Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Horror High - 1974

In keeping within the subgenre of school related slashed films, I checked out this '74 high school based slasher flick.  This one is pretty well known, I think, and had a sequel in 1987, Return to Horror High.  It does rank high on the originality factor too, people usually point to Black Christmas (1974), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) as the big slasher precursors to Halloween.  But this film came out in March, months before either of those other two from 1974 had come out.  Yet this doesn't usually make any lists of inspiring slasher films.

Horror High is unconventional, sure.  It takes a similar stance as Carrie (1976) in that it's a revenge film, and it also takes a small inspiration from werewolf and/or mad scientist movies.  Then it puts all this in a high school setting.  But the slasher movie musts are all there:  deranged unstoppable killer, dumb airhead blondes who die, a body count, blood, etc.  It did all this, and still only got rated PG.  So therefore it was also the first slasher film to NOT be rated R.  Damn, now I begin to really wonder why this isn't more well known...?

Horror High is the story of a science nerd who is the subject of bullying and constant torment.  Aren't nerds everywhere like that?  Anyways, this nerd (Vernon) is really committed to his science project, which is to turn a guinea pig into some sort of monster by way of a chemical he'll inject into it.  Vernon is neglecting his other classes, and in the first scene we see that his cunt of a teach Miss Grindstaff (the fuck kinda name is that?) is giving him hell for not paying attention or finishing his assignments.

Vernon's science experiment is working, in that it makes his pet guinea pig go crazy, and anyways there isn't too much time before wouldn't ya know it, the guinea pig kills the janitor's cat.  The janitor in a blind fit of rage MAKES VERNON INJECT HIMSELF WITH THE FORMULA!  Hahaha!  This scene was fucking great.  The guy who plays Vernon was ok, but the dialogue is terribly jilted and unrealistic.  This movie is definitely one of those comedy horror movies.  But the thing here is that it was intentional too.

This movie was really a send back to the 50's monster movies, when I think about it.  The style, the monster, the squirmy main character.  Everyone is so straight-laced that it practically oozes satire as it plays all the stereotypes to their fullest.  The cruel bullies, the picked on nerd, the high school jock, the fatherly supporting teacher, and the cruel other teachers....this movie was going for an underground comedy horror before comedy horror was a big thing.  Damn, what was that other one I reviewed.....  Brain of Blood and then Blood of Dracula's Castle.  In retrospect, Blood of Drac's Castle may not have been intentional, but I think Brain of Blood was, and this was only a few years after that.

Okay, so, then Vernon starts to go crazy and kill people whenever he damn well pleases, and the film takes on a sympathetic, anti-hero type of vibe.  He kills people that seem to deserve it:  the jerk jock, the janitor who turned him into this creature, and then his teacher Miss Grindstaff.  There is one friend he has, a girl that likes him, and eventually he tells her what's happening to him.  But what will his ultimate fate be?  I ask you, WHHHHHAAAT!?

Way ahead of it's time, comedy was good and has aged decently.  Really, really ahead of it's time actually.  Had this come out in the 80's I think it would be a cult classic.  Why is it not anyways?  This has every ingredient and was way more innovative that movies that supposedly do have followings like House on Sorority Row.

It deserves high marks, I give it 4.5 stars.

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