Monday, October 8, 2012

Sure, High School Was Hell for a Lot of Us...: "Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss" (1990)

In the third, but not the last, entry in the suffering series, the horror is played for laughs.

Alex (Tim Conlon) is an average high school student, and he is tired of it. His height is average, his shoe size is average, his grades are average, there is nothing special about him except his relationships with his girlfriend Sarah (Cyndy Preston) and best friend Shane (David Stratton). Luckily, Mary Lou Maloney has escaped from hell and is headed back to her old high school.

Mary Lou, a drop dead gorgeous (sorry) Courtney Taylor, was wronged in the past and decides to help Alex. He is soon star of the football team, making the honor roll, and has the love of Mary Lou to thank for it all. The problem is, Mary Lou is killing those who have hindered Alex in the past, and Alex is burying the bodies in the school's football field. Alex's parents celebrate their son's new found popularity and scholastic abilities by giving him a motorcycle, but Sarah and Shane have cut themselves off from him, not knowing who he is any more. The school's prom is fast approaching, and the bodies are found. Alex unwisely dumps Mary Lou, and then she gets really mad.

When a horror comedy works, it can really work. Some of Stuart Gordon's films come to mind, or even Tobe Hooper's. Heck, "Ghostbusters" wasn't perfect, but it had some laughs. This film has the popular distinction of failing as both a comedy and a horror film.

While two people are credited with directing, some of the camera angles just to not work. The physical placement of the camera is all wrong for many scenes, mostly when shoved square in the face of actor Conlon. One time is enough, but the film makers revert back to this angle often. The script has few really funny scenes, and the gallows humor never works at all. The actors are okay, but they are all five to ten years too old for their parts.

The special effects are especially shoddy. Cheap glowing animation punctuates the already cheap gore effects. I can see that this started as a really bizarre bloodbath, but it is trapped by its sequel origins, and never gets anything going. The finale is especially predictable and dopey.

"Prom Night III: The Last Kiss" sucks. Hello Mary Lou, goodbye rental fee. (*) out of five stars.