When compiling a list of horror movie kills it should go without saying that the material is intended for mature audiences and should not be viewed at the office or in the company of minors, unless you’re one of those cool parents/older siblings. The clip contains graphic nudity and some pretty hilariously fake guts, but is otherwise harmless.
With that being said, welcome back! Nothing like an old fashioned content disclaimer to kick off the next scene. Showing up at #14 on my list of the Best Horror Movie Kills of All-Time is a bit of locker room fun in the supernatural sequel Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II.
This is a personal favorite scene from a film that is part plagiarism and part quirky original. It mixes supernatural elements from superior genre films such as Carrie, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Exorcist while boasting a few unique kills, some stellar low-budget special effects sequences, and a rocking horse made of childrens’ tears and nightmares.
Being that I’ve already mentioned the graphic nudity, and considering the genre and the era in which it was produced, it might be safe to assume a certain gratuitous nature to the proceedings. While some aspect of unjustified indecency exists, within the context of the narrative I feel like it is warranted.
Allow me to explain that further as well as give some history and context.
The original Prom Night is a mostly terrible slasher film from 1980 starring one of horror’s seminal scream queens, Jamie Lee Curtis (quick bit of trivia: Curtis was in three horror movies in 1980 alone – Prom Night, Terror Train, and The Fog). The story concerns the comeuppance of a group of friends who killed another child while playing a game as kids and made a pact never to tell anyone. Years later that group of friends is in high school preparing for prom and they begin getting picked off one by one by a masked killer, as is often the case with slasher films. Aside from Jamie Lee’s involvement, it’s a largely forgettable horror film with minimal lasting impression.
The one thing the film did well was make money – $14 million box-office on a $1.5 million budget. Looking to capitalize on that success, a script that had been written with the intention of being a stand-alone film with the title “The Haunting of Hamilton High” was eventually re-branded as a sequel with the rhythmic moniker Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II. The only link between the two films is the name of the high school, as none of the characters or events of the first film are ever referenced.
The sequel opens on prom night in 1957. On the way to prom, Mary Lou Maloney (Lisa Schrage) stops by a church to have her confession heard. She admits to disobeying her parents, taking the Lord’s name in vain, having impure thoughts, and having relations with “many boys, many times”. The priest invokes the serious nature of these sins and asks if she is ready to atone for her sins. Mary Lou responds by adding one more thing to her confession – she loved every minute of it!
That, in a nutshell, is Mary Lou.
Later that night at the prom she ditches her date, Billy Nordham (Steve Atkinson), to go behind the stage and have sex with Buddy Cooper (Robert Lewis) because he has….a lot to offer. And also, because it’s America and she can. Billy catches them in the act and Mary Lou splits with Buddy, citing “it’s not who you come with, it’s who takes you home”.
To make a long story short, Mary Lou is named prom queen and as she accepts her award Billy plays a prank with a stink bomb that backfires. Mary Lou is subsequently burned alive, having never officially gotten to wear the crown.
From here on, I’ll condense the story a bit.
The film then jumps 30 years ahead to Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon), a popular-ish girl at Hamilton High School from a strict Christian household. She dates Craig Nordham (Louis Ferreira), the son of grown up Billy Nordham (Michael Ironside) who is now the school principal.
While searching through the school’s prop department in the basement, she unknowingly releases the vengeful spirit of Mary Lou Maloney from….an old trunk. Little by little, Vicki starts to act like Mary Lou, culminating in a stunningly cool sequence where Vicki is dragged into a strange vortex with the end result being the rebirth of Mary Lou’s spirit in Vicki’s body.
OK! Now that all the exposition is out of the way we can get to the scene.
I explained all of that because it helps to contextualize the graphic nudity in the scene. Vicki comes from a puritanical upbringing so when she exhibits a newfound sexuality we see how dialectically opposed these characters are. In order to properly showcase the transformation, we had to know the girls’ stark contrast in attitudes towards sex and sexuality.
The scene I’ve chosen happens in the girls locker room and Vicki is completely naked until the very end. This is one of the first exhibitions of her sexuality and a personification of the ideals Mary Lou embodies. She is equal parts comfortable and menacing while being in a state of complete undress, which we would believe to be the polar opposite of Vicki’s traditional beliefs.
After her body is taken over by Mary Lou’s spirit, it appears Vicki has completely changed her behavior and wardrobe to be just as Mary Lou was before she died. This strikes Vicki’s best friend, Monica (Beverley Hendry), as odd and she confronts Vicki.
This confrontation does not go well for Monica and she flees out of the showers while Vicki stalks her through the locker room. The scene ends in a really clever kill that displays the supernatural power Mary Lou possesses, albeit with some not-so-clever fake guts and human remnants.
Alright, that’s it for this kill! The movie is streaming on Amazon Prime and on Shudder and I fully recommend checking it out if you can. It’s a neat little supernatural slasher with a hint of feminism sprinkled in for good measure. Parts are ridiculous, for sure, but it’s fun ridiculous.
Note: I had an issue uploading the video but I was able to find it on YouTube so the link is posted below.
Enjoy the video and check back on Monday for lucky #13 on my list of the Best Horror Movie Kills of All-Time!