Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is really a sequel in name only. The only tie-in to the original is that it takes place at the same school. The storyline and characters from the first film have no bearing on the outcome of the second. It essentially capitalizes on the name and then takes the franchise in a completely different direction. Prom Night II isn’t a slasher. It’s a supernatural horror-thriller. This flick could easily have been released as a standalone title but the Prom Night name provided a built in audience.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II begins with a flashback to 1957: Mary Lou is giving confession to a priest for having impure thoughts, engaging in sinful relations with boys at her school, and taking The Lord’s name in vain. Then, she coyly tells the Man Of The Cloth that she loved every minute of it. We get the impression from this exchange that Mary Lou is a bit of a good time gal. Shortly thereafter, Mary Lou misses her chance to be crowned prom queen when the gymnasium is set on fire and she is burned alive. 30 years later, a young woman named Vicki unintentionally unleashes Mary Lou’s vengeful spirit and all hell breaks loose.
The tone of Prom Night II is darker and more serious than the original. But it lacks some of what worked for the its predecessor (namely Jamie Lee Curtis). However, it makes up for that by being an (arguably) better film.
The film is efficiently paced. It doesn’t take too long to establish backstory before diving into the action. The origin story that is shown at the beginning is very brief and Prom Night II wastes little time on character development, which gives it ample time to focus on important things, like killing off its teenage cast.
One that note: Prom Night II has a relatively high body count and, of course, uses practical gore effects. The FX are good – there is one scene where a performer is very obviously wearing a rubber mask but even that beats the over-reliance on CGI that a lot of modern films employ.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II doesn’t reinvent the horror film; in fact, it takes a lot of its cues from successful genre pictures to come before it but there are shreds of originality interspersed throughout and the decision to steer the franchise away from the slasher storyline established in the first film was a wise and unexpected one. The killer in the first flick wouldn’t have much left to do if the sequel were a continuation of his story, so shifting the plot line and tone actually proves to be a wise choice. Each of the sequels that followed Hello Mary Lou continued her story and it’s easy to see why.
The performances are not the film’s strong suit but if you’re watching ’80s horror for groundbreaking acting, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.
If you are a fan of the horror films of yesteryear and you haven’t seen Prom Night II, you should. It may not be the best of its kind but you could do a lot worse for 90-minutes of mindless, blood-filled nostalgia.
Director(s): Bruce Pittman
Writer(s): Ron Oliver Wendy Lyon, Michael Ironside
Stars: Vicki Carpenter, Michael Ironside
Studio/ Production Co: NorStar Releasing
Length: 97 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror