"Killer to the left. Killer to the right. Stand up. Sit down. Fight! Fight! Fight!"
Only in the golden age of horror movies, the 80's of course, did people read a tagline like that and actually expect a scary movie. Nowadays, we look back on horror flicks like this with nothing but laughter. But it's a good laughter, the kind of laughter that makes us yearn for a time when horror movies were simple, straight-forward, low budget flicks with excessive amounts of gore and over-the-top death scenes.
Return To Horror High not only delivers the gore and bad acting that go hand in hand with these types of flicks, but it ads in that rare "What the FUCK is going on here!?" factor throughout the film. I'll warn you in advance, this movie is supposedly a satire of a real horror movie, but it comes off as something quite different. I watched it with about 7 different people and NONE of us were sure about what the fuck actually happened even when the movie was over. Is it a movie about a movie? Is it a movie about a real event? Is it a movie about a real event about an event that was even more real than the really real event that wasn't even real to begin with? Beats the shit out of me...
The film starts off quietly with what appears to be a plot fairly similar to the Blair Witch Project. It almost looks like Blair Witch ripped 'em off. Only difference is, Blair Witch (sadly) actually had some people fooled into believing it was real. Return To Horror High, however, just confused the fuck out of anybody that dared to watch it.
After the title flashes on the screen with the big orchestral music, we see "Starring (in pieces)" as opposed to "Starring (in alphabetical order)". That right there sets a precedent for the cheese-level of this movie. But it did get me to thinking about other ways they could list the actors:
Well, you get the basic idea.
So our movie begins outside of a high school where it appears some brutal murders have taken place. Bodies scattered everywhere, and confused cops that can't even count how many corpses there are. Does that lady cop look familiar to you? She should... it's Maureen McCormick - AKA: MARCIA from THE BRADY BUNCH! Yep, it's good to see that she made some great career choices after that hit show. I guess the royalty checks from the reruns weren't enough. She's not just any cop though... she's an oversexed cop that appears to be turned on by this whole bloody mess. More on that later...
Marcia explains to "The Chief" (who is played by Pepper Martin - aka "Rocky", the guy who beats up on Clark Kent when he's human in Superman II) that the reason they're not sure how many bodies there are is because they're "still missing some pieces". The chief then asks to speak with all of the witnesses but ... *drumroll* ... there's only ONE left! Apparently a film company was shooting a movie at this school and the only survivor is the writer of the movie. The chief asks him what kind of a movie they were filming, but the writer, suffering from shock, admits that he doesn't know. All he does is stare off into space and turns the flashlight on 'n off. Great, the flashlight-under-the-face-to-make-you-look-scary trick. You can see that they really went all out on the budget for special effects here.
Cut back in time to when the crew was still alive, and we see some more familiar faces on the set of the movie. First is George Clooney, an actor-wannabe playing the role of a cop. It's good to know that before he became famous with E.R. he was getting his training in such high quality films. "Bad acting! I need 2 cc's of talent and an IV of good writing, STAT!"
Next we see Scott Jacoby who is playing the director, Josh Forbes, who also looks a lot like Matthew Modine. Who knows, maybe it is Matthew Modine, and he just paid Scott Jacoby to take credit for the movie since he was ashamed of it. I wouldn't blame him if he did.
Shortly after a few bumbles on the set of the film, George Clooney gets a call and finds out he just scored the lead role in an upcoming TV series. "Going off to be a star?" one of his co-actors asks. "Haha, I'm gonna try" he laughs as he walks off the set. "Yeah right" is all she can say to that. Little did anybody know he really would become a star. But, I guess before you can become a star, you've gotta die and then get reborn. Well, Return To Horror High thankfully takes care of the "dying" part. George, brilliant fella that he is, can't find his way out of the building and soon finds himself lost in a dark hallway. He hears little squeaky sounds and soon finds a door covered in blood. Naturally, he must inspect...
Out of nowhere a yellow rubber glove pulls ol' George into the room and the door shuts. We see George's face get rammed against the door and he's already fairly bloody. But then we hear a large *SHHLOCK!* as his eyes go wide and his body slowly slides down the door. Yes! He's dead! And what's even better, we learn that he doesn't bleed blood, but instead, he bleeds a thick red syrup! Looks like Boysenberry syrup to me. Mmmmm... Boysenberry...
Wow, so George is killed off within the first 15 minutes of the movie. Maybe this won't be so bad after all, eh? Ha, don't get your hopes up. We also discover that the squeaky sound that George was hearing earlier was from a janitor's mop 'n cart. And look, someone has even come to clean up the syrup! Oh my god! Could it be the... the... the KILLER!? I think it might be! And LOOK! There's a TOOTH in the puddle of syrup... er... blood. It's George's tooth! Yo killer guy with the mop, hold onto that tooth man! You could probably make a pretty penny off of it on eBay!
Now cut back to present time (I think) where Marcia Brady and the chief are examining the crime scene. Marcia gasps as one of the bodies under the sheets appears to be moving. And now comes one of the funniest moments in low-budget film history. When she goes to check the pulse of the body, the arm comes right off. It's painfully obvious that the arm is made out of plastic. But, just in case you had any doubt about it, she freaks and tosses the arm to the chief, who then throws it on the ground. Not only does the arm make a loud plastic thumping sound, but the arm actually bounces high off the ground! Now, I haven't had a chance to throw many dead appendages on the ground, but I'm pretty fucking sure they don't bounce high up like a rubber ball.
Now in order to distract us from the asininity of the plastic arm scene, they decided to have Marcia slut-it-up a bit. She's obviously turned on be all the excitement as she sucks in her gut and sticks her boobs way out. MARCIA! MARCIA! MARCIA! And the captain doesn't even try to pretend he's not looking. He actually stares directly at 'em while he talks to her. It's painfully obvious that he wants to "brady" her "bunch".
Next we go back in time to where the director is talking with one of his helpers about what weapons should be used in the film. He uses his history book all about weapons for reference. In it he finds... a CHAINSAW!? Now, I'm no history buff, but I don't remember any history lessons that involved armies of chainsaw-wielding soldiers. I'm pretty damned sure they mostly used swords, spears, guns, and things of that nature. Oh wait! I see it now! It's another LOW BUDGET BLOOPER! They actually drew a picture of a chainsaw and pasted it to a real weapons book! Then they printed out a description of the chainsaw and pasted it on top of the hand-drawn chainsaw picture! That would be all fine and dandy if you couldn't actually SEE where the real book starts and ends. Wonderful work by the creative team. Bravo!
Now cut back in time where we see George Clooney's replacement in the film, Steven Blake, talking with the hyperactive janitor, Amos. He can't stop laughing about how he's going to be a movie star. Amos claims that he's going to go into porno movies, or "pussy films" as he refers to them, after the horror high shoot is complete. He claims that he's got 10 inches just roaring to go! If that's true, I wouldn't think he'd need that long wooden handle for his mop. He could just attach the mop onto his 10 inch monster. Then we'd have a REAL horror movie on our hands.
We're also introduced to Mr. Kastleman, who was the principal at the school when the murders took place. He tries to scare the leading lady a little bit when she asks him what her character was like in real life. "There was a nose lying over here, a tongue lying over there, and eyeballs dangling from over there." He almost smiles when he describes one of the scenes of the murders. There's something not quite right with this guy. Maybe HE is the killer? I guess we'll find out later. But first, let's flashback even more because constant flashbacks never get old... RIGHT?
Ah, nothing like some typical jock-o sexual harassment to round out a horror film nicely. We meet Richard Farley, as he and his cohorts mess with some brainless cheerleaders. But there's a new gal in town, Sara Walker, and she's playing hard to get. So, like any stud, he barges into the girls locker room, to get her to go out with him. Of course, this is the perfect chance for the director to throw in some more boob shots in the film. It's funny, because all of the girls scamper off to cover themselves as soon as he enters the room. Well, all of them except this one blonde who just stares at them for the duration of their conversation. Gee, what is the viewer going to be paying attention to here? The dialogue between Richard and Sara or the pom-poms positioned right in between the two of them? Yeah, I really wonder...
Well, Richard convinces Sara to go out with him on the grounds that if she doesn't, he'll take one of the girls from the locker room out into the hallway, completely naked. She agrees to go out with him, which of course leads to a date rape attempt. Then all of a sudden the film gets cut because the sleazy producer Harry Sleerik wants to have more breasts in the shot! Oooo! They fooled us! This isn't a flashback to actual events, this is the movie that they're filming! In case you're having trouble following things: it's the movie within the movie within the movie. So Callie, the actress playing Sara, complains about them wanting her to expose her breasts:
A SCHLORT! BAM! She just hit him with quite an insult! What you didn't get it!? Schlongs = long and Schlorts = short! THAT'S PURE COMEDIC GENIUS!
Next we see Arthur, the writer, going over some notes with Harry Sleerik. Harry wants him to write a nice "redeeming" scene for Callie so she won't complain. "Make it like poignant, you know... all that life is wonderful crap, filled with a lot of hope. And set it in the locker room shower so they're naked." Ya gotta hand it to Harry, he sure knows how to make redeeming scenes. As he walks away, Arthur writes down a note and we see the shadow of an axe rise up from from the door behind him. The axe chops down, and then a head pops up in the air, doing a complete 360° before hitting the floor! Arthur doesn't even notice it. Lemme tell you, all of us that watched the film burst out laughing when this happened. It's one of those moments that you've just got to experience to truly appreciate it. This one scene alone truly raises the bar for b-movie cheesiness, believe me.
Next we have one of the guys who was hanging out with Robbie earlier on, and he's in the prop room. Well, it turns out that the killer is in there, and he's apparently hiding in a box of what is supposedly vermiculite. Hell, with the budget of this movie, I wouldn't be surprised if it was just kitty litter. Anyway, he lures the Robbie's idiot friend towards the box by pulling a string with a screw attached to the end of it. Not a 20 dollar bill, but a screw. I guess this chump finds screws interesting, because he follows it all the way to his death. The same yellow glove that we saw kill George Clooney earlier in the film, attacks this poor bastard, pulling him straight into the kitty litter. So this marks a cheesy horror flick first: dying in an over-sized box of kitty litter.
Next, Robbie comes into the room and looks for his friend. Then he steps into a rope trap that wasn't on the floor two seconds ago (yes it magically appeared out of thin air folks), and now he's hanging from the ceiling by his feet. To make matters worse, a giant fan is slowly moving towards him. Could this spell the end for Robbie? Well, I think he died, but I can't say for sure, because it then cuts back to the studio where Sleerik is showing them how much blood needs to be used in the film. I swear, Return To Horror High has got to hold some sort of record for the largest amount of flashbacks and flash-forwards ever in a single film.
Speaking of flash-forwards, it's back to present time with Marcia Brady and the Chief. Now she's completely covered in blood after supposedly slipping on some inside the school. For most people, I would think falling down in a puddle of blood would be both gross and annoying. But for Marcia, no, it's a big turn-on. She actually starts groping her breasts while she relays the story to the captain. As if that isn't bizarre enough, she then reveals her latest find: A severed (plastic) hand holding onto a waffle!
Goddamn! Does this mean the killer hates people who have plastic hands and enjoy eating waffles!? Son of a bitch, HE JUST MIGHT! This could be a major break in the case! Good work, Marcia!
they catch they killer before
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