Originally released in 1987, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II has little to do with the original Prom Night, save for the principal location (Hamilton High School) and the film’s climax during a high school prom. The film introduces a malevolent spirit by the name of Mary Lou Maloney, who would also feature in the next sequel, the horror-comedy flick Prom Night III: The Last Kiss. Although lacking the stellar cast of the initial movie, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is a pretty good film that fans of 1980s horror will enjoy.
After a short teaser sequence in which Mary Lou Maloney (Lisa Schrage, very much enjoying herself) teases a Catholic priest (Jay Smith) during a confession, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II opens with the 1957 prom at Hamilton High School. Mary Lou is very much a snake, so much so that she turns on her own date, Billy Nordham, to sneak backstage with another boy, Buddy Cooper. Billy discovers them making out, but Mary Lou rebuffs him again.
Later, while Billy is in the bathroom licking his wounds, he overhears a couple of boys preparing a stink bomb. When the principal walks in on the two, they throw the bomb into the trash and manage to get out. Billy retrieves the stink bomb and climbs up the gym’s catwalk, where he watches Mary Lou crowned as prom queen. At a pivotal moment, Billy drops the stink bomb on Mary Lou. Sadly, the bomb’s fuse ignites Mary Lou’s dress. The poor girl catches flame—as she dies, she looks up and sees that it was Billy who killed her.
The bulk of the movie takes place 30 years later. Billy Nordham (Michael Ironside) is now the principal of Hamilton High (as well as a single father) and Buddy Cooper (Richard Monette) is now a Catholic priest. The story centers on Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon), a meek young woman who has a highly protective and religious mother. Vicki is denied a new dress for prom, so she decides to go looking in the school’s theater department. It is here she finds an old trunk filled with mementos from Mary Lou Mahoney. When Vicki opens the trunk, she unleashes the spirit of Mary Lou, who begins to slowly possess the impressionable Vicki.
The remainder of the story has Vicki, now possessed by Mary Lou, exacting her revenge on the two men she believed wronged her. After killing Father Cooper, Mary Lou sets her sights on Billy Nordham. Standing in her way on prom night is Nordham’s son Craig (Louis Ferreira), who also happens to be Vicki’s boyfriend. Several plot twists ensue, with the final one executed to Ricky Nelson’s song “Hello Mary Lou.”
Borrowing plot elements from movies such as 1976’s Carrie, 1973’s The Exorcist, and 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II sets the stage for a supernatural slasher flick, one in which the killer is in fact a ghost that can possess other people. Although the movie relies a little too much on by-the-numbers horror filmmaking, it does manage to create some very effective scenes and killer moments. For example, using a paper cutter in one of the early kills, having Mary Lou possess a toy rocking horse in Vicki’s room, and of course the locker room scenes, where goody-two-shoes Vicki gets down to some serious full-front and full-back nudity.
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II spends too much time getting warmed up, with too many scenes dedicated to typical high school life and the petty dramas of its teenaged cast. However, once the film gets rolling with Mary Lou in charge of Vicki, then the movie starts to fire on all cylinders, daddy-o.
Although not a great film by any means, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II still delivers enough fun and fright to enjoy it at least once. Fans of 1980 “school horror” will find this curio worth watching, particularly because so many other films influences its story and structure. The mixture of camp, restrained horror, and multiple twist endings are just some of the key moments in Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II that will make horror fans both cringe and grin.