Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prom Night, Prom Night, First Crown I Smash Tonight

Prom Night, for all its Leslie Nielsenness and Jamie Lee Curtis disco, is not a very good film. Its 1986 followup, however, has achieved a farily positive reputation, at least based on the cool cats in my movie nerd circle (most of whom, I assume, spent their senior prom home watching parts 3 & 4 while I spilled chicken all over my puffy sun orange gown while closing the night out with ‘N Sync’s Bye Bye Bye).
Time to put those nerds to the test. Otherwise, there will be wedgies.
Quick Plot: In 1957, slutty prom queen Mary Lou dies just before being crowned in front of her gawking classmates, among them her piece-on-the-side badboy lover (turned priest as an adult) and cuckolded rich boyfriend who unleashes a deadly stinkbomb and later, grows into a sexy bespectacled Michael Ironside.

Flashing forward thirty years, the Ironside is now the high school principal whose son is dating good girl Vicki, a big-haired, doe-eyed blond who for whatever reason (that somehow involves the desecration of a prom crown), ends up occasionally possessed by the flaky ghost of Mary Lou. Along the way, artistic puffy pants wearing students get strangled by prom capes, dopy fathers get kissed by their teenaged daughters, and hairspray is wildly abused by men and women with equal opportunity. The ‘80s were indeed a time for pioneers.

I thought I’d have more to say about Prom Night II, but really, it’s the kind of slightly self-aware ‘80s slasher that speaks for itself. High school students are stereotyped and killed in adorably silly styles. A good girl plays dirty in ways that would make Hannah Montana raise her eyebrows (and then take notes). The effects are gooey and gorgeous and at the end of the day, the nerds prevail.
High Points
Any film that culminates in an epic prom scene featuring crushed blue velvet AND lasers is automatically going to get at least four stars from my galaxy

Low Points
Honestly, there’s not much to NOT *like* about the movie, but I suppose one could just want the whole story to take a few steps further towards trashiness

Lessons Learned
Tutti Fruiti is a REALLY long song
Stink bombs + satin = bad times

The potato is rich in AM, FM, and carbohydrates
In order to avoid overloading your bedroom with its equestrian theme, balance those posters of stallions and carousel horses with classier fare, like Picasso’s Guernica

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is a darn good party film, one busting with ridiculous ‘80s style--and I’m not just talking about crimped hair and mismatched earrings. It’s a goofy bowl of punch that won’t come near scaring you, but it probably beats any high school dance you ever attended.


  1. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed my senior prom (or, as we in The Scottish Country called it, sixth-year ball). There was a nice dinner with wine flowing freely, even though half of us were still 17; our *extremely* gay deputy head proposed marriage to both me and my best friend; all the boys wore kilts and danced to the ceilidh band; and afterwards we climbed a nearby hill, still in our prom gear, and drank champagne and tried to get pizza delivered to the hilltop at two-thirty in the morning.

    What I'm saying is, it was better than Prom Night, but (judging from this review) not as good as Prom Night II.

  2. Man, I had fun at my senior prom--partially due to the afterparty sleepover where we played Dream Phone--but yours sounds like an absolute blast! Cursed Americans with our kiltlessness and drinking age!

  3. So, are you brave enough to try out the next two Prom Night sequels for size?

  4. I already own the double movie pack! It's really only a matter of time now...

  5. dude I was totally in this movie! as an extra, but still.. good times. good times.

  6. NEATO! Please tell me you got to puff up your hair and wear a stunning tulle-heavy gown?

  7. I remember this movie scaring the crap out of me when I was about 7. I've been meaning to revisit it for years now.

  8. Oh I'm sure you'll still be entertained Matt. Scared? Well, age can certainly change a man.

  9. Michael Ironside...nuff said.

  10. As you know, I'm quite a fan of this utterly ridiculous film. This was the first "Prom Night" movie I saw, and it made me seek out the original... which you can imagine was quite a letdown in comparison. PN2, though, is just fun fun fun on a sesame seed bun. Having grown up Catholic, I can say that my mind was blown by the confessional scene. Going to confession just to brag -- that's hardcore. Fave song on the soundtrack: "Mary Lou" by Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks.

  11. I'm quite glad I saw the first film first, although that was a disappointment just on its sheer waste of proms, disco, and Leslie Nielsen. Still, and TangerineDream points out, THIS ONE HAS MICHAEL FUCKING IRONSIDE! An automatic win! Plus that Mary Lou song is pretty priceless and believe you me, I loooooove the idea of Naya Rivera bragging about her conquests in confessional!

  12. I myself enjoy the second one better than the first one, which I do like but it's kind of boring and there are serious technical issues.

    I own Hello Mary Lou on DVD but haven't had the chance to watch it yet. In fact, I haven't seen it since I was a kid. I used to watch it all of the time on cable, and the one part that freaked me out at that age was that crazy looking horse coming to life.

    On a side note, I love the third film, but it's certainly not one to be taken serious in any way whatsoever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S85LFvr89Dk&feature=player_embedded

  13. The crazy horse be CRAZY! That would get e as a kid, for sure. As for Prom Night 3, it's clearly next in line on my to-watch pile!

  14. I really do enjoy this movie . . . it's got a near Nightmare on Elm Street vibe that's just deliciously fun . . . !

  15. I can see that. The easy stereotyping of the teens, school-set kills, animated objects...DEFINITELY has a NoES vibe. Gooooooood times.