Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In short: Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (1990)

Extremely average high school student Alex Grey (Tim Conlon) has just about enough being quite this average – and doesn’t ask himself how it’s possible his girlfriend is Sarah (Cynthia/Cyndy Preston) who’s rather bright, rather pretty and rather nice if he’s such a zero.

Alex’s life will definitely become less average, though, for supernatural serial killer 50s prom queen Mary Lou Maloney (Courtney Taylor) has made her escape from hell and starts on a little killing spree. When she encounters Alex, she’s found the perfect man for her: a bit dim-witted, about as decisive as the least decisive thing you can imagine and easily seduced into burying dead bodies in the football field for her. So she becomes his dead girlfriend on the side, murdering his way to popularity and nominal academic success, with very regular intercourse sessions.

It’ll take Alex a bit of time to come around to the fact Mary Lou just might not be the best girlfriend material for non-homicidal maniacs; once he does, he learns Mary Lou isn’t a girl who likes to take “no” for an answer either.

Ron Oliver’s and Peter R. Simpson’s Prom Night III more or less returns to the second film’s murderous ghost Mary Lou Maloney, but where the second one was trying to win the price for most generic late-80s/early-90s supernatural slasher, this sequel is all over the place. Imagine a mix between supernatural slashers like from the bad years of Freddie Krueger – the style where every murder only ever is the set-up for a horrible one-liner that isn’t funny and/or effects that are probably more amusing when you’re twelve – and bad high school comedy – the style where “joke” and “pain” are indistinguishable. Then be bored by the lame stereotyped characters, annoyed by the oh-so-ironic “sexiness”, and not exactly riveted by the murders for forty minutes or so, only to be suddenly pulled awake by the film quite suddenly developing ambitions at telling a deeply dumb metaphorical story about growing up with the realization one will probably never amount to much for the world at large.

After that, when the viewer is still reeling from Prom Night III at least turning into something worth spending some time on, the film makes the next left-turn, and suddenly the fake bizarre of its murders becomes actual strangeness, and things escalate to a point where the film ends up in hell – which of course is a high school full of zombies – where Sarah suddenly turns heroine for fifteen minutes and kills undead high school students with a self-made flame thrower.

Which, obviously, is just as pointless and silly as the film’s first half but does certainly tickle my weirdness bone rather effectively. Then it’s off to a final stinger that makes no sense of all, and I can go to bed somewhat satisfied instead of bored.

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