Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#410. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 (1987)


Directed By: Bruce Pittman

Starring: Lisa Schrage, Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon,




Tag line: "Vengeance Never Rests in Peace!"

Trivia:  Almost every character in this film shares a last name with a cult film director







I first came across Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 on cable TV in the late 80's, and would sit and watch it whenever it was on. So, I can't help but see this film through a nostalgic eye, one I freely admit may have clouded my judgment. But what can I say? I think this movie's a hoot. 

Prom night, 1957. Mary Lou Maloney (Lisa Schrage) is the odds-on favorite to win the coveted crown, and be named that year's Prom Queen. But Mary Lou isn't exactly a model teenager. During the prom, she dumps her wealthy, though somewhat shy boyfriend, Billy Nordham (Steve Atkinson), and hooks up with over-sexed Buddy Cooper (Robert Lewis) instead. Billy will get his revenge, dropping a stink bomb onto the stage just before Mary Lou's crowned Queen.  But things go very wrong, and Mary Lou's dress catches fire, engulfing her in flames and burning her to death. Jump ahead 30 years to 1987. Bill Nordham (Michael Ironside) is now the school's principal. His son, Craig (Justin Louis), is getting ready for his own Senior Prom, as is Craig's girlfriend, Vicki (Wendy Lyon). When her over-zealous mother (Judy Mahbey) forbids her from buying a new dress, Vicki roots through some of the old gowns in the school's basement, where she discovers a mysterious chest filled with photos from the 1957 prom, as well as the Queen's crown. This discovery kicks off a supernatural chain of events, and before anyone knows what's hit them, the spirit of Mary Lou Maloney has taken control of Vicki, seeking the crown she never got a chance to wear. And God help anyone who stands in her way. 

I always liked the opening sequence of Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2, where we're introduced to Mary Lou in all her bitchy glory. Played wonderfully by Lisa Schrage, Mary Lou is a real beauty, with long, brunette hair and a beaming smile. But this exterior masks a very, very bad person. The film begins with her visiting a confessional, shocking the parish priest with tales of fornication and vice. As the priest is about to assign her penance, Mary Lou adds, with a smile, “and you know what, father? I loved every minute of it!”. She then blows him a kiss and walks out, but not before scribbling For a good time, call Mary Lou in lipstick on the confessional wall. As villains go, Mary Lou is a doozy, and the fact she returns in search of vengeance is what makes Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 so much fun. 

Now, even through my rose-colored glasses, I can spot a few problems. For one, the personality shift that Wendy Lyon's Vicki experiences, as Mary Lou's spirit slowly takes control of her, isn't convincing until the very end. Also, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 is yet another horror film that feels the need to toss around genre references. Vicki's mother is an obvious rip-off of Piper Laurie's character in Carrie, though without the menace, and others named Carpenter, Romero, and Craven will pop up from time to time. To top it off, several of the dream / fantasy sequences are far too dark for such a bouncy film, and the less said about the possessed rocking horse, the better!
 
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 is undoubtedly goofy, but I like it. I won't even call it a guilty pleasure, because I'm not the slightest bit guilty about it. 

I'm a fan of Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2. So sue me.









4 comments:

MrJeffery said...

watched this for the first time on vhs not too long ago and loved it! it was so fun and so 80s. def. an underrated horror gem.

Dave B. said...

@MrJeffery: Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment. Nice to see I'm not alone in my love for PROM NIGHT 2!

WeirdArchives said...

I wonder if it's time to remake this film and allow the filmmakers to more fully exploit the characters to their logical ends. Give it more of an edge to show just how far Mary Lou would go for the title and not just with demonic powers.

Dave B. said...

Thanks for the comment!

I wouldn't mind seeing an update of this movie, and the idea you have (steering away from the demonic angle) would be an intriguing one. I'm guessing it'll never happen, but it's nice to dream :)

Thanks again!