A serial killer with his signature heavy breathing proceeds to systematically kill the students and teachers of Lamab high school.A serial killer with his signature heavy breathing proceeds to systematically kill the students and teachers of Lamab high school.A serial killer with his signature heavy breathing proceeds to systematically kill the students and teachers of Lamab high school.
"Funerals get me hot!"
Part of me thinks that, if the ever-reputable Criterion Collection can put out a 2-disc special edition of crap like "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas," they certainly could throw a bone to a sharp-witted parody like "Student Bodies," which nails the genre better than the 3 "Scream"s (which eventually went down the route of self-parody anyway) and the 4 (and counting) "Scary Movie"s. So why, then, has this cover-all-bases send-up been relegated to a word-of-mouth cult item since its 1981 release? Distributor Paramount, which hit paydirt with "Friday the 13th" the year before (and its sequels in the years following), likely saw "Bodies" as an opportunity to take a satirical jab at a genre that really only "began" with the breakout success of John Carpenter's "Halloween" (1978). The result? A film so ahead of its time that the audience didn't know what to make of it--relatively goreless and sex-free (our killer offs his teen victims BEFORE they get a chance to score), "Student Bodies" approaches an "Airplane!"-style level of pull-all-stops humor (albeit on a shoestring budget) that remains surprisingly tasteful, even in the midst of cracks about necrophilia and a farting corpse. The opening 15 minutes alone stuffs in references to "Halloween," "When a Stranger Calls," "The Prowler," and even Dario Argento's gialli (our killer's gloved hands figure heavily into the plot); the filmmakers superimpose a helpful "body count" tally plus other deliciously obvious mistakes the characters make (a door kept unlocked, for instance). I only have one major complaint about the film: even at a scant 86 minutes, it goes on for too long, halting to a crawl during a prom sequence that unwisely tries to build some suspense to accompany the humor (though I will give the climax credit for successfully managing to lampoon "Carrie," "Psycho," and even "The Tenant"). That being said, "Student Bodies" is a fine, funny horror lampoon, even more resonant in the fact that, despite its early placement in the slasher pantheon, it still manages to nail all the clichés that have afflicted the genre ever since.
- Jul 12, 2008
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