero connection to the original. Halloween III is valid because that was the intention (it doesn’t even take place in the same universe), but why not at least have a throwaway reference to the events of the first film? The only thing they do is give the school the same name (Hamilton High), but if it’s supposed to be the same one, they don’t mention it (you’d think someone would be like “We really should consider not having a prom here anymore”). And maybe then it was a new thing, but I am sick of movies with all of the characters named after horror directors. We have Carpenter, Craven, Browning, even Hennenlotter here, though the main guy’s name is Nordham, a name not a single person on the IMDb has. If your last name is Nordham and you have directed a horror movie, please let me know, otherwise I consider this a really lame error.
Otherwise, it’s a fun little movie. As I mentioned, it’s a bit weird. At one point, the possessed Vicki strips down (full frontal alert!) and begins fondling her also naked friend in the locker room. Then she makes out with her dad, who doesn’t seem to mind much (he also seemingly doesn’t care when she kills her mom – his wife! – a few minutes later). The weirdness extends to some of the setpieces as well. Early on, the heroine (before she is really full on possessed) is terrorized by her toy horse (which talks), and there’s a sort of exorcism scene where the priest says “the body of Christ compels you!” (being at Con, terrorized by “Sexy Jesus’” from Hamlet 2 on every corner, this bit really resonated).
There’s also one of the most baffling kills I’ve ever seen in a movie. Possessed Vicki grabs a large power cord in one room, which make a guy at a computer in a completely different room get electrocuted by those blue electric sparks that only appear in late 80s horror movies. How the hell did she manage that?
Also, she kills most of the movie’s sympathetic characters over the course of like 10-15 minutes, which is pretty awesome. And even though there is a bitchy rival character, she has the least malicious death scene. The movie even has a girl confess she is pregnant moments before being horribly killed! It’s not as excessive as say, Silent Night Deadly Night, but the movie’s mean streak is surprising and (obviously) appreciated.
Ironside is a bit dull here though, sadly. He’s playing the principal, and apart from yelling at his son a bit, he’s mostly playing a pretty meek dude. Why cast one of the most legendary hardasses of all time and then not give him anything to do? I’m all for casting against type, but for some actors it’s just not the right thing to do. I like my Ironside to be angry, lecherous, shooting 3 titted hookers in the back, etc. He’s not the only familiar face though; Saw IV and Dawn 04’s Justin Louis plays the male lead, and it’s kind of sad that he got big roles like this earlier in his career, whereas now his characters are often obvious fodder.
The DVD is pretty cheap, often less than 10 bucks. Unfortunately, it’s also featureless, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to watch this movie more than once or twice. But it’s certainly worth a look either way.
What say you?