80's Horror: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
After Mary Lou Maloney is accidentally killed during an incident at prom in 1957, her soul is unleashed exactly 30 years later to wreck havoc and vengeance in the same school.
Prom Night II bares no similarities or even storyline to the Jamie Lee Curtis classic (I didn't like it). Just in name. I'm guessing because it does in fact involve a prom night in a high school, and also to ride the coattails of a well-known classic. But imagine my surprise to discover that this little film, having never gotten a theatrical release, with no big names attached other than Michael Ironside (legend!!), or even anyone recognizable in the directors chair or in the screenwriting credits, would end up being one of the most enjoyable 80's horror films we've seen in a very long time. To put it into perspective, Prom Night II is like a perfectly balanced combination of A Nightmare on Elm St. Part 4: The Dream Master and Carrie, which is surprising in that ANoES4 didn't come out until the following year, so you can't say that it stole any ideas from that one, which makes it all the more special.
While the film boasts an impressively solid cast, it's really the films star, Wendy Lyon, who does not play Mary Lou (Lisa Schrage), but rather a timid, fragile nerdy girl with an overbearing devoutly religious and demanding mother. She was such a breath of fresh air. You'd never imagine where her character would eventually go later in the film and I must admit, it was a bit shocking, in a very enjoyable way. You'll see what I mean a good halfway through. It's fantastic.
You'd think at my age, 41, having been watching horror films all my life that I'd pretty much seen most of them and that the genre for me had already been tapped out. But nope! This film is a great example that there are still some great ones left out there that I still haven't seen. Little underrated gems that flew under my radar, or for one reason or another never got the love, respect or acknowledgment they deserved. This is one of those films, and I implore you to seek it out. It's worth the effort if you love cheesy 80's horror. Sometimes clever, oftentimes inventive, and purely entertaining 100% of the time, Prom Night II is pure 80's horror bliss.
How to see it:
Currently the film is available in it's entirety on YouTube for free and in widescreen. The DVD is fairly cheap, also in widescreen, and a pretty good transfer. That was my source for this viewing. The VHS is also fairly cheap and common. No plans for a blu ray release anytime soon I'm afraid, at least not in the U.S.