Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil

Lava Lamp
Our rating: one lava lamp.

Information about this film in the Internet Movie Database.

Prom Night IV
Leaving Star Trek : DS9 in ruins after just one season,
DeBoer looks for her next victim.

None of the Prom Night films were much good, but Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil is a sequel so pointless that the other Prom Night films should be embarrassed to be associated with it, even by name. It has nothing to do with the its predecessor, other than a gratuitous reference to Hamilton High in the fifties, and it doesn't have much to do with a prom night period.

The film opens with prom night at Hamilton High in 1957. A horny couple leaves the prom to neck in the back seat of their car, but their tryst is interrupted by Father Jonas, a psychotic young priest who ridicules their sexual technique before slicing them up with a crucifix-shaped knife and setting their car on fire with flammable oil forth from a hand-held censer.

The local Catholic authorities discover Jonas' activities and decide that he must be hidden away to protect the church. Jonas is locked up in a church basement and sedated for 33 years. By 1990 the unshaven (and unaged) Jonas greatly resembles comic book writer Alan Moore. For the sake of the plot, he is released when a stupid young priest decides to skip Jonas' daily sedative injection. Up to this point, the movie bears an uncomfortable resemblence to those anti-Catholic tracts from the early part of the century, when Americans generally believed that Catholics were slaves to an evil Pope and nunneries were bastions of perversion.

Prom Night IV
"Do you smell something baking?"
So now the newly escaped Jonas has to stalk a high school prom, right? Wrong! In fact, Jonas proceeds to stalk four high school students who don't go to the prom.

Those four students are Meagan, Laura, and the interchangable Mark and Jeff. They get all dressed up, rent a limo, drive to the prom, and then inexplicably don't get out, but drive to a secluded cabin owned by Mark's father. The cabin used to be a church retreat, and, in a stroke of bad luck for the foursome, used to be where Jonas had his hideout.

There are two noteworthy things about Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil. One is that Meagan is played by Nicole DeBoer, here credited as Nikki DeBoer. Nicole went on from this travesty to star for one season on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Ezri Dax.

The other noteworthy thing about Prom Night IV is that DeBoer spends two scenes in sexy lingerie. (Hey, we had to find something to entertain us.) Prom Night IV is second only to Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II in titillation value, even though DeBoer remains safely ensconced in her Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie. Star Trek fans, poise your thumb over the pause button. All others proceed to another title on the video shelf. Even Laura's nude scenes are obviously body-doubled.

Prom Night IV
Prom Night IV teeters on the brink of greatness.
Prom Night IV only qualifies to be in the horror section in that it has an obligatory group of teenagers who will be massacred on screen by a psycho over the space of eighty minutes. It's certainly not scary -- we learn just enough about Jonas to know that he's a psycho and likes to kill people, but not enough to be scared about him. He doesn't age, but no one comments on that. So are we supposed to think that some external source of evil is preserving him, or is it just bad filmmaking, the lack of a makeup budget?

Similarly, we don't get any sense of motivation on Jonas' part to hunt these particular teenagers. Sure, they're holding an orgy in his old dormitory, but why should he care? Why would he return? Don't look for creepy Hannibal Lecter-style soliloquies from our villain, either. Jonas stops only long enough to proclaim someone a "slut" over the phone and then the carnage, such as it is, begins. Actually, in lieu of carnage, our erstwhile victims wander around in the dark calling each others' names. "Jeff? ...Laura? ...Mark?" Where in God's name is the screenwriter?

Prom Night IV (our subtitle: Deliver Us From Boredom) bears the marks of a better screenplay that was shoehorned into the Prom Night format (references to Hamilton High, the passing subplot of an actual prom) to satisfy the film's producers, who were hungry for a b-movie with the name recognition of Prom Night. Well, they did one thing right: this incarnation is bad enough that the series will most likely never reach the number 5.

Prom Night IV
"Are you sure this is a regulation Starfleet uniform?"

Rent or Buy from Reel.

Review date: 7/21/99

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