Film Review: Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

Also known as: Prom Night 2 (shortened title), The Haunting of Hamilton High (Germany)
Release Date: May 11th, 1987 (Cannes)
Directed by: Bruce Pittman
Written by: Ron Oliver
Music by: Paul Zaza
Cast: Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis, Lisa Schrage, Richard Monette

Simcom Limited, Allarcom Limited, British Columbia Television, Norstar Releasing, Alliance Atlantis, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, 97 Minutes

Review:

“It’s not who you come with, it’s who takes you home.” – Mary Lou Maloney

Surprisingly, I had never seen this movie before. But thanks to it being featured on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, I finally got to check it out. I also had no idea that this wasn’t an actual sequel to the first film and was it’s own thing that only took the Prom Night title after it was filmed. I guess that was to market it better.

Originally titled The Haunting of Hamilton High, this cheap Canadian horror film stands out well on its own and maybe would’ve had more of a cult following had it stuck to that original title. And even though its premise borrows quite heavily from Carrie, it’s different enough to not just be a simple ripoff of that film.

Also, like Carrie, the girl with the magical powers that ruins the prom is an innocent victim. However, she is played up here as evil because I guess sluts are bad. But before she died, she was simply horny and cheating on her boyfriend. Now her boyfriend burns her alive but it was an accident. But the adult version of him, played by Michael Ironside, is pretty much a target when Mary Lou comes back from the dead 30 years later.

So with magic and the undead involved, this isn’t a straight up slasher like its predecessor in name only. This is one of those supernatural slashers, where the evil presence possesses other people and also uses a sort of telekinetic power. Or she just attacks as an invisible ghost, it’s hard to say which one it is for sure when she murders the pregnant teen by hanging her. But later on, she does telekinetically explode neon signs, which impale a girl.

While this is not a great movie, it doesn’t need to be. It does its job, it entertains and it leaves horny teenagers in its wake. What more do you want with an ’80s horror picture? Sure, it could have gored it up a bit more but it’s not completely lacking in that regard.

Also, Michael Ironside is a fucking bawse!

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Carrie and all its sequels/reboots, as well as the other Prom Night movies even if they are unrelated.

Film Review: Turbo Kid (2015)

Release Date: January 26th, 2015 (Sundance)
Directed by: Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Written by: Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Music by: Jean-Philippe Bernier, Jean-Nicolas Leupi
Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffery, Michael Ironside

EMA Films, Timpson Films, Epic Pictures Group, 95 Minutes

Review:

There seems to be a lot of modern films that are homages to bygone cinema. We’ve had modern grindhouse pictures and now 80s style flicks have been popping up here and there. Turbo Kid is an homage to 80s post-apocalyptic action movies but it is also much more than that.

This retro formula doesn’t always work out for the nostalgic filmmakers behind these sort of pictures. Turbo Kid, however, was an overwhelmingly positive experience for me.

Unlike the very short and similar retro epic Kung Fury, this film can follow a narrative and stay on track without becoming distracted by gimmickry and trying to do too much too quickly.

This movie also has some gravitas in the fact that it features the villainous presence of Michael Ironside, who always gave us great villains back in the 1980s. I fondly remember him as the evil warlord Overdog in the mediocre but still cool Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, a movie featuring a young Molly Ringwald in a post-apocalyptic setting before her breakout a year later in Sixteen Candles.

This film also has an Indiana Jones clone who has a buddy that is a Mola Ram clone (the villain from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). There is also a character that resembles the characters Thunder and Rain from John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China. Apart from that, other characters have little flourishes that many will find familiar.

The other bad guy and the coolest thing in the movie is a metal skull-faced dude that shoots circular saw blades like Chinese stars with the velocity of a shotgun. He’s obviously an homage to many of the Mad Max villains but a lot more extreme.

The main characters are played by Munro Chambers and Laurence Leboeuf, two young stars that I am going to pay more attnetion to. Chambers is the title character and he evolves into the heroic Turbo Kid. Leboeuf is the cute, sweet, goofy and lovable friendship robot Apple. Leboeuf was just a perfect character in every way and she kept the film grounded, making it something really genuine where this thing could have easily just been an insane gore festival relying solely on nostalgia and cheap tricks.

And yes, the film is incredibly gory. It is so over the top though that it isn’t really gross or offensive, it is mostly comedic in the right way. Essentially, this is supposed to be a living comic book and it is.

I can’t end this without mentioning the score by Le Matos. It fits the tone and style of the film perfectly with its 80s synth tunes. It is a throwback to the soundtracks heard in films like Miami Connection and a lot of the pictures put out by Cannon Films. It fits in today with a lot of the retro wave artists who are making modern music that sounds like 80s film tunes – artists such as Kavinsky, Lazerhawk, Miami Nights 1984, Dynatron, Timecop1983, VHS Dreams, Mitch Murder and others.

Everything about Turbo Kid just feels right. It hit all the right notes but it gave us something that is much more than the sum of its parts. Accomplishing a feat like that is rare and I hope that the sequel, which is in preproduction, can live up to the high bar set by this film.

For those of you with Netflix, this is streaming right now.