Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Night School--aka Terror Eyes (1981)
Ridiculous Silliness Factor 5/5
My gravy list of slasher films continues to grow thanks to the seemingly neverending amount of small budget films released during the 80's that didn't receive as much fanfare as the Freddy's and Jason's of the world. Not too mention the fine flick 'Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film' (reviewed waaaaay back when, here) dispensed a whole slew of others I had never heard of. And since I love these films, I will continue to seek out all variations of this 'love it or hate it' genre in horror as it never ceases to amaze me the levels a script writer and director will stoop to bring the utterly dumb and retarded to life on the big screen.
Women attending a local night school begin getting waxed one by one during their normal day jobs by someone riding a motorcycle, wearing all black leather and a helmet, using a curved, sickle-like knife as the primary means of deploying death. A 'too much smarts for the rest of the police depatment' lieutenant heads up the case, interviewing the school teacher and believing that he's the prime suspect. You see, the teach happens to have a reputation for romancing and sexing his way into the knickers of his students (which for some reason ALL happen to be female AND attractive). As the bodies mount, the lieutenant gets more and more frustrated as his partner believes its a reclusive, peeping tom guy who washes dishes at the local diner. You see, one night, the assistant to the teacher (who also happens to be an attractive female, what a lucky guy!) stops in for a bite to eat and is followed home by the peeping tom dish washer guy. She gets the heebie jeebies and follows up the next day with the po-po's.
Bodies continue to pile up and the kill scenes are less than stellar. Very little blood is dispensed and there is no gore. The kills themselves cut away to something that represents it in mere image alone (i.e. where you would see the knife cut into the neck and blood would spurt, it cuts away before the act and instead a fade-out occurs, showing a person walking, wearing a red sweater). Lame-o maximus. But that's not really the star of the film here. Nope. When blood and gore are missing, and virtually no T&A factor is present (I know, I know, that's enough to shut down even the most diehard of slasher fans), in my opinion, the saving grace HAS to be the cornball delicious dialogue. One of the girls who works at the local aquarium feeding sharks (holy random day job. Batman!) returns to the women's locker room to change after her shift and is attacked by the killer. Again, the cutting away method is used (as her head is lopped off, it cuts to a turtle eating some plankton, how cute!) and the killer dumps her head into the aquarium. In the next scene I've extracted the exchange with the lieutenant and his partner from IMB:
Judd Austin: Don't you ever take your job seriously?
Taj: Come on, Judd. If we did that we'd end up in the funny farm!
Judd Austin: [they arrive at the car and get inside] Duck ponds, bucket, now a fish tank. [pause] Judd Austin: 'The hell are you eating?
Taj: A sandwich. Want some?
Judd Austin: [after a moment's pause] Yeah, give me some. [Taj hands him half the sandwich and he takes a bite out of it]
Judd Austin: What kind is it?
Taj: Tuna fish.
So with dopey and silly exchanges like this occuring almost ad nauseum throughout the flick, and with a clever throwing off of the senses of who the real killer is, the film ultimately works for this here slasher film enthusiast. I can't completely recommend this to most horror fans or even the casual watcher, as most will think its dull and boring (mainly due to the absence of blood and gore). But if fun, outrageous silliness is the name of your game, then Night School has got it for you. In spades.
Cortez the Killer
P.S. I searched high and low but no trailer to be found for this one. So you will have to take my word for it. I did give it 'Shit-Sandwich' AND 'Recommended' tags. You have been warned.