The Breakfast Club meets Apocalypse Now - how's that for a fucking amazing tagline?
The people who brought us The Haunted Trailer were back at Frightmare with another locally made horror film. I was tentatively afraid that Getting Schooled would be a rehash of Haunted Trailer, but it was totally different in tone and content. Lucky Chucky is no one-trick pony. Yes, it's horror and yes, it's funny...but there wasn't a single fart joke in the whole film. Not even a church house squeaker.
A brain. A princess. A criminal. An athlete. A basket case. Yes, all accounted for in this detention class...a detention class in the 80s. (As an aside, the decrepit school used was excellent. If this school is still in service, I feel pity for the students that must cope with the creepy dark hallways on a daily basis.) It's quite appreciated that the cast is much more diverse than John Hughes whitebread high school. They even mixed up the sexes a little, which was also appreciated. As the film starts off, each of the stereotyped characters acts as you would expect...but when things start getting scary and the characters are under pressure - each of them begins to show strengths outside of their stereotyped area. Of course, this also happens in The Breakfast Club, but I'd argue that in Getting Schooled, the stakes are higher and it's easier to show how smart the criminal is or what a good leader the basket case is.
Without giving too much of the fun away, Tom Long is as horrifying as he is hilarious as the addled Mr. Roker. Who knew that a Vietnam Vet in a wheelchair could be so scary? (Actually, after all the time I've spent at the VA with my Dad over the past few months, I should hardly be surprised. I've seen some shit, man.) The single scariest part of Mr. Roker was the sound of his squeaky wheelchair, coming for blood. It's right up there with "Ch Ch Ch Ch, Ah Ah Ah Ah" and creepy music boxes.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ron Jeremy as the school's janitor. It would have been great to see him in a larger role, but even a little hedgehog makes a film better.
The scenes with the principal were actually the funniest. He never interacts with the students, he just fucks around in his office all day...actually what I always envisioned. I knew they didn't do shit. Oh! And he also called me a RETARD! I'm so fucking honored! (As part of their fundraising efforts last year, you could submit a headshot and the Production Team would give you an 80s makeover and put you in their yearbook . I thought it was just for a prop and forgot about it...but my 80s yearbook photo made into the film! So the principal could call ME a RETARD. Fame is fleeting...)
A solid horror film and somewhat rough around the edges...but the laughs and scares come at an even pace and I never felt bored. I was pleased in the order of the murders...they killed the most annoying characters first. Getting Schooled is currently showing at festivals and conventions, but hopefully it will be available on DVD and streaming soon. You need to see this flick!