PROM NIGHT is one of those franchises where several of the sequels are better — or at least more interesting — than the original. The first PROM NIGHT is a rather by-the-numbers slasher centered around, naturally, prom night. It’s perhaps best known for a barely post-HALLOWEEN Jamie Lee Curtis as final girl Kim Hammond who has a rare nude scene, as well as Leslie Nielsen as Kim’s father. That said, it’s visually more striking than most slashers of its time.
HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT 2 is probably regarded as the best in the series, as it is far more inventive while having a sense of humor about itself. It has some fantastic set-pieces and stellar performances from Lisa Schrage as Mary Lou and Michael Ironsides as the cop investigating a series of murders.
However, I believe PROM NIGHT III: THE LAST KISS (PROM NIGHT 3 going forward) is woefully underrated. It goes full horror-comedy while managing to straddle both expertly. PROM NIGHT 3 continues the murderous, wanton adventures of one Mary Lou Maloney (Courtney Taylor) haunting the same high school, and she finds herself obsessed with Alex, an attractive school bum who has aspirations to become a doctor and marry Sarah (Cynthia Preston), his high school sweetheart.
Mary Lou has a sort of succubus quality to her, and Alex finds her irresistible, and the two fuck almost immediately. (Yes, this is a very horny film, even for a high school slasher.) Mary Lou becomes extremely possessive, using her somewhat vague supernatural powers to elevate Alex’s school standing while killing off anyone in the way of his dreams, or her obsession. Matters escalate, becoming more and more outlandish, culminating in what can only be described as a Ripley-esque confrontation.
The gory set-pieces are in the vein of Sam Raimi — there are a number of shots that ape the first-person racing camera perspective he leans on so much, although there’s one scene where Mary Lou is absolutely crashing through doors; windows shatter, and it’s incredibly effective.
The film still makes time to pepper in dialogue that you’d expect to hear in a dark comedy like JAWBREAKER:
“Alex, she wasn’t a person. She was a guidance counselor.”
They also utilize the high school’s PA system to intersperse quite a bit of irreverent, silly but pointed announcements.
Granted, despite receiving a theatrical release in the production’s home country of Canada, it does have that cheap video sheen to it. Nonetheless, the makeup is great, the effects above-average, and it’s a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, finding a copy of the original version of PROM NIGHT 3 can prove to be difficult. While the VHS version was the same theatrical edition Canadians watched, the U.S. DVD release was heavily edited. There’s a copy of the uncut version on YouTube that you can seek out, as this is not the kind of film that benefits from an ‘edited for content’ version.
“I don’t get mad; I bake.”