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The 100




Student Bodies
(1981)
Reviewed by Tom Panarese
Rating: 10 Beans

t's Friday the 13th (which also happens to be Jamie Lee Curtis's birthday. Who knew?). A babysitter has put the kids to sleep. The phone rings. It's nothing but heavy breathing. She gets scared. Her boyfriend comes over. They go up to the bedroom. But thereís someone in the house! He slowly creaks up the stairs! He kills her with ... a paper clip?

Welcome to "Scary Movie" circa 1981, a.k.a. "Student Bodies," a movie so bad even that master of cinema, Alan Smithee, couldnít save it.

With obvious girls' locker room and "look she left the door open" jokes, I could barely find anything remotely entertaining in this movie. But I guess I'd better get the plot out of the way. Somebody is murdering all the students at the local high school, and darned if itís not around the time of the big game and the big parade and the big dance! Okay, not all the students are being murdered. Just the ones that have sex.

So, you know what this is? It's not a horror movie. It's not even a horror spoof! I suspect that 20 years ago, in response to the growing number of Family Life Curriculum filmstrips that heathen liberals were forcing upon the community, this movie was made to keep teenagers in check. The public high school setting also makes the movie a commercial for school voucher programs because as we all know, public schools are really just government-funded houses of ill repute.

Sex = Death. Simple equation. Easy to understand. And add the fact that people are killed with paper clips, eggplants, blackboard erasers, tiaras, garbage bags, and horse head bookends, it's easy to die. In fact, there's a running body count (13 people total die in the film) to bring that point home.

The hero of this anti-sex film is Toby (Kristen Ritter), the only girl at her public high school not having sex, even though she has a boyfriend, Hardy (Matthew Goldsby). But she wants to "wait until the right time," or some other explanation as to why she is exhibiting proper behavior for a teenager. It's a good idea, too, considering most of her friends are getting offed while they are ... okay, that joke is way too obvious.

Anyway, Toby's friends seem to get turned on by the weirdest things. Two get killed at a funeral, two get killed within a homecoming float, and her shop teacher seems to have a fetish for horse head bookends. When he's killed, I have a feeling it's because of that particular inclination. It might also be because he wasn't wearing his goggles while he was making some bookends (and then lecturing our heavy-breathing murderer on proper buzzsaw safety). The odd shop teacher and made me remember how utterly pointless wood shop ... sorry, by the time I was in high school, they were calling it "technology" class ... how pointless technology class was. I mean, I'm never going to own a drill press or use a carbon dioxide cartridge to launch a wooden car down a track, so what was the point of taking it? To almost get my hands cut off by a table saw?

Anyway, if you still care about the movie (considering reminiscing about wood shop ...er, tech class ... is more interesting than regurgitating this film's plot, you probably don't. But for both of you still reading, I'll placate your desires), the last 20 minutes of the film are very bizarre, until you realize that your "Wow, this is odd ... oh wait, it was all a dream ... oh wow, Hardyís the real murderer ... oh no, Tobyís dead!" exclamations are really unnecessary because it was all some elaborate attempt to set up a hand-coming-from-the-grave gag.

This movie didn't make me hate sex. Then again, it didn't make me want to have sex, either. It did, however, make we want a Dr. Pepper--there was so much Dr. Pepper product placement, it was hard to not want to be a Pepper.

"Student Bodies," you make the world taste better!






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