Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
|Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce Pittman|
|Produced by||Peter R. Simpson|
|Written by||Ron Oliver|
|Music by||Paul Zaza|
|Edited by||Nick Rotundo|
|Distributed by||Norstar Releasing|
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
|October 16, 1987|
|Budget||$1.5–2 million (est.)|
|Box office||$2,683,519 (domestic)|
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is a 1987 Canadian supernatural-horror film directed by Bruce Pittman, and starring Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Louis Ferreira, and Lisa Schrage. It follows a high school student who becomes possessed by Mary Lou Maloney, a student who died at her high school prom in 1957. The second installment in the Prom Night saga, it was originally intended to be a standalone film, but was retitled and underwent reshoots to capitalize on the success of the original Prom Night.
The character of Mary Lou Maloney would also appear in 1989's Prom Night III: The Last Kiss.
In 1957, seventeen-year-old Mary Lou Maloney enters a church, where she confesses her sins to the priest, claiming to have disobeyed her parents, used the Lord's name in vain and had sinful relations with various boys. The pastor tells her that "these are great sins and she should prepare herself for the consequences." Before leaving, Mary Lou tells the priest that she loved every minute of it and leaves her phone number in the confession booth along with a written message: "For a good time call Mary Lou."
Later, at the 1957 prom at Hamilton High School, Mary Lou is attending with Billy Nordham who gives her a ring with her initials on it. Shortly after receiving Billy's ring, Mary Lou sends him off to get punch while she sneaks backstage with Buddy Cooper, where the two are found making out by Billy. Storming off after Mary Lou claims she used him, Billy overhears two boys preparing a stink bomb and, when the boys abandon the bomb in the trash due to a teacher approaching, Billy grabs it. When Mary Lou is crowned prom queen, Billy, having snuck up onto the catwalk, drops the bomb on her before she is crowned. To the horror of Billy and everyone in attendance, the fuse of the bomb ignites Mary Lou's dress and she burns to death onstage.
Thirty years later, student Vicki Carpenter goes looking for a prom dress in the school prop room after being denied a new dress by her overly religious mother. While searching, Vicki finds an old trunk containing Mary Lou's prom queen accessories and takes them, releasing Mary Lou's Hell-bound spirit. After Vicki leaves Mary Lou's clothes in the art room after school, Vicki's friend Jess finds them and, after wedging a jewel out of the crown, is attacked by an unseen force and hung from a light by Mary Lou's cape. Jess's death is deemed a suicide caused by her despair over her recent discovery that she was pregnant.
After Jess's death, Vicki finds herself plagued by nightmarish hallucinations and confides in Buddy, who is now a priest and, after hearing Vicki's stories, believes Mary Lou may be back. Going to Mary Lou's grave, where his bible bursts into flames, Buddy afterwards tries to warn Billy, who is now the principal of Hamilton High and the father of Vicki's boyfriend Craig.
During a detention caused by her slapping her rival Kelly Hennenlotter, Vicki is dragged into the classroom chalkboard, which turns to liquid. Taking control of Vicki's body, Mary Lou visits Buddy at the church and, revealing her identity to him, kills him by stabbing him in the face with a crucifix. Disposing of Buddy's corpse, Mary Lou makes over Vicki's body, and her new mannerisms and style of dress arouse the concern of Vicki's friend Monica. After confronting Mary Lou in the girls locker room, Monica is murdered by Mary Lou when, after hiding from Mary Lou in a locker, she is crushed when Mary Lou makes the locker collapse in on her.
After Monica's murder, Mary Lou seduces Craig and lures him away under the pretense of having sex, only to knock him unconscious and afterward confront and taunt Billy, revealing her identity to him. Finding the injured Craig, Billy takes him home and knocks him back out when Craig tries to go after Mary Lou. With Craig unconscious, Billy digs up Mary Lou's grave and finds the dead Buddy in the coffin. At Vicki's house, Mary Lou seduces Vicki's father Walt and is found kissing him by her mother Virginia, who tries to stop Mary Lou/Vicki from leaving for the prom, only to be telekinetically smashed through the front door.
Arriving at the prom, Mary Lou enjoys the festivities while Kelly, in order to become prom queen, fellates tally counter Josh as a bribe. When Josh changes the outcome of the votes to make Kelly the winner, Mary Lou electrocutes Josh through his computer and changes the outcome. When she is crowned prom queen, Mary Lou goes up on stage, but is shot moments before getting her crown by Billy. Arriving after the shooting, Craig, reaching what appears to be the dying Vicki, is knocked back when Vicki changes into a charred corpse and then into Mary Lou. In the havoc, Kelly is killed by a falling light fixture and Craig is chased into the school prop room by Mary Lou, who opens a vortex to the Underworld that begins to suck Craig in. Before Craig is pulled through the gateway, Billy arrives and places the crown on Mary Lou and kisses her, apparently appeasing her spirit, which vanishes, releasing Vicki.
With Mary Lou gone, Vicki and Craig leave with Billy, getting into his car. When Billy turns on the radio, Mary Lou's signature song "Hello Mary Lou" plays and Billy, revealing he is wearing Mary Lou's ring (apparently as revenge for killing her in the first place thirty years ago, Mary Lou had possessed him, making him her new host), drives off with the terrified Vicki and Craig.
- Michael Ironside as Principal Bill "Billy" Nordham
- Wendy Lyon as Vicki Carpenter
- Justin Louis as Craig Nordham
- Richard Monette as Father Cooper
- Lisa Schrage as Mary Lou Maloney
- Terri Hawkes as Kelly Hennelotter
- Wendell Smith as Walt Carpenter
- Judy Mahbey as Virginia Carpenter
- Beverley Hendry as Monica Waters
- Brock Simpson as Josh
- Beth Gondek as Jess Browning
- John Pyper-Ferguson as Eddie Wood
- Lorretta Bailey as Mary Lou (creature)
- Vincent Gale as Rejected Boy
- Michael Evans as Matthew Dante
- Dennis Robinson as Mr. Craven
- Larry Musser as Mr. O'Bannon
- Glen Gretzky as Robert
- David Robertson as Mr. King
The film was originally titled The Haunting of Hamilton High, and includes many references and homages to past horror films in its script, including A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Carrie (1976), and The Exorcist (1973). In addition, several characters were named after popular horror film directors and other cult figures, including John Carpenter, George Romero, Wes Craven, Frank Henenlotter, Stephen King, John Waters, Edward D. Wood Jr. and Tod Browning.
Producer Peter Simpson and The Samuel Goldwyn Company re-shot half of the film before it completed production. The film was later retitled by Alliance Films to build on the success of Prom Night, which Simpson feels damaged the film's reception.
The film was released theatrically in October 1987, and later expanded to a wide release on November 13, 1987. It grossed $911,351 in its opening weekend, and ended up making $2,683,519 at the U.S. box office. The film was more of a success on home video. It currently has an approval rating of 38% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 8 reviews.
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, praising Lyons' performance and drawing comparisons to Blue Velvet), adding: "You don't ... have to take Hello Mary Lou at all seriously, and it probably would be a mistake to do so. Certainly, it's not on the deeply personal, highly idiosyncratic artistic level of the David Lynch film, but it is a splendid example of what imagination can do with formula genre material." Vincent Canby of The New York Times described the film's extended "grand guignol" finale, writing: "Bruce Pittman, the director, and Ron Oliver, who wrote the screenplay, have constructed the movie as if it were a gourmet banquet for toddlers. From the first course to the last, it's all ice cream." Bill Cosford from The Arizona Republic called it "a badly made film, as awkward as can be, and long stretches of it make no sense whatsoever. Nor does it manage, as the better slasher films do, to re-create a high-school milieu of even passing authenticity."
Betsy Sherman of The Boston Globe deemed the film a "miserly slice-and-dicer: Carrie without the bucket of blood," though she conceded it is "somewhat livened by the presence of Michael Ironside." The Philadelphia Daily News's Ben Yagoda panned the film, writing that it "can be credited with nothing other than providing temporary employment for a group of untalented individuals," and drawing comparisons between Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and The Exorcist (1973). Stephen Hunter of The Baltimore Sun criticized what he described as a "rudimentary" script as well as the "waste" of Ironside. The Atlanta Constitution's Eleanor Ringel wrote: "for all its rip-offs, Hello Mary Lou is never a total chore to sit through. As vengeance-minded females go, Ms. Schrage makes Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction come off like a Girl Scout leader," adding that it serves as a "black-comic commentary on the whole notion of prom queens." Juan Carlos Coto of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reviewed the film favorably, writing that "despite its lack of original material, this film is well-scripted, directed, and acted–and surprisingly entertaining."
Film scholar and critic John Kenneth Muir wrote, "In the annals of unnecessary sequels, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II rates high. Contrarily, in the ranks of 1980s horror movies, it's merely a mediocre effort. Film scholar Mike Mayo said the film is only a Prom Night sequel by title, and that it in fact bears more similarity to 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street.
As a tie-in for the release of the 2008 remake of Prom Night, MGM Home Entertainment (distributed by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) released a new widescreen DVD of Hello Mary Lou on April 1, 2008. The film had earlier been released in Canada in 2003 as a full-screen DVD from Alliance Atlantis, who has since regained rights to release Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II again, as part of a 5 horror movie collection DVD set from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment in 2013.
- Stine, Scott Aaron (2003). The Gorehound’s Guide to Splatter Films of the 1980s. McFarland. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-476-61132-7.
- "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Castor, Phil (March 24, 2017). "High School Retrospective: A Look Back At Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II". Blumhouse. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Canby, Vincent (October 17, 1987). "Film: 'Hello Mary Lou'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Canuxploitation Review: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
- "Interview: Director Bruce Pittman On Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)". TV Store Online. June 5, 2014. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- "Curtains Unveiled: An Interview with Peter Simpson". The Terror Trap. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
- Thomas, Kevin (November 17, 1987). "Move Reviews – 'Hello Mary Lou': Enriching a Genre With Imagination". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Cosford, Bill (November 13, 1987). "Blackboard bungle: Hello Mary Lou, Prom Night II". The Arizona Republic. p. 51 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sherman, Betsy (December 5, 1987). "No thrills or chills in 'Prom Night'". The Boston Globe. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
- Yagoda, Ben (October 19, 1987). "Horror-Film Sequel Has Little Prom-ise". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. p. 46 – via Newspapers.com.
- Hunter, Stephen (October 20, 1987). "'Hello Mary Lou,' goodbye sincerity, wit and talent". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. p. 48 – via Newspapers.com.
- Ringel, Eleanor. "'Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II' exorcises old high school demons". The Atlanta Constitution. Atlanta, Georgia. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
- Coto, Juan Carlos (October 20, 1987). "Sequel to 'Prom Night' surprisingly entertaining". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 6E – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II". TV Guide. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Muir, John Kenneth (2011). Horror Films of the 1980s. 1. McFarland. pp. 578–80. ISBN 978-0-786-45501-0.
- Mayo, Mike (2011). The Horror Show Guide: The Ultimate Frightfest of Movies. Visible Ink Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-578-59459-7.
- Barton, Steve. "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (DVD)". Archived from the original on September 1, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2016.