SLASHER MONTH: Prom Night III: The Last Kiss (1989)

Oh Canada. You brought us the just alight Prom Night, the beyond great and why doesn’t everyone celebrate this movie like they do other inferior films Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the not altogether bad Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil.

Notably, none of those movies relate to one another at all. So go figure, the one film in the series that I never watched ended up the only actual sequel.

That said, the start of the film completely ignores everything we’ve learned before. Mary Lou, now played by Courtney Taylor instead of Lisa Schrage, has been in Hell since she died at a school dance in 1957. But she has a nail file and has been chipping away at the chains that bind her for decades, finally escaping back into our world. As she returns to Hamilton High School — totally in Canada, but overly American thanks to “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and flags a plenty and non-Canadian football — she starts off on the right foot by killing a janitor and using a jukebox to blast the pacemaker out of an old lover’s chest.

Speaking of those American flags, one night totally average high school student Alexander Grey leaves his girlfriend Sarah Monroe (Cynthia Preston, who is in another beyond wild Canadian film, Pin) behind as he soul searches about his total average-ness. He’s discovered by Mary Lou and after some two person push-ups on the stars and bars, he’s under her spell.

It works. His grades go up. He becomes a football hero. And he’s never had better sex ever.

So what’s wrong? Well, Mary Lou is killing everyone in his way.

Like the guidance counselor who doesn’t believe in our protagonist? She gets her face burned off with battery acid. His football rival gets a ball thrown through his stomach. And soon, even Alexander’s slacker best friend Shane gets his heart ripped out.

Alexander is conflicted. He loves his average girlfriend, but she’s already dumped him for a nerd. Well, a nerd who gets killed by AV equipment. And as we’ve already learned about Mary Lou, she will not be stopped when she wants something, even if her female rival has learned how to use a flamethrower.

Ron Oliver wrote the screenplays for the second and third films in this series (and directed this one). The original title was The Haunting of Hamilton High, as there was no plan to connect these to the Prom Night series. The money for this came from Live Entertainment. A few days before filming started, Oliver ended up going to dinner with the family that owned that company, only to learn on Monday that production had been delayed because the sons had killed their mom and dad. You know them as Erik and Lyle Menendez. Another Oliver fact: he and his partner were married by Udo Kier. One more? He wrote and directed several installments of the Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark?

This can’t live up to the proceeding version, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t try. I’ve always loved that Mary Lou is the lone slasher that embraces sex and forces men to become the final survivor — but never lets them live.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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