Return to Horror High (1987) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
62 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
before there was Scream,before there was Scary Movie,
disdressed1221 March 2011
there was this little's a horror spoof,and it worked for me.i found it amusing.there were some great one liners in the film.Scream owes a fair debt to this movie,as does the Scary Movie may not laugh yourself into a stupor,but you'll probably chuckle a lot.i'm actually very surprised at the low rating(3.8)this movie has on this site.i would rate it much higher.people complain about the bad acting,but i think that was intentional.for me,i had a good time watching it and wood watch it again.incidentally,it's not a sequel to the 1974 movie Horror fact it has nothing to do with that movie at all.for me,Return to Horror High is a 6/10
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Underrated Horror Film
AlbertV7920 May 2003
If everyone thought "Scream 3" had an interesting plot - a movie set falling prey to the killer resembling the Ghost Face Killer, then why don't you try this interesting horror flick of the 80's. As an avid fan of cult films, that is exactly what this film is. Early appearances by George Clooney and later appearances by "Dr. Ben Casey" Vince Edwards, "Marcia Brady" Maureen McCormick, "Mo Green" himself, Alex Rocco, and that kid from "Alice", Philip McKeon, all star in this film about a killer who returns to the high school where he killed years ago to terrorize a movie crew. The finale is a hell of a surprise.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not that bad.
jcmcm13 December 1999
Yes, it was a standard cheesy 80s horror movie, but it had some nice touches. The filmmakers ambitiously tried to combine flashbacks with the movie-in-a-movie they were making, which was sometimes confusing, sometimes clever, but definitely worthwhile. You could do a lot worse than this one.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A pleasant surprise.
gridoon28 April 2003
This movie could serve as a wake-up call to all those who thought "Scream" was oh-so-stunningly-original. Witty lines like "Why does everyone always want to go to a dark basement without even a flashlight?", commenting on the oldest horror cliches, pop up here ten whole years before they became "fashionable". The film does have a very complex structure and adds one bizarre twist after another in the last 30 minutes, and ends up not making a whole lot of sense; in that respect, it reminded me of the funny 1976 whodunit-spoof "Murder By Death". And just like in that film, you'll be better off ignoring the plot and concentrating on the individual moments and scenes. There are some engaging performances (particularly by Lori Lethin and Alex Rocco as the producer - "write them a hopeful, life-affirming scene where they talk about love and children, and make sure it's set in the showers, so they can be naked!"), and in general the film offers much more creativity than you'd normally expect to find in this genre. (**1/2)
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Marcia Brady says "Quack, quack!"
vljhrh4 January 2003
I loved this movie. It made me happy. The crazy principal alone is worth watching the movie for.

Throw in Marcia Brady rubbing her breasts and one of the cleverest lines in cinema history, "What the f*** is she talking about?", and you have a true masterpiece of badness.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Return to Horror High
ricky roche18 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Distributor: Anchor Bay DVD

Plot: In 1982, Crippen High School was the scene of brutal murders. The killer was never caught. Now a low budget film crew have returned to the school to film the story of what happened 5 years ago. But when the production crew starts dying off one by one, it appears that the crazed maniac is back. Who will survive the massacre? And what will be left of their careers?

Audio/Video: Excellency as always from Anchor Bay.

Extras: Theatrical Trailer (suprisingly this is the only extra feature from Anchor Bay).

Final Thoughts: This is one of the worst slashers in the 80's, but it is not the worst. I would advise everyone to rent before purchasing just so you can see if you like it or not. If only I got that advice before I spent $15.00 on it.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Interesting! Pretty Good!
EricJim29 August 1999
I was pretty angry about the review left by Dangera. He said it was a bad movie and he turned it off after the first 20 minutes. Well, you can't put a final judgment on a movie by the first 20 minutes! I actually watched the WHOLE MOVIE and I thought it was pretty good. I can see why it could be considered cheesy, but it is kinda cheesy in a good way. Also, you need to watch the whole thing because there is a twist ending that is pretty cool. I suggest you give this movie a try. However, an even more under appreciated horror movie is one called "Popcorn". It is really great! Check out my review on that one!
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Oh come now, lighten up.
scawt11 January 2004
Albeit confusing at times, this movie is definitely worth a watch. The directing/editting is certainly reminiscent of _Perfect Blue (1997/I)_ (or more likely the other way around, with Perfect Blue being released a full decade after Return to Horror High). Either way, you just have to be really one your toes to make sense of the stories, or be prepared to watch it a few times. The jokes fly out more than the fake blood does. Often, they come together. If you can't appreciate this movie for what it is, you just need to pop a couple of valium pills, and calm down. They way you people write about this film would make one think that Ed Wood decided to make a horror-comedy about Waylon Jennings cooking up some raw fetuses.

This movie kicks twice as much butt when you get it on the double-sided DVD with _Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (1988)_
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Clever Horror Comedy
Rubbed Raw5 April 2001
Most people who have reviewed this movie here don't seem to realize that it was intended to funny - it is a spoof of low budget horror films, and the making of them. It very cleverly plays with several levels of reality: the police investigating the massacre, the film crew shooting the movie and experiencing a 'real life' horror, and the scenes from the movie they are making (which are kind of like flashbacks to the original massacre). If people have trouble following this movie (which I didn't) perhaps it is because they are used to simplistic stories which do not demand anything from the viewer. Writer/critic L.A. Morse (in his book Video Trash and Treasures) says it is "...easily the best satire thus far of a genre sorely in need of an injection of wit, humour and fun". I agree with him.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great Movie If you understand it well enough!
ddevita2 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
After reading how so many peaple dislike this film which I will own on DVD when it gets delivered because I have seen it and own it with commercials from taping it off the t.v. which stinks because it cuts most of it out which is the reason I bought it but Anyways why is this film disliked, yea its a little cheesy but its fun to watch.


You got your killer, spoof ending, and a film that everyone had to believe that evrything was for real until the ending which I have to agree was a little disapointing since it was all a joke except when the real killer was found and killed which was cool. The effects werent that bad either. Its classic to see when a killer uses his hand to grab the person into the room with the lights off in a dark hallway, or when a person gets decapitated with an axe in a shadow like segment because its like watching an old who dunnit? movie. Aside from all that I suggest you watch the film carefully and it will make sense to you like it did to me. Rent it first but if your a die hard horror fan like Iam who loves horror films, especially slasher movies then buy it. LOVE the death scene of that teacher with the nails and scalpel in the dark class room, and nice F/X job on the bodies in the decaying dead classmates in the abandoned basement of the school!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Never heard of this. After seeing it I know why!
preppy-319 April 2005
In 1982 there was a series of brutal murders in a high school. The school was closed down and the murderer was never found. In 1987 a film crew decides to make a movie on the murders and shot it in the abandoned school. And then the murders begin again...

A horror comedy done terribly wrong. There are some good things about this--the performances by Alex Rocco (going WAY over the top), Brendan Hughes (as the baby-faced hero) and Lori Lethin (as the final girl) are very good and there are a few funny moments. But that's it. The horror isn't even remotely scary with some of the worst special effects I've ever seen in a horror film. The script meanders all over the place and the film within a film "surprises" got tedious real quick. Also the final search and showdown with the killer goes on for 30 MINUTES!!! Then there's multiple twists and turns at the end...but it's too little too late. Basically I was bored and the lousy murders were really insulting. Also there's a truly dreadful performance by Richard Brestoff (it's so bad it's almost embarrassing to watch) and Maureen McCormick and Vince Edwards walk through their roles.

A lot of people find this so bad that it's good--but I was too bored to enjoy it. Also there's a young, handsome George Clooney in this--but he disappears within the first 15 minutes.

A rightfully forgotten horror film. I give it a 1.
13 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Total cheese/gore fest! I love it!
BHorrorWriter14 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
The sad thing is...I wish a prequel would have been made! Yeah this film is total, 100% cheese and B grade to the core, but it is hilarious, and original...for its time.

Clooney gives a decent, yet brief performance as Oliver...He gets dead!

Chopping editing leads the film to be hard to follow at times, but the finale is excellent, gruesome and silly all in the same vain...Yeah the film doesn't make alot of sense, but it is a helluva fun ride.

Check out Tommy Hayette (Philip Mckeon) from Alice fame...He has a really big FAN in the movie...hee hee (oh, geez, I normally don't get cheesey in my reviews..must be the movie).

I actually own 2 copies of this movie....I'm just crazy, I suppose

8 out of 10
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Strange, but good....
riot4kimber1 May 2002
Of course this movie is typically 80's horror/slasher cheese. But it's still a fun film to watch... I didn't think it was that bad!

Things of course could have been better, maybe a MTV Fear style movie, with the kids/or adults on their own, and going through the abandoned school...

I still give this movie 8 1/2 stars out of 10.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Lampoon, not a horror film!//a spoiler
BloodTheTelepathicDog22 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For some reason this film has received many negative responses, I believe it has something to do with people wanting a horror film, but instead get a horror film industry lampoon.

The plot centers around a film crew that sets up shop in an abandoned high school where a series of grisly murders took place. The murderer is still at large, and one by one the cast and crew start disappearing.

Alex Rocco, as the perverted producer, Al Fann as the libido crazed janitor and Maureen McCormick, as a police officer who finds gore arousing, give the best performances here. A young George Clooney is used as our killer's first victim.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Slasher Film Towards the End of the Trend
gavin69428 March 2013
A few years ago, a mysterious serial-killer caused panic on Crippen High School. The killer was never caught. A movie company, Cosmic Pictures, has decided to make a feature movie about these events -- on location, at the now abandoned school.

This film has received some ex post facto praise and recognition for having George Clooney. And while he is quite entertaining in the film, he is also only in it very briefly. This is hardly a showcase of Clooney talent (and good looks).

It also has an awfully terrible score. I could look up who did and call him or her out, but you know what... it is best I just let them remain anonymous.

But seriously, this is a decent little slasher film. I have seen dozens of slashers. Maybe one hundred slashers... but never saw this one until now. Shame on me. It is far from the worst, and has some decent kills and effects. Plenty of corpses, blood and all the stuff you like in a slasher film.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Campy, Uninteresting Horror.
Mr_Ectoplasma14 July 2006
"Return To Horror High" is one corny '80s horror flick. The movie is about a film company, Cosmic Pictures, who decides to shoot a movie at an abandoned high school, Crippen High School. Years ago, there was a brutal massacre that took place in the school, and now the movie being filmed is based on the events that took place. Then, one by one, cast and crew members and others involved in the film begin disappearing and being murdered. It seems as if the events that took place years before are repeating itself.

This movie is an ultimate cheese-fest, plain and simple. The majority of the movie is just a compilation of badly-edited scenes with lots of fake blood, campy murder sequences, and mediocre acting. The whole idea and basis of the movie is rather ridiculous, and I'll say the performances weren't quite convincing either. On a high note, the movie does feature a younger George Clooney who plays a cast member in the film, which was interesting to see. And Maureen McCormick (who played the infamous Marcia Brady on "The Brady Bunch") also appears as a female cop. But they don't really do anything to save this movie anyway. It's been a few years since I watched this movie, so the details are pretty vague to me, but overall this movie wasn't anything too great.

Bottom line is, if you like really corny horror movies, then you might enjoy this obscure little '80s horror picture. But for the majority of people, this movie wouldn't offer anything that is remotely interesting or that we haven't seen before. You'll probably want to pass on it. 3/10.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Where do I begin? It was bad beyond words.
Pepper Anne3 April 2004
I can't believe people actually recommend watching this ridiculous "horror" movie. Now granted, I should allow for some discretion given the movie's budget, but for crying out loud, there's not one thing I could find that I liked about this movie. And I supsect a lot of careers began and ended with this movie (uh...except for Alex Rocco...and George Clooney's "career" didn't even begin at this point).

This is a movie in a movie in a movie. Think that's confusing to imagine? Just wait till you watch this movie. Some filmmakers are trying to create a horror movie based on a few slayings at a high school. They're filming in the same high school, stalked by the same killer no less. Now, while the body count is building up, you have two stories going on. The first is the keystone cop types investigating a murder while the movie (and murdering) is going on. Then, you have one of the cast members and technical supervisors trying to figure out who the killer is. There's a lot of little "fooled you" moments, but after a while, it begins to get pretty agravating when you come to ask whether or not a killer exists at all, and whether the killer is even human (and consequently, invincible...which then makes you wonder what's the point).

This "horror" movie was so stupid, it doesn't even deserve a PG rating. The special effects are simply laughable...people have made better student films in their own garages. In one scene, Maureen McCormick, who plays one of the investigating cops, picks up an arm that is an obvious piece of foam. When she shows it to her supervisor, he jumps back in horror, and she follows suit. I kept waiting for the part where she says "gotcha" and tells him she picked it up from the prop department (remember, they're filming the movie at the school). I was ready to turn off the whole thing when it came to the Scooby Doo ending. And I can't even begin to figure out what the point was of the finale "fakeout" involving the film crew.

And there's even an 80s romance sequence (with an awful 80s song), creating a scene that doesn't even seem in line with the rest of the mood of the movie. The whole movie was a mess of a bad story, poor effects, bad acting (especially from the science teacher). And it wasn't even bad enough to be funny. It was just simply bad.
3 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A nifty and knowing comic take on 80's slasher schlock
Woodyanders26 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A low-budget movie crew make a trashy slasher film on location at a high school where a series of murders took place five years ago. Pretty soon a mysterious psycho killer starts bumping off cast and crew members left and write. Director/co-writer Bill Froehlich offers a fun behind-the-scenes glimpse at the chaotic shooting of a down'n'dirty cheapie flick, relates the absorbing story in a complex and tricky flashback-ridden manner, delivers plenty of clever and startling film-within-a-film moments, stages the murder set pieces with reasonable brio, and, best of all, makes several spot-on satiric pot shots about pandering to the lowest common denominator (y'know, graphic and gratuitous sex and violence) and the filmmakers' responsibility to produce something of substantial moral value. Moreover, the killer's true identity is a genuine surprise and the fake-out ending is brilliant. The sound acting from the sturdy cast rates as another significant asset, with stand-out contributions from Alex Rocco as cheerfully shameless sleazeball producer Harry Sleerik, Scott Jacoby as pretentious director Josh Forbes, Brendan Hughes as earnest cop hero Steve Blake, Lori Lethin as sweet lead actress Callie Cassidy, Andy Romano as sensitive Principal Castleman, Richard Brestoff as hapless screenwriter Arthur, Vince Edwards as mean, lecherous biology teacher Richard Bimbaum, Maureen McCormick as eager, bumbling, blood-happy Officer Tyler, and Al Fann as merry janitor Amos. A then unknown George Clooney appears briefly as unreliable lead actor Oliver, who gets offed early on in the picture. Stacy Widelitz's slick cinematography boasts some smooth gliding Steadicam work and a surplus of smoky backlighting. Roy Wagner's spirited shuddery score likewise does the trick. An enjoyable and inspired deconstruction of your basic slice'n'dice fare.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Provides some fun, but really isn't as good as it could have been ** out of 5
Lance26 June 2005
It's a shame because this film had a lot of potential. There were really lively moments like the man getting chopped by a huge fan, but then it goes into oblivion and confusion.

Basically, what I mean is that the film itself is constructed in a way that really confuses the viewer. This isn't David Lynch we're talking here, this is supposed to be a horror comedy but some of the jokes just don't work because we're too busy trying to figure out why these random scenes come out of nowhere and whether or not we're watching the movie or the movie within the movie.

Now that may sound like a fun element to the film and indeed, if constructed the right way, it probably would have been. But alas, it pretty much... well... in all honesty... fails.

But this is definitely one of those you'll at least wanna say you saw if you're into 80's schlock.

Love the poster art though.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Bad Horrors Aren't Intentional... Or Not?
Warning: Spoilers
Some bad horror movies know exactly what they're after, and RETURN TO HORROR HIGH toys with an audience who thinks they know what the characters are doing and where the story's going, and why...

Beginning in the present time, exterior night, as a tough yet gentle-giant-type police chief and a doting, surreptitiously perverse female officer, played by BRADY BUNCH oldest Maureen McCormick, are outside a high school where a multi-mutilation of bodies are a mysterious result from a confusing aftermath: Then cutting back to a horror flick being shot inside the school centering on a string of deaths that had occurred years before... Confused yet?

Well there are plenty of head-scratching moments that all eventually add up to a much more worthwhile drive-in homage than most video rentals from the middle eighties. A young, mullet-donning George Clooney plays a primadonna pretty boy actor on the verge of stardom, and he's the first to walk off the safety of the set - into the ghostly halls of the spooky high school, a dry ice saturated locale that could have worked even if HORROR was more of a serious venture.

The weakest aspect (in a movie that needs anything it can to work) is no-name leading man Brendan Hughes as the former cop who was there when it happened and now, replacing Clooney, he's the film-within-a-film's star along with an actress who makes up for him, in spades: THE DAY AFTER's subtle beauty Lori Lethin plays several people - or maybe just one?

At times of utter confusion she's always fun to watch either scared to death, combating males, or being oblivious to the body count/bloodshed surrounding...

Also starring former ALICE child actor turned awkward lean teen Philip McKeon with OVER THE EDGE father and son Andy Romano and Michael Kramer along with the movie's movie's pretentious director and slimy producer Scott Jacoby and Alex Rocco plus former 1950's stud Vince Edwards, RETURN TO HORROR HIGH is a cat batting a ball of colorful string, unveiling itself creatively as it's surprisingly good: enough for horror fans to not have to take it seriously enough to feel cheated of their beloved genre, and the casual viewer could very well be entertained if they'd give in and... as the saying goes... go with it. (
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Now just what really happened at Crippen High?!
mylimbo21 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A film crew is making a sleazy low-budget horror flick at Crippen High School. This location hides a terrible past, where a few years ago a series of brutal murders occurred and the killer was never captured. Strangely enough members of the cast and crew start disappearing and on the minds of certain cast members is that it's happening all over again.

Huh? Yep, huh? "Return to Horror High" is a hokey low-budget tongue-in-cheek slasher that peculiarly rips on its genre in a very confusing muddle of ideas and bizarre pathways. There's just too much going on, as the illogical story switches back and forth in a rather disjointed manner. The reason for this messy situation can be attributed to story moving between the police investigation, that of the crew actually making the horror flick with killer knocking them off and then the murders the film is based on. That's quite handful and when they gel into one. You're left rather bemused by it all and at times it hard to tell when it's just a film within a film moment. It can get tediously bog down (especially the awkward romance link) by its chattiness and little action. The "Scooby Doo" mystery piles on the red herrings and the lambs for the slaughter, but it's nothing we haven't watched before. What I found to lift this outrageously silly comic horror was that it has a real good time mocking that of stereotypes and clichés and there are a couple of fun hammy performances from the elastic cast. It simply plays for one big wicked joke.

The story's structure and overall editing might be a choppy mess, on the other-hand the production was well prepared and the setting was atmospheric. A spine-tingling score that tries to keep you on edge combined with sweeping semi-doco cinematography and gloomy lighting made that factor passable. Although the embarrassingly cheese-filled 80s soundtrack can destroy the mood in certain scenes and the humour can over-rail the menace it tries to build in the opening half of the film. On a whole, it can be lacking, but director Bill Froelich delivers some inventive flushes in a few piercing scenes. A lot of blood (if "fake" movie blood) is splashed about and nudity is dished up in minor bursts. On the other spectre, suspense is quite minimal and clumsy false jumps only reveal the real one with dire results. Actually it can get unpredictable in spontaneous spurts. The ridiculously out-there climax only proves so when it builds up towards its final outcome. This big twist is easy to understand, but how it came to be doesn't make a whole lotta' sense.

The humour is quite overwrought in its not-so-subtle style, but these playful jests in the dialogues do have its shining light. Alex Rocco gets most of the best lines and is real treat as the flat-out, obnoxious, slime ball producer. Also the likes of Maureen McCormick as the hot and bothered cop raises a few chuckles and Lori Lethin's feisty awe only engages. While, the acting teeters on lousy, the over-exaggerated turns only enhances the film's eccentric energy and likability. Oh yeah, I actually found the characters rather likable. I'm sure some people will be waiting for George Clooney to hit the screen and you don't have to wait for long, but then again he bites the dust after only about 15 minutes into the flick. Even if it was only a tiny part, his charisma was evident early on.

This spoof isn't always on the mark, but it passes time decently enough.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Why bother?
Coventry9 September 2004
If you want to see how George Clooney (with a very flamboyant haircut) gets hacked up in one of his first film roles ever, this is your change…Other than this, there isn't anything worth mentioning about this production. 'Return to Horror High' is a horror-comedy, and these types of film are never funny, nor scary. You could have some sympathy for the fact the makers were actually trying to spoof the overload of 80's teen slashers, but it never gets any better than lame attempts to make you laugh. The plot involves a film crew shooting a horror film in the same high school were a series of murders took place five years earlier. Actors and members of the crew start to disappear again shortly after. Did the original killer return? Are we dealing with a copycat-killer?? Does anyone care? No? …didn't think so.
4 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
dangera27 May 1999
Don't waste your time on this movie. It is the worst thing I have ever seen. I sat through about twenty minutes of it and got so bored I had to turn it off, and I have seen many cheesy movies. I'll bet George Clooney tries to forget this one.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not the worst, but pretty damn bad!!!
FrightMeter12 March 2002
There are some movies that I just can't help but to wonder if anyone actually watched it before they said that it was finished and released in onto the innocent public. This is one of those films! It is hard to fathom exactly what the point of this film was and it definitely has one of the most confusing endings in horror movie history. It is strange though...some parts of the film work very well. With a better script and director, this film actually might have been good. The idea is certainly original. It deals with a low-budget film crew who are making a film about a series of true murders that happened at a high school years before. To top it off, they are using the actual high school as the setting for the film! That part is easy to understand. Where the film becomes a mess is when it jumps from the past to present, to the film being filmed, to reality and so forth. When we think something is real, it turns out to be part of the movie that they are shooting. Again, there are some inspired moments in the film, such as the disection scene and the creep room in the basement, but even those are destroyed by the confusion of whether they are fact or fiction. But none of that matters, because the ending of this film is it's main downfall. What kind of police officers and paramedics were these people when they couldn't tell a real dead body from a fake one??!! What was the point of the crew faking the murders?? Were there ever any murders to begin with??? What did any of the rest of the movie have to do with the final confrontation scene at in the basement?? So many unanswered questions and I find it hard to understand how this got released being as confusing as it is. A total let down considering the description that the box gives. A 3 out of 10, only because it was an original idea that could have been pulled of so well in other hands.
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews