FEBRUARY 9, 2009
You gotta love a movie that proudly wears it’s half-assery on its sleeve. At one point during Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil, a character raises a glass of champagne and says “To Jamie Lee Curtis!” Thus, even though it’s technically a sequel to that movie (and the only true slasher followup), these characters exist in the same world we do, where Prom Night is just a movie. Nice work.
Like the other sequels, it actually improves on that underwhelming original, though not by much in this case. Once again we have far too few characters (four) and a laborious pace - our first slashing occurs at the hour mark. Also - there’s no prom! The kids pull up to the prom, give it a Clark Griswold style nod of approval, and then head off to the lodge in the middle of the woods where the whole movie takes place. There’s also a prom more or less in the background of the requisite “1957” flashback at the beginning - seemingly there just to have someone deliver the “It’s not who you come with...” line - but that doesn’t count. Speaking of which - why do they go back to 1957 and Hamilton High? Was this the same prom from Mary Lou’s entries? How tragic WAS this goddamn evening?
It makes up for its lapses with some surprisingly harsh kills. Our killer is a demonic priest (who looks a lot like The Love Guru when we first see him in the present day), and thus the killings are religious-tinged. He crucifies and immolates two of the kids, and then later tosses a cruchete into the chest of a guy who’s pretty much already dead. He also kills a kid that’s only about 15 from the looks of it, which is pretty awesome.
Speaking of this kid’s death, it’s a doozy. The kid is peeping on his older brother fucking his girlfriend (one of the worst actresses this side of Dana Kimmell, I might add), and he begins filming it. “I’m gonna make a fortune!” he says. Apparently, in this universe, clumsy sex filmed from outside a window (one with bars all over it to boot) and 50 feet away is a hot commodity. Why settle for close-ups (and audio) when you can have something one step removed from scrambled cable?
Also this movie was apparently a strong influence on Seth McFarlane. At one point the priest hitches a ride with a sleazy trucker. The guy says “I’m gonna get some pussy!” and then he follows up with a very Quagmire-esque “gitty-gitty-gitty” (close enough to giggity), complete with head bobbing. Weird.
Paul Zaza once again composes the score (he and actor Brock Simpson are the only series regulars), and it’s pretty cheesy. A lot of it sounds like Final Fantasy flashback music, and the horror stuff is borderline Manfredini-levels of generic. I also was hoping that this, the final of the Prom Night franchise, would have a MBV-style theme song (which Zaza wrote), but alas.
Man, what a strangely half-assed series. If there was a 5th film, I seriously doubt that a prom would even be mentioned, and I can almost guarantee it wouldn’t have anything to do with a demonic priest. I hope someday there is a nice boxed set with all four films, properly restored (all of the sequels are full-frame only, and part III is a goddamn TV cut) and with some no-holds-barred interviews with key personnel. Hell, I bet Brock Simpson would be up to provide commentaries for all four.
What say you?