Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

June 29, 2011

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II has no relation or connection with the original Prom Night. (Which is just as well.) In fact, this new film is more of a sicko spinoff of Peggy Sue Got Married, since both movies bring a former prom queen back to high school, and both borrow titles from old rock ‘n’ roll songs.

But Hello Mary Lou is certainly a lot more depraved than anything in Peggy Sue (with the possible exception of Nicolas Cage’s voice). In this film, Mary Lou (Lisa Schrage) is a high school vixen who is accidentally immolated at the ’57 prom.

Cut to 30 years later. The spurned boyfriend who inadvertently caused the fatal fire is now the principal (Michael Ironside) of the school. And the spirit of Mary Lou continues to haunt the hallowed halls of Hamilton High. When perky prom-queen-to-be Vicki (Wendy Lyon) opens up a locked trunk in the school prop room, Mary Lou’s vengeance is unleashed.

Mary Lou is apparently possessing Vicki. The latter begins seeing hallucinations at school: the walls peel, the school lunchroom is staffed by zombies, the hot meal features soup with worms. Some may argue that, far from being hallucinations, these are documentary glimpses of high school. Be that as it may, Mary Lou wreaks much havoc during the last week of school, and of course at the fateful prom.

None of this, thankfully, is taken seriously by director Bruce Pittman, whose background is in Canadian television. Pittman keeps things funky, and he’s not above zipping in one-liners to deflate the action. The final few minutes devolve into a hodge-podge, but at that point it frankly doesn’t matter much.

First published in the Herald, November 1987

Canadian-produced horror: it’s so much more than just Cronenberg. They gave it a shot, anyway, between the Prom Night series and Terror Train and a few other items. The first Prom Night was bad enough that this sequel has no air of desecration about it—unlike, say, the stench that surrounds the Halloween sequels. No idea what Rick Nelson thought about any of this.