What “Cemetery High” lacks in polished execution, it makes up for in interesting and progressive (for the time) ideas about gender roles.
This week’s recommendation, like all the Tubi Tuesdays in the month of March, is school-themed to celebrate our Horror Spring Break. We are kicking things off this week with a bit of tongue-in-cheek horror: 1988’s Cemetery High.
The premise of Cemetery High is certainly one that will peak your interest as it follows a group of high school girls who go on a killing spree trying to rid the world of scummy men. The execution, on the other hand, will leave you shaking your head at the utter insanity on screen.
It starts out pretty solid, with a group of leather-clad women executing some bikers in a field when they save a bride, but it soon goes downhill with numerous flashbacks.
The film ultimately seems confused as to whether it wants to be serious, a comedy, a narrative or a pseudo-documentary.
During the biker’s autopsy, the weirdo coroner who is obsessed with organs flashes back to the origin story of the three main girls. They are shown in high school, and we get to witness how the group’s killing spree began.
The first girl we meet is a cheerleader dating the captain of the football team. One day, he and his buddies decide to rape her. The second girl is a bookworm who does the homework for the same guys from the football team. One day, they decide to rape her, too. The third girl is just showering for a really long time with the camera pointed directly at her breasts. And, of course, the football team decides to rape her as well.
The girls, having had enough, arm themselves with chainsaws and axes and execute the members of the football team one by one.
It’s all completely absurd, but it gets the film going with a blast.
Too often, older, low budget films tend to drag, as the skill of the actors is not enough to drive the story forward. But Cemetery High doesn’t worry with that concern. It just bombards you with blood and boobs.
The film continues on a strange path, showing the three women killing every bad man in town in the most horrific ways — all the while, flashing to some strange interview segments with the women who seem to be narrating the films. At first, they kill bikers and a couple of pedophiles. But then they just start killing random guys who hit on them or buy them drinks. In a shocking turn of events, so do all the other women in town. Soon the men start complaining they are not safe to walk alone at night because of these dangerous, violent women.
It’s a cheap movie filled with gratuitous nudity from the late 80s, but it is smart enough to take the concept of rape culture and turn it upside down.
In this film, the men become victims in the exact same way that women are so often victimized. It’s very interesting… and very far ahead of its time.
Whether it was trying to do it on purpose or not, the film creatively tells the story of victimized women and turns it back around onto the men. Everything from old men preying on vulnerable women at school, to sleazy Hollywood directors and even gross politicians. It’s sleazy, and it’s bad. But you just might learn a thing or two.
Check out Cemetery High streaming for free on Tubi.