Tag Archives: death on campus

Love is pain

prom night iii last kiss 1989PROM NIGHT III: THE LAST KISS

3.5 Stars  1990/18/96m

“Alex thinks he’s died and gone to heaven. He’s half right.”

Directors: Ron Oliver & Peter Simpson / Writer: Ron Oliver / Cast: Tim Conlon, Cyndy Preston, Courtney Taylor, David Stratton, Jeremy Ratchford, Dylan Neal, Brock Simpson, Juno Mills Cockell.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “Experts agree his psychotic killing spree could be the result of bad dietary habits, rock n’ roll lyrics, and too many horror movies.”


Despite being as far removed from the original 1980 film as humanly possible, this second outing for prom queen from hell Mary Lou Maloney (now played by Taylor) actually ranks as a witty and often hilarious Elm Street Xerox.

After escaping from hell once again, Mary Lou sets her sights on high school Mr Average Alex Grey, who complains to his brainiac girlfriend, Sarah, that he’s average height, with average shoe size, and will most likely live on a street named after a tree (Elm Street, perhaps?) This feeling is compounded by his guidance counsellor telling him he’ll never get into med school.

But then it’s a case of Hello Mary Lou, Goodbye Heart. Or rather, goodbye various staff and students, as she goes to the zany place of psycho in love and begins offing anybody who threatens his success of their deranged love affair. Krueger-inspired sequences include killer ice creams, a blender in the mouth, exploding pacemaker, a battery acid bath, and the football toss from hell.

prom night 3 1990

As ever in these man-falls-for-demon-woman opuses, Alex eventually realises Mary Lou’s predilection for murder is a road to hell and tries to rid himself of her and get back with Sarah, but ML won’t give up easily and sets about framing Alex for murder after bodies buried on the football field are unearthed, and turning up everywhere to remind him of her power.

It wouldn’t be a Prom Night without a prom, though it’s almost an afterthought as Alex breaks out (and kidnaps a cop played by series-regular Brock Simpson) to rescue Sarah, which culminates in both of them taking on Mary Lou in hell. Out to save her man, Sarah encounters zombies, and the jukebox from hell, which fires 45s at lethal speed.

The incidental music from the original creeps in during one scene, which provides a brief echo of the central death-at-the-prom motif as a victim-to-be totters naively away from supervision to investigate a strange sound.

prom night 3 1990

The Last Kiss succeeds where the previous film faltered with a mix of sarcastic and goofball comedy, Conlon’s appealing Bruce Campbell-esque charisma, a good dose of 50s nostalgia and tunes, and the establishment of Mary Lou as a fitting female counterpart to Freddy. The film went to video outside of Canada and the storyline was abandoned for a return to slasher fundamentals for Prom Night IV two years later, but by the 90s things were looking bad even for Freddy, so it’s likely for the best they laid Mary Lou to rest hereafter.

Blurb-of-interest: Courtney Taylor was in 1999 cheapo flick Camp Blood.

Fashion Fatale

sorority house massacre 1986 cover

SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE

2 Stars  1986/18/86m …or 74m

“Who’ll survive the final exam?”

Director/Writer: Carol Frank / Cast: Angela O’Neill, Wendy Martel, Pamela Ross, Nicole Rio, John C. Russell, Joe Nassi, Marcus Vaughter, Vinnie Bilancio, Gillian Frank.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “What’s with Beth?” / “Her aunt died.” / “But that was weeks ago…”


“It must have all started the moment I entered the house…” says a girl in a hospital bed. FLASHBACK TIME!

Sorority House Massacre - where the fashions are deadlier than any nutjob with a knife. I paid £0.01 for this DVD. Seriously. And I still feel robbed.

This brazen Halloween clone was directed by a crew member from The Slumber Party Massacre, but gone is all that playfulness, replaced by what could well be the most 80s movie of the 80s.

sorority house massacre courteney cox

Beth – Courteney Cox-a-like O’Neill – comes to stay at the sorority house Theta Peter something or other where her friend Linda lives, intent on scoping it out to possibly pledge in the future. But no sooner does she enter than a weird feeling creeps up on her, the feeling of deja vu, and her nightmares begin: Creepy dolls, blood dripping on a china tea set, a trio of little girls warning her away blah blah blah.

sorority house massacre dolls

Across town/state/nation, a guy in an asylum begins twitching and then screaming: HE AND BETH ARE PSYCHICALLY LINKED! Who is he? How does he know her? Why does — oh, fuck it, we all know he’s her brother who flipped and killed the family in that house thirteen years earlier. It takes the cast a good hour to work this out though.

While loon-guy breaks out and steals the station wagon that Michael Myers appropriated and a hunting knife for good measure, Beth tries to fit in with the other sorority girls who are remaining at the house over Memorial Weekend. In between hallucinations of the asylum man in mirrors n’ shit, Beth finds the time to dress in accordance with the others, i.e. awful:

sorority house massacre awful clothes

Final Girl noted the presence of the extra at the back there and declared her ‘Banana Orbison’ in her review, and I can’t come up with anything more suitable. Amazing. It’s all just… so… amazing.

One girl asks Beth: “Do you have anything that will go with this?” Yes, fire. And lots of it.

As if this isn’t terrifying enough, Sorority House Massacre commits its first big continuity transgression. Now, the American version of the film clocks in at 74 minutes, while the UK VHS I saw in the 90s ran for 86. Terrible cuts? Better gore? No. More clothes. More scenes of the girls talking about clothes. Or hair. Or boys.

In one such scene, soro sisters Linda and Sara meet on their way back to the house and Linda has totally different hair. Like, completely different, only to cut back to a scene clearly shot some time earlier where she’s back to the old style in the blink of an eye.

They congregate and decide to make the most of their rule of the house by… trying on Cindy’s clothes!!!11!!!1!

This is Cindy in an earlier scene:

sorority house massacre cindy

What kind of fashionista? She calls this ‘fantasy in blancmange’.

Sorority House Massacre stamps its 80s card once again as we are dragged kicking and screaming into a fashion montage. While Beth sits on the bed looking pensive, Linda, Sara, and Tracy don Cindy’s wardrobe, a.k.a. the possible Gateway to Hell.

The girls pose and doo-wop to the kind of saxophone music used in any given 80s breakfast TV show. It is pain.

sorority house massacre awful clothes

C’mon, if Satan didn’t send these garments, who the fuck did?

Later, they receive a delivery of weird Native American ware for a party. The guys come over. Here are the guys:

sorority house massacre the guys

‘Swoon’.

The guys stick around, Beth has more dramas and lets Linda hypnotise her to try and work out where the bad dreams are coming from, while one of the guys relays the story of the murders that occurred in that very house! Beth ‘sees’ a knife hidden in the fireplace in her state of hypnosis which turns out to be legit there, and everyone stares at it for a bit:

sorority house massacre

One of the boyfriends leaves and the killer finally shows up and stabs him. Then Tracy and Craig go outside to have sex in the teepee and the killer gets Tracy. Sorority House Massacre returns yet again to the isle of bad continuity:

sorority house massacre 1986 nudity

sorority house massacre 1986 goof

sorority house massacre 1986 nudity

Finally alert to the presence of the killer, it’s soon just the three remaining girls versus the loon, who sees each one in turn as one of his slain sisters, having to re-kill them before getting to Beth, who still hasn’t worked out she’s the surviving sister. Tenants of sisterhood, sororities, woah, deep thematics or what?

An attempt to use the fire ladder to climb down to safety is thwarted, and when the killer starts to come up, the girls throw the ladder hooks out, only for him to JUMP FROM THE GROUND AND THROUGH A SECOND STOREY WINDOW.

sorority house massacre

More teenagers die, Beth is the last girl – duh – and finally sticks her brother where it hurts. Cut back to hospital bed, last second hallucinated shock thingy, credits.

Wow, 74 minutes never felt so long. Imagine being British in the 80s and having to trawl through those extra twelve minutes of clothes and hair!?

A bad movie lover’s dream, Sorority House Massacre may suck harder than a Pittsburgh hooker, but it’s occasionally effective: Beth’s dream of the china tea set is suitably weird, and there’s flashes of decent photography, and O’Neill makes for a capable heroine, even if all her efforts are bogged down by mechanical performances (the shrink is quite good), characters with a collective IQ lower than a spoon, and offering up absolutely nothing surprising.

But you still need to see it. Need to.

Blurb-of-interest: Pamela Ross was later in MoonStalker; Nicole Rio was in semi-slasher The Zero Boys.

VIP’s of Slasherdom: Radish

Being brutally honest, there’s not much going on in Final Exam. Sure, I love it and it made it to the Top 100 ’round here, but as far as seminal 80s slasher films go, it’s probably not going to be remembered by many.

The reason I like it, apart from superbly likeable final girl Courtney, is that it put more effort into character than many contemporaries. And as such, we celebrate one of its most memorable facets – Radish.

final exam radish 1981 joel s. rice

 “It’s happening… the psychopaths are here!”

What’s he do?: Radish is the know-all type at Lanier College, celebrating the end of his exams by opening a bottle of Bourbon (was it Bourbon? I can’t remember) and finally working up the nerve to tell best friend Courtney that he kinda, sorta, might like her…

But isn’t he…? Textually, no, and I’ve no idea if Joel S. Rice is, but you wouldn’t need much in the way of intuitive deduction skills to conclude it from his camp delivery and general… ‘swishyness’. VeVo does not discriminate though (duh!)

Why we love him: Radish goes all out to save the day, after failing to convince the police of the threat, his first thought is to save Courtney – which doesn’t end so well for him.

Seems that Rice went on to enjoy a notable career as a producer. Bonus yays.

Films for a slow day…

rush week 1989RUSH WEEK

2 Stars  1989/18/92m

“There’s a killer on the campus!”

Director: Bob Bralver / Writers: Russell V. Manzatt & Michael W. Leighton / Cast: Pamela Ludwig, Dean Hamilton, Roy Thinnes, Don Grant, Courtney Gebhart, John Donovan, Todd Eric Andrews, Laura Burkett, Toni Lee, Dominick Brascia, Kathleen Kinmont, Gregg Allman.

Body Count: 5


You won’t be rushing to recommend this relatively bloodless hashing of the slasher and detective genres, made for the teen audience, which features a campus Scream-like killer who brings purification to young ladies who pose for naughty photographs to pay their college costs.

Pamela Ludwig is a student reporter piecing together the mystery, and Kathleen Kinmont has a minimal role as the first victim. Unfortunately, Rush Week takes things too slowly and never really escapes its own pitfalls long enough to build adequate amounts of tension and when the action finally does kick in it’s too little too late. Still, it should keep you guessing for at least a few minutes (despite wasting the opportunity for quite a good twist that would make it even more like Scream) even if the box makes it sound ten times more interesting than it really is.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kathleen Kinmont was in Halloween 4; Dominick Brascia was Joey in Friday the 13th Part V and also directed Evil Laugh.

Good girl gone bad

promnight2HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II

2.5 Stars  1987/18/93m

“You can’t keep a bad girl down.”

A.k.a. The Haunting of Hamilton High

Director: Bruce Pittman / Writer: Ron Oliver / Cast: Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis, Lisa Schrage, Richard Monette, Terri Hawkes, Beverley Hendry, Brock Simpson, Beth Gondek.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “I tell you guys, she’s possessed: Linda Blairsville.”


Hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart goes the old song, and it’s quite apt in this case.

High school moniker aside, there’s nothing that links this Elm Street-snorting film with the 1980 revenge slasher, giving credence to the notion that it was originally intended to be a standalone affair.

Prom night. 1957. Hamilton High. Free n’ easy Mary Lou Maloney is caught by her date getting it on with another guy. Her jilted beau intends to humiliate her once she is crowned Queen of the Prom, but ends up setting her on fire in front of the whole school.

Thirty years later, mousy goody two shoes and prom queen hopeful Vicki (Lyon) unleashes Mary Lou’s vengeful spirit, which begins to turn her crazy in an attempt at full on possession to have the moment of prom glory she was robbed of. And, naturally, both of Mary Lou’s suitors have grown up to be the high school principal and the local priest respectively.

marylou1Meanwhile, Vicki’s friends slowly – very slowly – begin to fall victim to Mary Lou’s magical tantrums, including a girl squashed by lockers, electrocution via the most 80s of 80s school computers, and impalement by falling decor.

The Canadian 80s qualities shine through in a cheesy, endearing way, with plenty of day-glo, florescent lights, and beyond horrific fashion choices, underscored by one of Vicki’s friends telling her her fifties look is a crime against fashion. By this point, Mary Lou has somehow sucked her through a blackboard and possessed her completely – she makes out with her dad, throws her puritan mother through a door, and walks totally naked around the changing rooms stalking a friend in a weird pseudo lesbianic scene, fitfully culminating in the big prom finale that manages to channel both Carrie and Elm Street 2, as Mary Lou’s charred corpse literally busts its way out of Vicki.

marylou2Overall, the film goes through the motions of any possession opus, tossing in a handful of demises, crucially failing to ‘properly’ do away with the stock bitchy girl, who is summarily killed by a rod that falls from the ceiling at the dance, but at least it has some decent FX work and an interesting villain. Prom Night III: The Last Kiss sees the return of Mary Lou and wisely ups the laughs, resulting in a better film experience.

Blurbs-of-interest: Terri Hawkes was in Killer Party; Michael Ironside’s other slasher credits include Visiting Hours, American Nightmare, Children of the Corn: Revelation, Fallen Angels, and Reeker; Brock Simpson appears in all four Prom Night films in different roles.

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