Twelve Things about Student Bodies
(Reviewed for "Peril of the Screen" of the RIP V Challenge and linked up at the RIP V Challenge Review Site)
12. Would you believe I didn't know this was a parody when I started watching it? (Do you think I would have chosen to see it for the "screen" portion of a Gothic Reading Challenge? =P)
Student Bodies doesn't even attempt to be scary, which I find disappointing, but understandable. This is less Scream (which I love) and more Scary Movie (which I can't stand)--but I think I'll give it the usual "Hey, it was the 80s!" break.
11. Now I just wish my memories of movies from this time--late 70s, early 80s, informally known as the Halloween era--were fresher. I feel as if I missed out on a lot of this movie's jokes. Those black garbage bags, for instance, totally went over my head. And those horse head bookends? Call me clueless!
But as The Mike points out in his fantastic review:
"Student Bodies is relatively spot-on regarding films that had been released then, but it also takes its shots at the formula before the slasher movement really picked up steam. At this point, Jason Voorhees had yet to put on a mask, Freddy Krueger was still a pleasant future dream, and Michael Myers didn't have a living sister . . ."
My own happy memories from these later films, which came out at the height of the Slasher craze--are always ready for instant referencing.
10. And since I can't comment on the jokes, let me just go all Child of the 80s on you again. Nothing sets the nostalgic mood like pointless product placement. This movie has Dr. Pepper, Coors, Dunkin Donuts, and Kentucky Fried Chicken before the sneaky rebranding as "KFC". Subject matter aside, it was truly a more innocent time.
9. It would have also been a cheaper time, but what was up with the seventy-five-cents-an-hour rate for baby-sitting??? If anyone reading this did some baby-sitting (or was baby-sat) in the early 80s and can shed some light on the economic aspect of it, the combox is yours!
8. Then there are token virgin Toby's costumes. I had to smile at the "No" button pinned to her bra while she ran around without a top. Her "Sandy from Grease" disguise could have been really dumb--and maybe some of you will say that it is--but I liked it, too, if only because it is one of the very few classic elements in an otherwise embarrassingly dated parody.
7. Speaking of classic (with a side-order of cheese) . . .something that caught my eye in the opening sequence was the roll-up desk full of potential murder weapons--all grouped together for the villain's convenience. It made me think of the game Cluedo, another sort of entertainment driven by black humour and two-dimensional stereotypes.
This is a good parallel to draw because it helps explain the best part of Student Bodies. A Slasher is just another type of Whodunit: to be truly successful, it needs a villain whose identity is both totally shocking and perfectly sensible. And this movie arguably delivers that in its last few minutes.
6. So let's review our list of suspects now, with this helpful voice-over . . .
Hello, it's me, The Breather. You're probably wonder who I am. Who could I be? Could I be the innocent looking Toby? Would you trust a girl who looked like Prince Valiant in a plum sweater? Maybe I'm Dr. Sigmund; a man who was once arrested for corrupting the morals of a hooker. Then there's Malvert; with an I.Q. of a handball and the personality of a parking meter: violated! Could I be the principal Mr. Peters; a man who keeps cheese in his underwear to attract mice? Let's not Ms. Leclair; English teacher by day and English teacher by night. Ah, Miss Mumsley; She's eats 12 prunes a day and nothing happens. Nurse Krud and Ms. Van Dyke: what's in a name? Everything! And then there Dumpkin; a man who sleeps with nuts in between horse head bookends.
Yes, that's right: most of the suspects are members of the faculty. As someone who once worked in a high school, I say that's not such a far-fetched premise! =P
5. As for the idea that all the students but one girl (and the boy who gets paired with that girl) are sexually active ("Oh, no! He could wipe out the entire senior class!"), well, it's the obvious genre joke, aye? I just think it got old before the movie was half over.
4. Then there's the poor pacing. I can think of at least two kills (maybe four!) that could have been written out entirely. And since the last twenty minutes are the best part, anyway, it would have been nice to have reached them earlier. (Note to Slasher filmmakers: a bigger body count does not always mean a better movie.)
3. One question I must have asked about ten times during the film . . .
Is Malvert double jointed?
Some quick Internet research later, I had my answer.
(Ah, Wikipedia, what would I do without you?)
2. Student Bodies is kind of like a sandwich--but not a good one. The best part of the parody is at the beginning and the most intelligent injection of satire comes at the end. But I don't recommend hitting the fast forward button, because the jokes at the hospital won't really make sense unless you watch the whole thing.
1. My Horror blogger friends will now probably disown me for saying this, but . . . I do kind of like this movie. =P That ending--which I must have mentioned three times already--could have been tailor-made for this easy critic.
Image Sources: a) Student Bodies DVD, b) Cluedo board game