Student Bodies – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Before Scream and Scary Movie, horror fans were sarcastically attacked by Student Bodies. From the first frame you know that this movie isn’t going to be the usual slasher rampaging through a high school flick. A title card reads, “This motion picture is based on an actual incident. Last year 26 horror films were released… None of them lost money.” The date given for the first victim’s attack is “Jamie Lee Curtis’ birthday.” All the conventions will be challenged.

The mad killer going around the school uses odd instruments of death like The Toolbox Killer. Ever see a woman die from an eggplant attack? You will! Toby (Kristen Riter) is the girl who keeps discovering her friend’s bodies. Everybody suspects she’s the real killer. The only thing keeping her alive is virginity. All the investigators are nuts. All the high school employees are suspects. The shop teacher has an unnatural affinity for horsehead bookends. The guidance counselor wears his suit backwards. The janitor is purely creepy.

The nice part of the film is that they keep a running body count score on the screen. No need to guess the killer’s tally. The voice of the killer is provided by Richard Belzer (Law and Order: SVU). He jazzes up the POV stalker shots with his breather tone. This is not a spoiler since Belzer doesn’t play the killer on the screen. He’s just the killer’s innervoice.

Writer-director Mickey Rose was Woody Allen’s screenwriting partner on Bananas, What’s Up, Tiger Lily and Take the Money and Run. The script here doesn’t quite reach those comic gems. For those pondering the identity of the Allen Smithee listed as producer: It’s Michael Ritchie, director of the original Bad News Bears. Strange that he would take his name off this film, but leave it on Chevy Chase’s Cops and Robbersons.

Student Bodies does a great job of spoofing the horror films of its era such as Halloween, Friday 13th and When a Stranger Calls. The film is rather pedestrian when compared with today’s over produced spoofs. You’re not going to get blown away by the camera moves or editing. Don’t expect to be overwhelmed with a comedy attack. Student Bodies takes us back to a nostalgic time when a serial killer with a hall pass was still a novelty.


The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer is rather clean. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You can feel Belzer huffing through your woofers.


Theatrical Trailer (3:09) gives away the best jokes from the film.


Student Bodies racks up more laughs than victims. There’s even a great nostalgic twist ending for folks who survived the late ‘70s.

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Legend Films presents Student Bodies. Directed by: Mickey Rose. Starring: Kristen Riter, Matthew Goldsby, Richard Belzer, Joe Flood. Written by: Mickey Rose. Running time: 85 minutes. Rating: R. Theatrically Released: August 7, 1981. Released on DVD: June 3, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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