Okay, serious question – why did they keep making these movies? I mean, I find it difficult to believe that there was there a rabid audience clamoring for more prom night films every year in the way they were for Freddy and Jason movies. I have a very difficult time even imagining there are those remote groups of diehard devotees for this particular franchise the way there are with hellraiser and phantasm fans. I mean, there is no central figure or premise for someone to latch onto. Prom Night 4 follows the established tradition of each film having basically nothing to do with the previous. Indeed, in this film our group of protagonists don’t even make it to the prom. Their destination is a weekend alone at an old house – one that used to be a monastery.
This film is another straightforward story about a catholic priest turned avenging angel – slicing and dicing that which he considers “unholy “. I’d bristle if the trope wasn’t so common.
Someone’s picked up those night of the Demons references again by the way – we have a swooping racing crane shot through abandon hallways. We have a slow push in to frame. Even that large cavernous living room they hunker down and feels much like the one we saw in Night of the Demons – perhaps it’s just a standard look. You could just as easily be Collinwood from Dark Shadows, but I really feel like this film makers are pulling cues from those films. This one feels just a tad more watered down – almost like a TV film, but with just enough edge to push into direct video territory. I miss the blood and gore of the previous movies, but it’s understandable – this movie was filmed during that period we were entering where the MPAA was seriously cracking down on blood in films – we’d have fairly dry horror for the next 10 years. I also miss the supernatural element, though I have to admit – it’s to their credit that they tried to get the series back to Its stalker/slasher roots. The flick is made particularly interesting by the inclusion of Nicole Debor as our final girl- I of course remember her best to ask the actress to replace Terry Farrell as Dax on the last season of Deep Space 9. My familiarity with the actress, actually makes me want to root for her more! There is a real punch the air moment with bug spray that I genuinely felt myself cheering for her. Nevertheless, she is still betraying the innocent and optimistic adorable kind of character she always does… It’s even present when I watch her in Cube. She’s definitely got a type. I’m still trying to decide whether I think she’s cuter with long hair or short.
This film feels like a great missed opportunity. Once again the whole prom night been is pushed to the background – almost making me wonder if the script wasn’t written first and then adapted into the franchise. But it seems to me like a great deal of catholic mysticism and religious horror could have been injected into this film making it far more interesting then The by the numbers slasher we end up with.
Unlike the second and third films, which are endlessly rewatchable, this one is utterly forgettable. AND LONG. One of the good things about the rest of these films is that the mercifully short – so whose idea was it to make this one two hours? Repeated sequels should definitely not be longer than Star Wars. I
There’s many films that would be improved by trying to stand on their own – but this is not one of them… Even without The prom night name, this would have absolutely been a forgotten VHS rental for me back in the day. One watch and never thought of again. You can probably skip this one, and It’s probably a good thing that the series ended here.
Or did it?