Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 Day Horror Challenge: Day 13

Horror and comedy are pretty well intertwined nowadays. Even the straight horror has winking nods at humor. Usually comedy is in a horror movie for one of two reasons; to mislead or as an inside joke. Very few comedies used to attempt horror, but in the past three decades, that number has steadily risen. The majority of recent horror comedies have been made on the cheap for fast cash. They have almost zero redeeming values and it is quite obvious that a "cash grab" is being made to anyone who is paying attention. There have been a few classic horror comedies and I chose one that only recently has gotten the appreciation that it deserves.

Your favorite horror comedy.
Student Bodies (1981)

I put this movie on for a group of friends last year and within minutes, the entire group went from feigning interest to laughing hysterically. The plot is pretty standard for a horror film and if it was just a straight horror movie, then it would be pretty bad. Luckily, this perfectly parodies the rash of cheap interchangeable horror movies that were coming out in the late seventies and early eighties. In essence, this was the first horror spoof.

From a virginal heroine to a creepy janitor to a heavy breathing killer, this was a movie that took all the stock horror film characters and tweaked them for laughs. A killer is on the loose called "The Breather". The evidence mounts up against the virginal girl, named Toby. One by one, the body count rises, followed by an on-screen counter. Laughs and bodies pile up and things go from ridiculous to ludicrous.

The production was made during a writers strike, so there are many non-union people working on the production, in front of the camera and behind the scenes. The mostly unknown cast just adds another dimension to the film, as many of the original movies and situations that it parodies use unknown actors in the roles. It feels like a horror movie from the time period and that is this movie's greatest strength. It can mimic those situations so well that when the comedic elements arrive, they are magnified.

To fund the film, the producers used a lot of product placement. It is very apparent and is used to enhance the comedy. I still want to know who "The Stick" is, who plays Malvert the Janitor. He is perfectly cast in an oddball role. I can never think of horse head bookends again without thinking of this movie. This is a film that you will definitely be quoting afterwards.

"Sometimes Malvert pee red!"


LoCoDe said...

My local video store back in the day never carried this one. I'll have to chase it down.

thewritersjourney said...

Just watched this Sunday night, Steve, and I have to say THANK YOU for the recommendation! It had everyone at work rolling, and was a much-needed win due to a steady stream of bad movies lately.

White Sox Cards said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! They certainly don't make movies like this anymore. :-)

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