Hello Mary Lou - Prom Night II (1987)
Directed by Bruce Pittman

Starring Justin Louis Lisa Schrage Michael Ironside Wendy Lyon

An oddity from the 1980s, "Hello Mary Lou" is more of a Canadian take on "a Nightmare on Elm Street" (with "Carrie" thrown in for good measure) than a sequel to the Jamie Lee Curtis early '80s slasher. It's probably better than that film -- and certainly stacks up as a nice sleaze fest.

The film opens with a 1950s prom gone terribly wrong. We meet Mary Lou (Schrage), a mean-spirited popular girl who snubs her date to the prom. When he attempts some sort of revenge as she's being crowed Prom Queen, he naturally causes her to catch fire and burn to death in front of a horrified audience, before he slips away, guilt-ridden.

Flash forward 30 years or so to the modern-day 1980s. The jilted lover -- accidental killer -- is now an adult (Michael Ironside) and principal to the same high school, where his son (Justin Louis, later of "Saw IV") is now attending. Said son's virignal girlfriend Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon) is all ready to go to the prom. When she unearths a chest of prom-related 1957 artifacts at the high school, she naturally unleashes Mary Lou's spirit and people start dying. Vicki, meanwhile, starts becoming possessed by the spirit of the late prom queen -- and has a series of "Elm Street"-like nightmares.

Vicki's dreams are so Elm Street-like, they seem like they came off the cutting room floor of that other franchise, which was the height of its popularity when this film came out. One in particular, with Vicki getting caught in a whirl pool within a chalk board, really leaves you waiting for Krueger to show up and throw in a one liner or two.

The film's dream sequences and a surprisingly high sleaze quotient make this a pretty entertaining, "They don't make 'em like this anymore" artificant from a bygone horror era. Borrowing from every successful horror movie from the time -- there's even "The Exorcist" thrown in for good measure -- it's a brainless pleasure. And the filmmakers had a reasonable budget to work with.

The makers were obviously big fans of the genre. Many characters in the film shares a last name with a cult film director (especially horror directors) such as Wes Craven, Stephen King, George A. Romero, Tod Browning, Joe Dante, John Carpenter, John Waters and Frank Henenlotter.

The film finally got a proper DVD release in 2008 during the theatrical release of the PG-13 "Prom Night" remake. It was good to see this forgotten artifact from the Reagan era unearthed again. There's no sign that the even more obscure sequel "Prom Night III" will ever see the light of day.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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