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Case Number 03539: Small Claims Court

Buy Prom Night III: The Last Kiss / Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil at Amazon

Prom Night III: The Last Kiss / Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil

Artisan // 1992 // 192 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // November 12th, 2003

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All Rise...

The Charge

We may never pass this way again…praise God!

The Case

There is no bigger loser in this world than Alex. He is an average schmoe with the IQ of a peach pit and the attractiveness of a bowel blockage. Still, he seems to be pretty hot stuff at Hamilton High. He goes with a glam gal who works out her relationship issues with tasty baked snack treats, and he has a lifelong friend who dreams of manly motorcycle holidays with his un-hunky bud. Preparing to cruise through his senior year on middling ability and a detrimental dose of ennui, he's not prepared for the spectral sex kitten who is about to whammy his woozle. So when hexed ex-prom queen Mary Lou nail files her way out of hell and back up to terra firma, she latches onto our pal Al and gives him that good ol' supernatural seduction. After a little paranormal poontang, our whipped wuss is more than happy to bury the bodies Mary is massacring and reap the rewards of having a slightly charred chick from beyond the grave as an ethereal booty call. But when Mary Lou wants Al to relocate to the anus of Hades with her, suddenly coitus with a corpse seems pretty much out of the question. Alex must battle his hickey-giving harpy before she drags him down to meet the devil in Prom Night III: The Last Kiss.

When the Catholic Church discovers that a fellow priest has stepped outside the bonds of moral law, they breathe a sigh of relief when they discover that all he is doing is murdering teenagers in the name of the Lord. So they simply lock him up in a strange basement bedroom for the rest of his normal life. 33 years later and he has slowly turned into a Mediterranean member of ZZ Top, merely awaiting some dunce-capped young seminarian to set him free. Well, along comes Father Colin Fool, and before you can say "the power of Christ compels you," the crazy cleric breaks out and carves a claret chasm to his old hacking grounds. There he runs into four over-privileged party partners who are looking for a secluded chalet so they can anoint each other with precious bodily fluids. Father Jonas has a razor-sharp cross with their craven name on it and he's not afraid to use it. But first it's time for a really tired, far too long game of cassock and mouse involving the maniacal minister, the teen bed bumpers, and a lot of first person POV shots. Before long, unmarried fornicators are smoldering on fiery crucifixes and the psychotic celebrant is indulging in more than Christ's blood as part of Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil.

Prom Night III: The Last Kiss is bad horror as intentional camp comedy. Make no mistake, the filmmakers have studied the quip killing carnivals of Freddy Krueger with their elaborate set piece send-ups and obnoxious one-liners. They decided to then saddle everyone in the cast with the same case of scarred flesh comic genius. There is no attempt to make the movie scary or even nasty. Dismemberment and face melting are treated with an equally nonchalant attitude, and instead of shocks we get non-clever in-jokes. When Alex calls his parents, they speak with the same muted coronet quack of the adults in Peanuts. You half expect Schroeder and Peppermint Patty to walk by and kick this grating goof in his pathetic kiester. Our otherworldly Mary Lou kills an obese science teacher by banana splitting him to death (no, really!) and the death of a guidance counselor is shrugged off because she wasn't really human (she was a guidance counselor, get it? Not human? Ha Ha Ha? Anyway…) Cops speak in deadpan drawls like they've watched one too many Herschel Gordon Lewis films, and we eventually get zombies straight out of a Michael Jackson, not George Romero, video. The fact that the movie never takes itself or its subject seriously means the majority of the movie is juvenile and when they try for a menacing tone at the end it sticks out like Mary Lou's bad breast job. Prom Night III: The Last Kiss could perhaps have been an enjoyable romp had the spoof been super-sized (say as in the Scary Movie films). Here all we get are grade school effects and middle school acting in what is supposed to be a humorous "high school is hell" ideal.

At least we have attempts at hilarity to keep us occupied in Prom Night III. Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil offers no such mirth making to try and temper its temerity. This wants to be a standard slasher flick with the twisted take of making an overzealous priest the horror that rocks the student body. Sorry to say it Prom Night IV, but the Crusades and the Inquisition beat you to the whole Catholic Church as heartless murderers about seven centuries ago. And you too will feel like a hundred years or so have dragged by as you try to watch this film. The makers have determined to save all the exposition for the first ten minutes and all the stalking for the final five. So what we get in the middle seventy are endless camera shots peeking around bushes, under windowsills, around walls, and between floorboards. Oh yeah, and some very unattractive young adults expressing their love physically. There is only one compelling sequence in the whole film, and it comes right near the end. One of our couples is looking for the other. As they wander out into the cold night air, they see something in the distance. Mandatory pause long enough for a few semi-trucks to amble through and then—pow!—a flash of fire and we see the lost wanton lovers roasting atop of his and her crosses. It's a sweet sight and almost makes up for the previous moments of boredom. But alas, the sacrilegiousness doesn't continue and we are left with a standard "FJM" (as in Freddy/Jason/Myers) ending that suggests a continuation of this crappy franchise. And since the standard operating procedure for these films is to ignore the one before it, don't be surprised to see Prom Night V. And don't be surprised when it sucks just as hard.

Calling this the worst double feature ever in the history of Artisan's handling of horror product is a redundancy, like saying Madonna is an aged slut or J-Lo's got a big ass. But in the case of Prom Night III: The Last Kiss / Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil, the sight of a 50-something skeezer sharking down on Britney Spears during the MTV Video Music Awards is like witnessing a tranquil, orange sunset. These movies are atrocities of awful mastering and presentation. And it's not the lack of extras—that's an Artisan staple. Seeing these screen-filling full frame debacles that resemble nth generation dubs of bad transmissions from behind the old Berlin Wall should stir some manner of emotion in those cinematic con artists. But those freebasing fools over at Farty Sands couldn't care less that we can't see the action (or lack thereof) for the grainy compression or that the majority of the time, the image is so dead and lifeless it seems to be reacting to the movies themselves. Prom Night III: The Last Kiss / Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil are just piss poor transfers of terrible films. And then to make matters even more miserable, Prom Night III is a family friendly fiasco that trims gore, boobs, and swears for the sake of cropped shots, hyperactive editing, and overdubbed stupidity. So not only do we have a bad film we can't see, but some of the best stuff is missing (kind of like Annie Hall and the "small portions" joke, huh?).

Graduation as a grindhouse of mindless violence and sexy sin seems like fertile ground for a group of gross-out horror films. But when taken as a whole or in putrid parts, Prom Night III: The Last Kiss / Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil are like most commencement exercises: boring, embarrassing, and total BS.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 47

Perp Profile

Studio: Artisan
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 192 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• None

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