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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Prom Night 3/Prom Night 4



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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted September 06 2003 - 06:52 AM

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Prom Night 3/Prom Night 4






Studio: Artisan
Year: 1989/1992
Rated: R
Film Length: 97/92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Standard (1.33:1)
Audio: DD 2.0 Stereo Surround (both films)
Subtitles: English (both films)




Oh, how do I love the rules of an 80’s slasher film. It was very simple, if a film made money then a sequel would follow pretty much no matter what. Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis starred in 1980’s Prom Night, which wasn’t a huge hit when released but thanks to video a cult following got behind the film. Seven years later we were greeted with Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2, which many consider better than the original film. Apparently horror fans rented enough of those so Prom Night 3 hit two years later with yet another sequel still to follow. I haven’t seen any of the sequels and really didn’t care for the original film so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this new release by Artisan.

Mary Lou Maloney (Courtney Taylor) is in hell burning for her sins, which include multiple murders. While dancing on stage to a sexy tune she’s able to break her chains and escape hell, which sends her back to Hamilton High School where her spirit walks around the hallways. Back in the normal world student Alex (Tim Conlon) is your typical average guy who really doesn’t have too much going for him. Although he has a beautiful girlfriend named Sarah everything else is falling apart. He’s flunking high school, which will cause him from going to Med School and he’s still a second stringer on the football team.

One night Alex goes into school to get a book so he can study and that’s when he and Mary Lou first catch a look at one another. Within seconds the two are wrapped up in the American flag making passionate love while Alex’s real girlfriend is waiting in the car. Alex must have been some lover because Mary Lou falls in love with him and decides that she must do whatever it takes to make him popular and that includes murder. She begins killing off anyone who pushes Alex around from teachers to other students.

Prom Night 3 is a horrible movie that really has nothing going for it. It’s obvious in the first five minutes that the directors (yes there are two credited) are going for a horror comedy but they fail to bring either to the film. Where the first film jumped on the Halloween bandwagon this one here tries to be Freddy Kruger. Every time someone is killed we get Mary Lou giving stupid one-liners that are never funny and eventually wear on the nerves. The death scenes are also a joke but we do get to see someone killed by an ice cream cone.

I’m really not sure who this film was meant for. I seriously doubt the mainstream crowd was rushing out to pick this thing up so you’d think the director’s would have had enough sense to make this for those renting it. They should have known the story was horrid and that the cast wasn’t going to be bringing them much so with horror films like they usually throw in the gore and nudity. Well, we get a few gory scenes but nothing very good. The running joke is a guy who gets turned into a banana split but it’s not funny when it happens and the running gags certainly aren’t funny either. Courtney Taylor runs around half naked several times yet the director’s just tease us with the nudity because there isn’t any. Again, who was this film aimed at? In the end, Prom Night 3 is another of the many sequels, which should have never been made.

Prom Night 4 tries to mix the slasher genre with a bit of The Exorcist, although in the end it seems more like a death threat to the Catholic Church than anything else.

The Killer: In 1957 Father Jonas (James Carver) suffers a nervous breakdown and begins speaking to God. He asks God for the strength to kill all the bad kids out there sinning by having sex before marriage. Father Jonas then picks up a knife and heads for Hamilton High School where the prom is being held. He finds two bad kids in the back of a car having sex so he slices their throats. When the Church finds out they lock Father Jonas in the basement where he stays for the next thirty years.

The Kids: Let’s see if you’ve ever seen these type of characters in a horror film. Meagan (Nicole de Boer) is a Catholic girl saving herself for marriage but she’s starting to think that maybe sex isn’t a bad thing after all. Her best friend Laura (Joy Tanner) is a slut who tries to sleep with anyone she can. Meagan’s boyfriend is a good guy who’s willing to wait until she’s ready to have sex. Laura’s boyfriend is a dumb jock too stupid to know anything.

Thirty years after Father Jonas slaughtered the two sexual teens he escapes from the basement and heads out to finish God’s work by killing any teens having sex. Our group of friends go to the prom, have a good time but then lie to their parents about where they’re going afterwards and sneaks off to a house to party. Before long they are drinking alcohol and having sex, which means Father Jonas is there to make them pay for their sins.

Prom Night 4 is actually a decent little slasher that doesn’t try to be anything more than a film full of gore, violence and sex. The one strange thing however is that it seems the director holds a personal grudge against the Catholic Church and at every other corner he is bashing them for something. You’ve got a conspiracy of hiding the killer who just happened to have been molested as a child. You’ve got the Cardinal covering up other murders by making them look like suicides. Why all of this is going on in a mindless slasher is beyond me.

Outside of the constant bashing we’ve got a decent little movie, which is better than the first and third films. It’s full of your typical cliché characters, which have appeared in hundreds of these types of films. You’ve got the typical bad acting, bad script and bad direction, which makes some of these films so entertaining. The four characters are all silly enough to keep the viewer interested until their number is brought upon by the killer. The death scenes aren’t too original but gore fans should be pleased with them. Overall, Prom Night 4 isn’t anything original but it’s bad enough to be slightly entertaining.


NOTE---I’ve never seen PN3 before this viewing but I did notice one scene appears to be from a television cut. When Alex is in the hallways talking to a friend he walks off angrily and says “bullshit”. On the DVD however he only gets “bull” out and then there’s a silent beep, which appears to be a cut. I haven’t seen this before so I’m not sure if all versions are like this but it did strike me as strange here.


VIDEO---Both movies are shown full frame (4:3), which is the correct ratio. PN3 looks very good considering it was made for video. The colors have good detail throughout, although it’s certainly not breathtaking or anything like that. The darker scenes also look very good without any noticeable grain or scratches. There are some speckles that pop up here and there but they’re never distracting. You can easily tell that PN4 is taken from a videotape because all the colors are faded making the film look like a second generation bootleg than a DVD. Many of the darker scenes are full of dirt and are a bit overly dark as well.

AUDIO---Both come with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Surround tracks. PN3 is pretty good with clear dialogue and the music sounds nice as well. However there are a few problems here and there. During the opening credits there’s a lot of static in the soundtrack and this problem occurs a couple other times during the film. PN4, like the video, it’s easy to tell the sound was taken directly from a video. There aren’t any real problems but don’t expect your speakers to get any sort of workout.

EXTRAS---Just an insert.

OVERALL---Since I didn’t care too much for the original I really wasn’t expecting much out of the third and fourth films in the series. Part three was a horrid movie that should be avoided at all costs but the fourth is so bad that you die-hard horror fans should enjoy it. Sadly part four features the worst V/A of the two. Still, for $10 if you’re a fan you might as well pick these up.


Release Date: September 23, 2003

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   rhett

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Posted September 07 2003 - 06:16 AM

I quite like the PROM NIGHT series, and I think PROM NIGHT 4 is more than just a "so bad its entertaining" horror excursion. Few of the slasher films ever explore the relationship between the slasher's murders and morality. The priest acts as a redeemer, killing those having immoral sexual intercourse before marriage. Here is a movie that actually tries to add reason to the killings, rather than just mindless bloodshed. It is a rarity in the genre, and definitely worth seeking out.

PROM NIGHT 3 is disposable entertainment, but still not that bad.

I'd definitely recommend getting the disc though, especially if you are a horror fan. PROM NIGHT 4 is a little Canadian gem.
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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Robert Ringwald

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Posted September 07 2003 - 10:56 AM

I'm still not sure how 1.33:1 would be correct. These were shot for DTV most likely, but even DTV features often are filmed in 1.85:1 in case they're shown overseas.

1.33:1 may expose the entire film, however, I would pretty much assume these were to be matted for theatrical releases.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted September 07 2003 - 11:02 AM

I don't recall PN3 or 4 getting a theatrical release. I think all the HOWLING sequels after 3 were straight to video as well.

I grew up watching these films and reading Fangoria and to the best of my memory they were straight to video. They were made for video so I'm not sure if the director's had any thoughts on the matting issue.


I'm not sure Rhett. He was killing the teens for basically the same reasons as Jason or many others. The rules were pretty much the same throughout the decade. The "bad people" die while the "good" live. I'm a fan of SCREAM so perhaps I'm putting too much into this. Posted Image

I used to watch these films non-stop as a kid but as I've gotten older I've pretty much given up on the countless sequels for other films. I've often went back to childhood favorites and really hated the film. That's why I'm really looking forward to SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT/SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 2. I remember thinking the first was one of the best slashers of the decade and I'm not ashamed to admit that I even liked part 2.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   rhett

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Posted September 07 2003 - 12:42 PM

I cannot even recall a death in PROM NIGHT 4 that wasn't sex related. It sets it up explictly at the start too, when the priest
kills the couple getting it on in the car.
All those teens who go to the cabin are in for the loving as well.

I've got to agree with you on SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, what a classic slasher that one is. I can't wait for Anchor Bay's DVD. "Punish!" Posted Image
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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Robert Ringwald

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Posted September 07 2003 - 01:43 PM

Well, hopefully they are OAR.Posted Image