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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Prom Night III: The Last Kiss/Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil (1989-1992)

"Don't be afraid. I'm just a lonely girl looking for dance."
- Mary Lou (Courtney Taylor)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: February 19, 2004

Stars: Tim Conlon, Courtney Taylor, Nicole de Boer, Alden Kane, James Carver
Other Stars: Cyndy Preston, David Stratton, Roger Dunn, Joy Tanner
Director: Ron Oliver, Peter Simpson, Clay Boris

MPAA Rating: R for sensuality, violence and language
Run Time: 03h:07m:35s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
UPC: 012236146605
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- DC-C D-

DVD Review

There were a total of four films in the lackluster Prom Night horror series, spanning from 1980 through 1992, which now hardly merits a blip on the usual sequel frenzy that most of us are familiar with. To compound the general weirdness of these largely unsatisfying outings, the stories were not even really connected, despite II and III both having the common thread of vengeful dead prom queen Mary Lou Maloney (though she was played by two different actresses). The basic plot link for all of them was that something really had happened in the 1950s and 30-some years later all sorts of evil things start happening to a cast of expendable secondary characters who come together conveniently on the grounds of the original event.

Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (1989)
Directed by Ron Oliver, Peter Simpson
01h:35m:10s

The double feature kicks off with this loose sequel to Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987), about the out-for-revenge, but sexy, ghost of a girl burned alive in 1957 who returns to her old high school 30 years later. It's hard to believe it took two people to direct this, but when compared to the second film on this disc, III plays out like Citizen Kane. To be fair, one can see a vague resemblance to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, what with its haunted high school and the principal referring casually to missing students and mysterious fires. Courtney Taylor is cast in the role Lisa Schrage had in II, as the understandably p.o.'d dead girl-turned-killer Mary Lou Maloney, who during the opening credit sequences escapes from what I assume is supposed to have been Hell, but which looked more like a smoky aerobics class.

As a recently resurrected dead girl she sets her horny eyes on Alex (Tim Conlon), a hunky wiseass who suddenly finds his grades and his sports ability improving once he's locked lips with the sexy Mary Lou. Coarse, obnoxious teachers meet goofy deaths (like ice cream cones through the hands or being hair-dried to death), and this all leads to an inevitable confrontation between Mary Lou and Alex's on-again-off-again girlfriend Sara (Cyndy Preston) in yet another version of Hell, which this time looks like a bad haunted house put on by an under funded community group. No real surprises in III, and the expected mean-spirited characters there appropriate comeuppance, though the film does try very hard to set itself for a sequel that thankfully never came.

Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil (1992)
Directed by Clay Boris
01h:32m:25s

This last entry in the Prom Night library forsakes the only good thing about II and III, namely the wise-cracking killing machine Mary Lou Maloney in favor of what was perceived at a stab a moody thrills. The film centers on the ol' demented priest from 1957 storyline, the kind of Bible-thumping young padre whose mantra is "kill the sluts and whores", something he does during the opening moments. This kind of youth outreach program doesn't sit well with the rest of the gloomy St. Basil Seminary (they have the nerve to call him "evil beyond imagination"), and they keep the twisted Father Jonas (James Carver) locked up in a room for thirty years until he looks like John Walker Lindh, only shaggier. Troubles start when an oversexed set of two young couples spend the night in one of Father Jonas' old haunts, which normally wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that the possessed priest was recently freed from captivity.

Things move incredibly slowly in IV, and there is much pontificating and idle chatter by people we don't really care about doing things that never really manage to propel the story forward, and it only seems to hold back anything remotely horrific from happening. Sure, there are random acts of stigmata (always fun), and the whole ball of wax picks up a little during a scene about an hour in when a couple of nicely done flaming crucifixes are trotted out, but the momentum peters out by the time director Clay Boris falls back on one of those seen-it-a-million-times endings.

Artisan's double-bill packaging of the mismatched Prom Night III: The Last Kiss and Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil is typical of the general unevenness of the whole set of Prom Night pictures. This could have been a moderately fun little disc with both Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and Prom Night III paired up, and viewers could debate over whether Lisa Schrage or Courtney Taylor best captured the evil spirit of a teenager that had been burned alive. Both of those films had occasional flickers of a Joss Whedon-lite vibe to them, and never seemed to take themselves too, too seriously, which unlike the pondering babble of Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil, seems like much more fun.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Both titles are presented in their original full-frame boxiness, but the downside is it looks like the prints were buried in a tank of maple syrup and gravel for twenty years. Colors are awful, looking smeary and blotchy, with impenetrable black levels that turn most night scenes into a game of "guess what just happened." Couple this with grain, nicks, and other assorted detritus, then you have the makings of two ugly looking transfers.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo surround is the solitary option for both films, but neither are particularly memorable. Dialogue was generally clear, but there moments of clipping and minor distortion during some louder sequences. Serviceable for the material, and on par with the flat sound quality you'd get from watching these on an old television.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 48 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The good news is no extras, other than each film is cut into 24 chapters.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Not much here to hang your hat on, other than a few clever kills in Prom Night III, in which Courtney Taylor hams it up nicely as dead prom date Mary Lou Maloney. The second half of this double-bill tries (and fails) to be a serious horror film, and ends up being nothing more than a slow-moving trip that takes forever to get to such brief cinematic gems as a pair of burning humans on lashed to crosses.

 


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