The original Prom Night was a somewhat dull Canadian slasher film which would have been completely forgotten had it not starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Leslie Nielsen. This sequel (also Canadian) made seven years later, replaces the bland serial killer with an over-sexed malicious ghost girl, and is a better better film as a result.
About the only thing carried over to this movie from its prequel is the basic theme of someone being hurt and seeking revenge, though the execution is very different. Mary Lou was the popular / slutty girl at Hamilton High in 1957. On the night of the Prom, just before she was to be pronounced Prom Queen, she sends her bland (but rich) boyfriend, Billy, off for punch, so she can take the much better looking Buddy backstage for a quickie.
Billy catches them, and hastily puts together a revenge plot which involves him tossing a stink bomb on stage as Mary Lou’s accepting her Prom Queen crown. Unfortunately, her dress turns out to be made of flash paper, and the sparks from the fuse quickly engulf her in flames.
Thirty years later, an incredibly plain looking girl, Vickie (played by Wendy Lyon) is looking forward to the prom. She’s going with her motorcycle driving boyfriend, Craig, who it turns out is Billy’s (now the principal of Hamilton High) son. Vickie spends the vast majority of the film alone, so we never really get a sense of what her and Craig’s relationship is like, though it doesn’t seem all that close. Vicki’s religious mother won’t let her buy a new dress for the prom, so she’s excited when she finds an old trunk in the school with Mary Lou’s old dress (which is no longer burned).
Though she’s less excited when Mary Lou starts haunting her. What follows is a pretty blatant rip-off of Nightmare on Elm Street. Vickie has a series of nightmare-like hallucinations, involving things coming alive and attacking her, or twisted versions of Mary Lou’s memories. Though lacking a strong villain like Freddy Kruger, this part of the movie is entertaining, and does a decent job of piecing together the plot and the back story.
Eventually, Mary Lou possesses Vickie’s body. Luckily, the characters in the movie make the comparison to Linda Blair and The Exorcist themselves, saving me the trouble. Mary Lou sets out to exact her revenge and resume the life she had taken from her. Despite her tragic past, she’s not a very sympathetic character. She’s happy to brutally murder any random person who infringes slightly on her ambitions, and her sexuality goes over the top some times (as exemplified by her make-out session with her father).
The movie culminates with a scene that borrows heavily from Carrie, but brings the film to a satisfying, full-circle conclusion.
While not an outright comedy-horror film, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 is too light to be scary. It lacks originality, but is well executed. Ironically, the only horror movie Prom Night 2 doesn’t steal from is Prom Night. Still, it’s an entertaining collection of stolen material.