The thing about prom night three, is that it feels like this director watched 1988’s Night of the Demons, and decided to do a version of it grafted onto the prom night series. Mary Lou is back but it’s a much less convoluted story – more of a very straightforward slasher rather than the slow possession that we got from the previous film. It’s a very stylized looking to me, but then again that’s what we come to expect – each entry in the series seems to have its own unique look and feel.
In Prom Night 3, Mary Lou is a ghost who is attached to a young man – trying to do things to help him. Helpful acts like murdering the guidance counselor or changing his GPA. I’m not entirely clear as to how this helps her, it doesn’t seem like her goal this time around is to return to life but rather merely a infatuation with this boy. Nevertheless, the bloodbath ensues and we get treated to some fun and inventive kills ask the story unfolds. If this movie wasn’t direct to video, it really should have been. In most ways it doesn’t feel like it continues the narrative in any significant way. Indeed, the prom itself is clearly a minor component of this film – just a happenstance background for the final act .
That’s not to say it’s a bad film, I actually really liked it – I just don’t know what it’s doing using the name “prom night ” or “Mary Lou Maloney “. I’m definately inclined to pull this out again though in the future – particularly if I ever watch any of these films again, or even if I were to take another look at the Night of the Demons series… This would make a great number four
Night of the Demons part three has a fairly silly cold open involving a cop coming to investigate something going on at Hull House. Still, it sets the tone for the film – fun without taking itself to seriously.
Again, I’m surprised to see how long this one took to get out. It’s another three or four years when I would have sworn it was filmed back to back with the second movie. Seriously, if you look at those VHS covers it certainly seems like it. Indeed, if you look at Angela’s look in general it also fuels that suspicion.
Speaking of Angela, She feels more like a ghost then ever here, and it’s a good fit for her. She has more scenes with her “normal” look, yet still manages to feel eerie – cleaner and more ethereal than she ever was in the first movie.
This film frontloads all the scenes that don’t take place in Hull House and give us a distinctly different motivation for coming to the place. We’ve got a bunch of people on the run from the law after a shoot out at the local liquor store, and Hull House is the place they land while trying to evade the cops.
The look of the place is an odd choice though, the upstairs of the house are comfortable and clean and decorated. We get the impression that the lower levels (and possibly the top floors) are still filthy since they were use footage from the first film again but The main action takes place on this very different set.
This set up also presents with the cliche of the psycho and paranoid gunman who is a counterpoint to the supernatural threat of the film – reasonably predictable for a late series sequel. In some ways it makes up for the lack of other monsters throughout the first and second acts. For more than half of this movie we only have Angela stocking through the house. She is at the height of her powers admittedly, and at this point a fully developed villain but she doesn’t really get any daemonic helpers until we are well into the third act whereas in the first film it seems like we got to the monsters earlier.
When they show up however, it’s spectacular. It’s early days for morphing FX, shortly after T2 but they’re putting them to really good use in this film, enhancing already impressive make ups. The house gets darker and foggier as the movie goes on, enhancing the atmosphere and setting us up for more and more inventive kills – the nightmare on elm street vibe is strong here.
All in all, it’s a strong sequel – not necessarily the best of the series, but enough I think, to have warranted a fourth entry… Sadly it seems the timing just wasn’t right, after all the 90s were not a great time for horror and we’d have to wait over a decade until we got a new release – by then, it would be a remake.