As those of you following the Twitter of VHS already know, tonight your ever-lovin' Vicar is taking a trip 20 years back in time, and this time it's not in the form of a candy-colored goretastic mad movie from the 80s. No, what I have on tap tonight is even more terrifying, even more horrible, than anything Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon ever concocted:
The Vicar's 20-Year High School Reunion.
To be fair, my high school years were not all that bad--discounting 10th grade, which was abominable. But like everyone I've got my horror stories from that formative time, from fashion faux pas to stupid things said in class to all the girls who rejected my clumsy teen-aged advances (many of whom will be in attendance tonight). Good times?
Anyway, in order to steel myself for tonight's festivities, I'm drawing strength from my memories of a few classic high school horrors, thoughts of which will hopefully provide the inner fortitude I need to make it through. Well, them and the cash bar. Bear in mind this is not a "Top 5," but merely a handful of flicks that occur to me as I get ready to revisit this glorious and painful time of my life.
You want to help a Vicar out? In the comments, please share your favorite high school horrors! And should you feel the urge to confess some of the terrifying tribulations *you* endured during your high school years, that's encouraged too. The worse you had it, the better I'll feel.
Student Bodies (1981)
Though I was still 8 years away from graduation when this movie hit theaters, I remember watching it again and again on cable and VHS back in the day. An Airplane!-influenced spoof of the slasher genre when the tropes themselves were still in their infancy, this never failed to make the Young Vicar and his seminary mates giggle with glee. The Breather may not have had the marketable costume of the Ghostface Killer, but he was a hell of a lot funnier. Death by horsehead bookends, a fly being added to the ongoing, on-screen body count, and the mysteriously hilarious entity known only as The Stick playing Malvert the Mentally Challenged Janitor, all combine to make this a movie I need to revisit.
The Redeemer, aka Class Reunion Massacre (1971)
I found this one at a used VHS store a couple years back, and was surprised by how out-there it was. A group of students making preparations for their 10-year class reunion run afoul of an evil spirit that haunts the hallowed halls of their institution of learning, with borderline surreal and over-the-border MAD results. A full-sized football player mannequin, a doomsaying preacher bent on purifying the graduates of sin via extreme bloodletting, and a strange 3-fingered child rising from a nearby pond are only scratching the surface.
Slaughter High (1986)
A group of the popular kids who maimed a nerdly classmate find their bad deeds coming home to roost when a killer starts offing them at their reunion. Any similarity between this plot and actual events, past or present or future, is purely coincidental.
Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986)
One of Troma's earliest and still best efforts--if such a tag can be applied to Troma's gleefully and unapologetically tasteless output--this one is like Class of 1984 with all the seriousness excised, the dystopian elements played for laughs, and radioactive mutants added for spice. Goopy dayglo FX and people trying way too hard to offend you (and succeeding) make this the most realistic portrayal of the American 80s high school experience ever filmed.
This movie is required by statute to be at the top of every high-school horrors list, but there's probably a reason for that. From a novel by Stephen King before he stopped editing himself, the story is tight and effective, and really captures the vulnerability and pain of a high school misfit repeatedly getting punished for her attempts to fit in. Sissy Spacek completely owns the title role, making her the prototype of pubescent psychokinetic sexually-repressed weirdos for decades to come. And if you never wanted to see a school dance go up in flames, your high school experience must have been happier than most. The director's not bad either.
Okay kids, your turn! CONFESS!