Review: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987) – or – Don’t play with fire, kids

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II reviewTaking nothing but the name from the first film, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II jacks up the violence and gore, throws in some strange elements of possession, and delivers a perfect ’80s horror film.

Starring Lisa Schrage as Mary Lou Maloney, the film begins in 1957 at Hamilton High. Mary Lou is a bit of a troublemaker, and her date to the prom, Bill (Steve Atkinson), is about to find out. He catches her cheating on him with Bud (Robert Lewis) and decides to get even. When Mary Lou accepts her prom queen crown, he tosses a stink bomb onto the stage. The fuse lights her dress on fire and Mary Lou dies in front of the whole school. Years later, Bill (Michael Ironside) is the principal of Hamilton High, while Bud (Richard Monette) is now a priest. The school is preparing for another prom and Vicki (Wendy Lyon) can’t wait, even though her religious mother is against it. When Vicki snoops through an old chest in the school prop department, she discovers the tiara belonging to Mary Lou, which unleashes her from purgatory. Now Mary Lou is taking over Vicki’s body in an attempt to get revenge on Bill and Bud.

While Prom Night is a solid and unique entry into ’80s horror, it’s Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II that will always be my favourite. Watching this as a kid, it provided everything we looked for in an ’80s horror film. Full frontal nudity, grotesque effects, and plenty of teenagers just looking to get wiped out. I actually forgot just how crazy this film can get, and there are some really weird and disturbing moments in it.

Things start out a bit slowly, although there is the fiery death of Mary Lou to enjoy in the first ten or fifteen minutes, but it takes a while to get going after that. Vicki struggles with her overbearing religious mother who has complete control over the family, while she tries to maintain her relationship with Bill’s son Craig (Louis Ferreira). With prom coming up, Vicki wants it to be a special night, but her mother keeps interfering. Without a good prom dress, Vicki starts looking in the prop department, which is where she finds Mary Lou’s tiara, sash, and cape. Now Mary Lou is out, and it doesn’t take long before she starts killing anybody who gets in her way.

It’s all ghosts and ghouls at first, with Mary Lou not actually showing up until a particularly gooey segment at the end, but it’s actually more effective than just throwing a random killer in there. It allows for some very creepy moments. As Vicki starts to become more haunted by Mary Lou, she begins seeing strange visions, including a moment in her bedroom with an adult size rocking horse that is disgusting in its simplicity. Vicki tries to fight it, but she’s slowly being taken over by Mary Lou. How do you stop an evil spirit? Well, if you’re Bill, you simply get a gun and go shooting at the prom.

It’s a really odd way to go about things, but Bill is looking to survive the night, and he knows that Mary Lou is out to get him. When Mary Lou finally returns to life, things take a twist into Nightmare on Elm Street territory, if Freddy happened to go to the prom in Carrie. It’s pretty wild, and definitely adds some much needed gore and makeup effects to the film.

It’s good that the deaths come often enough, and are actually rather unique at times, because the performances and script leave a little to be desired. The story is basic at best, and you could probably apply some theories on religion and a girl becoming a woman within that environment, but you may have to stretch to do it. The acting is mainly standard for an ’80s horror flick, although Michael Ironside adds a bit of gruff charm, and Lisa Schrage is a ton of fun as Mary Lou.

Is Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II Worth Watching?

Fans of ’80s horror films should love it. It’s got everything you expect from the decades horror output, and takes things a little bit further in terms of nudity and violence (mostly because of how Mary Lou returns to life.) This is the kind of fun horror film they so rarely make now.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II Trailer

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