Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror

Posts

A horror parody from a comedy writer with a highly impressive resume merely toys with tropes instead of beating them like a dead horse.

A disturbingly loud breathing killer stalks the halls of a high school, killing students with a paperclip and halitosis. Let’s dig into 1981’s STUDENT BODIES, directed by Mickey Rose!

As I See It

Comedy writer Mickey Rose was tasked with adding some slasher stereotypes to his brand of humor. A prolific writer who worked with and wrote for such comedy legends as Sid Caesar, Tim Conway, The Smothers Brothers, and Late Night with Johnny Carson, it’s no wonder they chose him for such a film.

I did not actually know this was a parody film when I first popped it in. The opening text claims the film is “Based on actual events…” and has a line about “26 horror films were made last year, and none of them lost money.” Murder sells, baby!

With that, I was ready for a hyperbolic retelling of some twisted nineteen seventies murder case, a la The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — and that film’s claim it was “Based on true events” when in actuality only a very small portion of Ed Gein’s bio was used to inspire set design.

When we see “the house” in Student Bodies — and they quickly cycle through the holidays: “Halloween Night, Friday the 13th, Jamie Lee Curtis’s Birthday” — I quickly realized this was a spoof.

The Breather is funny at first, mocking Michael Myers mostly, but it grows old on the endless stairs scene.

I did find the tools-of-the-trade scene amusing as he chooses a paper clip (and subsequently unfolds it to make it more deadly) over truly lethal weapons. There is a definite low-rent version of Naked Gun or Airplane! vibe to the humor.

This may be the first time in a film that a body count ticker was used, as text continuously flashes on the screen pointing out plot points and so on. Can you imagine complaining about paying a babysitter seventy-five cents an hour?

We end it all with a Wizard of Oz “…and you were there!” ending, which only would have been enhanced with a Scooby Doo ending for good measure.

Famous Faces

Most of the cast comprises actors who did nothing else after this film. But frequent John Carpenter collaborator Alan Howarth is credited for electronic music in the sound department.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Tons of them. They were always going for jokes.

Heartthrob

Malvert the Janitor, played by lost-to-time comedian The Stick, deserved more screen time. He was so unique it’s a wonder Rose didn’t see the value in pointing the camera at him. Unique build, absurd behavior, and comedic timing are a perfect recipe for a horror film’s comic relief.

Ripe for a Remake

These horror parodies come out so often it would be hard to call for another. Maybe I’m biased because of when I grew up. But Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs is effective by sticking with a story and letting the jokes find their way instead of being a collage of all the films and tropes of that current era, like this or even the Scary Movie films tend to do.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

UK-based 88 Films released a Blu-Ray with sparse extras in 2018 after US-based distributor Olive films put it out in 2015. You can rent to stream on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, VUDU, and YouTube.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3


THE DAILY DIG
The Daily Dig brings you hidden genre gems from the 1960s-90s you may have not yet discovered. You’ll get a brief rundown of everything you need to know, including where to watch each title for yourself. Come back each day, Mon-Fri, for new featured titles. CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF DAILY DIG COVERAGE.

Leave a Reply

Allowed tags:  you may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="">, <strong>, <em>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>
Please note:  all comments go through moderation.
Overall Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.