Friday, January 28, 2011

Return to Horror High

1986 (so says the DVD box - but IMDB lists it as 1987)

Directed by:  Bill Froehlich
Written by:  Bill Froehlick & Mark Lisson and Dana Escalante & Greg H. Sims
Starring: George Clooney, Alex Rocco, Vince Edwards, Brendan Hughes

From IMDB:
"A few years ago, a mysterious serial-killer caused panic on Crippen High School. The killer was never caught. A movie company, Cosmic Pictures, has decided to make a feature movie about these events - on location, at the now abandoned school. Since members of cast and crew disappear without a trace, it seems as if history is repeating itself."

Watching Return to Horror High was like revisiting a childhood home - and not one where your uncle brought you candy and made you promise to never tell your mother about the games he liked to play with you.
What a wonderful time in genre film making.  Long before the digital age, a producer needed a lot of zeroes to get 85 minutes or more of film in the can.  The video rental industry was booming and the hunger for product was fierce.  So if you could come up with a bag of cash and some good intentions you could make a movie and a tidy little profit.  Beautiful man!
So out of this perfect genre storm RtHH was born - and it delivers it all - some blood, some boobs and some campy acting centered around a rambling, largely incoherent script!  I loved it!
At no time does the film ever take itself too seriously - though there was one scene, when the killer has the lecherous bio teacher strapped to a table where, even after all these years, it actually holds up.
So straight out of the gate - even before the film starts there's a wonderful typo.  On the DVD's main menu you can STRAT MOVIE.  Love it.  Gives you an idea of the quality control you're in for.
And then right away we see a parade of actors you've seen before (Alex Rocco, Richard Brestoff, Philip McKeon to name a few) - strong working talent!  There's even Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) as well - and she looks hot! 
Strong, sharp strings and organ are all you need to hear. You know this is from the 80's!
The big name, of course, is George Clooney.  He's meant to be the lead in the film within the film but books a TV series (presumably ER) in the first scene and so, with little compunction, breaks his contract and walks off the set - only to be one of the few actual kills in this slasher flick.  As he departs the set his costar, Callie prophetically asks him "You gonna be a star, Oliver?"
And so it goes.  If you can find this film somewhere - crack a beer, kick up your feet and take a walk down memory lane to a simpler time.

 Four out of five Bloody Eyes!!

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