You'd be hard pressed to find a more slashery slasher flick than the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis vehicle Prom Night. It's got virtually every element that defines the subgenre: an opening flashback that sets the "revenge" theme in motion, a holiday or special event around which to center the murders, archetypical characters, a Final Girl, ineffective/absent adults. The only slasher trope missing is the "remote location", yet all the elements add up to one dud of a movie- a "classic" dud, but a dud nonetheless. It's surprising, then, that such a mediocre flick would spawn 3 sequels...even more surprising is the fact that the three sequels have nothing to do with the first film...even MORE surprising is the fact that Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil (1992) has nothing to do with the two sequels that precede it, even. What's not so surprising, much to my chagrin, is that Prom Night IV is not a good movie.
We begin our sordid tale way back in 1957. It's Prom Night and a few horny teens are...gettin' down to business, if you catch my drift.
I mean they're doing it.
And by "it" I mean...you know...hee hee hee...I mean I don't mean the dishes.
Nor do I mean "The Hustle".
I mean they're having sex in the backseats of their cars. Sheesh, are you so naive? Anyway, along comes Father Jonas (James Carver) to "cleanse all the sluts and whores".
Man, it's always with the cleansing of the sluts and whores with these psycho types, you know? Oh, and by "cleanse" he means "kill". Father Jonas does some stabbing and is soon locked away in the church basement by the church elders. Yeah, they don't actually do much about Father Jonas's little cuckoo nutso killing act besides sort of sweeping him under the rug. You know how those wacky Catholics can be!
Suddenly, as if by magic, the year is 1991. Father Colin (Brock Simpson) is the new caretaker of Father Jonas; yes, Jonas is still alive. He's alive, he's apparently possessed, he's being kept catatonic by daily injections of mystery drugs, and he's wicked hairy.
Father Colin, the young upstart that he is, wants to see if he can "get through" to Jonas. First order of business: "getting through" all that Cousin Itt-flavored nastiness. Colin shaves Jonas's face and puts his hair in a stylin' 1992-era ponytail. Second order of business: stopping those stupid injections! Surely Father Colin can exorcise whatever's troubling poor Father Jonas.
Trivia interlude! Brock Simpson appeared in all four Prom Night flicks in different roles...wow! Impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!
Now where was I...ah, yes. Father Colin is an idiot. With those mystery drugs out of his system, Father Jonas is back in black...and action. He kills Colin and is soon off to find some more of those pesky sluts and whores to "cleanse".
Lucky for Father Jonas, he's awakened on Prom Night! You see, Prom Night is the night when sluts and whores walk the earth. All you need to do to make them appear is hold a baby's-breath-and-carnation corsage in one long-gloved hand, drink Boone's Farm Strawberry or Mad Dog 20/20 from a champagne flute emblazoned with "Prom Night" in fancy script, rock back and forth methodically to "Seasons Change" by Expose, and say "Seven Minutes in Heaven" 5 times. Legend has it that a whore or a slut will appear right behind you!
Two modern-day horny couples decide to forgo Prom Night altogether, however, and have a weekend getaway at...gasp...an old monastery. This decision raised some interesting questions for me as an audience member, among them:
*"Ye old monastery" doesn't really have anything to do with Father Jonas, so why make a big deal about it?
*Why is it snowing on Prom Night?
*How, o filmmakers, will you hold my interest for the next hour-plus now that you've segregated these four characters? You've got 70 minutes to kill off four people. Snooze.
*Why would you even opt to segregate four characters in a horror movie when there's a whole gymnasium full of horny teens ready to meet the business end of Father Jonas's cross?
*Why hasn't Father Jonas aged in 40 years? For that matter, why bring in the whole "possession" angle when he looks normal and only sort of glares at people? I know possession. That's not possession. That's just being weird.
And so on. Eventually, Father Jonas gets around to killing three out of the four horny teens. Our Final Girl Meagan (Nicole de Boer) goes mano a mano with the padre and ends up...setting him on fire in a barn. Or a shed. I couldn't tell. Then this happened:
...and you know, it almost made up for some of the general crappiness of the movie. I'm tellin' ya, no matter where or when I see it, there's no time that the person runs towards the camera whilst escaping a burning building and then the person has to leap because the building totally just blew up bit doesn't bring a smile to my face. So to find it in that most unexpected of places, a slasher flick, well, it tickled me.
Sadly enough, Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil needed about eight more explosions to make up for the otherwise dull proceedings. I give it 3 out of 10 hey, I should totally write a children's book based on the title of this post!s.