Written by: Carroll Jenkins on August 8th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, August 7th, 1981
Director: Mickey Rose
Writer: Mickey Rose
Cast: Kristen Riter, Matthew Goldsby, Richard Belzer, Joe Flood, Joe Talarowski, Mimi Weddell, Carl Jacobs, Peggy Cooper, Janice E. O’Malley, Kevin Mannis, Sara Eckhardt, Brian Batytis, Cullen G. Chambers, Joan Browning Jacobs, Angela Bressler
DVD released: June 3rd, 2008
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Legend Films/Paramount Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Just as Airplane! spoofed disaster movies by inundating the viewer with the sheer volume of gags, Student Bodies attempts the same with the slasher / giallo theme. Unlike most rip-offs and many legitimate sequels, this is a sincere attempt to achieve the same highs and lows as its inspiration. The creators studied the Airplane! formula thoroughly, and execute it, if not with class, then at least with mad fervor.
This is an engaging movie if you’re not looking for horror, suspense, or exploitation. The usual conventions are all present and accounted for: heavy breathers, promiscuous teens, locker room scenes, killer’s point-of-view tracking shots, promiscuous babysitters, eccentric high school staff, etc. The major emphasis of the plot is that casual sex can kill you through “inventive” murders by various and varyingly absurd methods. Sight gags, sound gags, clichés, absurdities, and product placement parodies (subsidies?) abound. Despite the R rating, there is no overt violence, no nudity, and about three utterances of mild profanity. However, non-PC humor abounds.
The performances are all perfectly suited to the material. If they were any better they would bear not the slightest resemblance to the giallo / slasher genre. Of special note is the only film appearance of “The Stick” as gangly and memorable Malvert the Janitor.
The grainy Paramount logo is in contrast to what appears to be a near perfect anamorphic widescreen transfer from vault elements. Sound is fine as well. The closed captions are apparently ported and replete with errors. The trailer is included but illustrates the vast superiority of the feature transfer.
In the final analysis, Student Bodies is a clever parody of pop cinema. It eventually creates a style and a plane of reality all it’s own, and manages some clever twists and turns along the way. Just repeat to yourself, “It’s only a satire, it’s only a satire, it’s only a satire”.