Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Return to Horror High (1987)

With a title like this, you’d think this was a sequel. But it’s not. Instead you it’s a horror comedy with a few familiar faces. I caught about fifteen minutes of it one night and it intrigued me enough to remember the title. It was like a humerous prototype for The Blair Witch Project. But was it worth seeking out?

Crippen High School was the site of a bloody massacre, and so the building was shut down. A few years later, a film maker, his cast and crew decide to shoot their own version of events, but at the same location. 

You and I both know this is a horrible idea, but these folks (including a very young George Clooney) aren't that bright. Soon corpses start piling up and young Callie (Lori Lethin of Bloody Birthday fame) finds herself the center of the killers attention. Will she live to regret her decision to Return to Horror High?

Good Points:
  • A innovate premise for the time
  • Has a few clever kills
  • Has a few clever lines

Bad Points:
  • Relies a bit too much on the premise to mine laughs
  • Not very scary
  • Never finds it’s footing 

Overall the movie never really takes off. The horror moments end up stopping the comedy cold and some of the bad and limp jokes keep anything from being really frightening. I did like Maureen McCormick as the twisted police officer who seems to really enjoy blood. But most of the other characters are pretty annoying. Worth checking out for anyone who wants to see where something like The New Nightmare and Scream might have been inspired. But don’t expect to have your pom poms blasted off. And sadly no skeletal cheerleaders to be found here.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 3
Sound: 3
Acting: 2
Script: 2
Music: 2
Direction: 2
Entertainment: 2
Total:  2

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review. 


  1. Enough "standard set-up" horror films were on the shelves by the 80s to make a market for spoofs of them, one of the more successful being Student Bodies (1981). I did see Return to Horror High, but in truth I remember almost nothing about it, so thanks for the heads-up and ratings. By the 2000s the horror shelves were so overstuffed that directors found it difficult to avoid some elements of parody. Just last night I watched Wes Craven's Cursed, a werewolf movie with Christina Ricci; even after sleeping on it, I'm still not sure how tongue-in-cheek Wes intended to be, but he succeeded at parody whether he intended it or not.

  2. Haven't seen "Cursed" but heard about it. Got real mixed reviews, but Ricci is usually good in anything. Craven seems to have been more hit than miss lately. We just revisited the first "Scream" film followed by the two sequels. I'd seen "Scream" a bunch of times before, and I still think it holds up well (a nasty little movie if you think about it). "Scream 2" was pretty good, they did some fun stuff riffing on horror sequels. "Scream 3" had a lot of potential, but missed the boat. However it did have Parker Posey as the Hollywood version of Courtney Cox - and Posey was just plain awesome, nearly stealing every scene she was in. I was looking over his filmography and realized I hadn't seen a lot of Craven's stuff. I'll need to delve into that.