"Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II" (citywide) is the "Blue Velvet" of high school horror pictures. Director Bruce Pittman and writer Ron Oliver have treated the genre as but a point of departure for both a comment on American Gothic small-town morality and a nightmare fantasy with imagery reminiscent of Cocteau and Dali. It has considerably more style and imagination than the original 1980 "Prom Night," which was also Canadian-made and to which it is not a sequel but rather an ambitious variation.
Back in 1957 at the Hamilton High senior prom, its queen, the blatantly promiscuous Mary Lou Maloney (Lisa Schrage), is about to be crowned when tragedy strikes, the result of an enraged boyfriend's prank gone awry. Thirty years later Mary Lou's vengeful spirit is inadvertently uncorked, eventually possessing pretty Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon), whose angelic blond looks and quiet demeanor are totally at odds with Mary Lou's aggressive, brazen behavior.
Pittman and Oliver view contemporary high school life as somewhat less than inspiring, but they and special-effects expert Jim Doyle spend most of their time devising some stunningly surreal supernatural and dream sequences that evolve from the most mundane of everyday situations. For example, in poor, tormented Vicki's mind a volleyball net turns into a vast, sticky spider's web threatening to entrap her. In another impressive sequence Vicki is simply sitting at a schoolroom desk when Mary Lou's ghastly arms reach out from a blackboard. As if magnetized, Vicki is swiftly pulled into them, with the blackboard turning into a pool of churning brackish water in which she struggles to keep from drowning. Admirably, the film makers manage to sustain their nightmare logic from start to finish.