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Student Bodies – 7

Director – Mickey Rose, Michael Ritchie

Cast – Kristen Riter, Matthew Goldsby, Jerry Belson, Joe Flood, Joe Talarowski, Mimi Weddell, Carl Jacobs, Peggy Cooper, Janice E. O’Malley

Release Year – 1981

Reviewed by John of the Dead

The slasher film was in the midst of its glory days in 1981, so naturally the popular horror sub-genre had to be parodied right? We often hear of Scream and Scary Movie as horror parodies, but before them there was Student Bodies. A laugh-out-loud lulzfest heavy in gruesome commentary provided by the film’s hilarious and crafty killer, what the film lacks in gore it makes up for any other way possible. Initially doomed to lurk television channels due to its release during the Writer’s Guild strike, Student Bodies is now a cult classic that I recommend to fans of slasher films who enjoy a good laugh.

A serial killer known as “The Breather” stalks the female students of Lamab High School, voyeuristically watching them fornicate before killing them one by one with various objects and in hilarious fashion.

Student Bodies is the first film to parody the slasher sub-genre and it does a damn good job of it. We see the usual slasher cliches, like sex, stalking, edged weapons, etc., made fun of in creative and sometimes downright laugh-out-loud scenes. In a sense the film has a Naked Gun type of humor (it does predate the movie), which is pretty much my favorite type of humor. I won’t give away too much, but I will reference an early scene where the killer passes over a gun, axe, noose, knife, and rat poison in favor of a paper clip which he used to kill his victim. The story is an incredibly simple one that never takes itself seriously and simply gives us a killer hacking away at young fornicating teens in hilarious ways and from a point-of-view perspective. On top of this, he taunts his victims by telephone by speaking through a rubber chicken to disguise his hilarious voice. Due to the film’s extremely low budget the kills are very tame and there is hardly any onscreen violence or nudity. So how did this flick manage an R-rating? Believe me…the writers found a way.

The film’s two directors, Mickey Rose and the uncredited (due to union strike) Michael Ritchie did a good job directing this piece and managed to keep the viewer entertained despite a lack of gore and other horror goodies. They did this by achieving positive performances from the actors portraying the film’s colorful characters, but what I enjoyed the most was the killer. Due to the kill scenes being filmed in the POV format we don’t see the killer but are instead treated to his absolutely hilarious dubbed commentary. This commentary was well acted and came with the funniest yet also creepiest voice you could imagine, making for one of the genre’s most clever and craftiest killers.

Overall, Student Bodies may be the inception of slasher spoofs and is a damn good one at that. If you want some good cheesy laughs I suggest you chick this out.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

  1. February 4, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I first saw this in the 90s on Comedy Central and since seen it multiple times on HBO and than DVD. This is a film I’ve been meaning to review. Perhaps someday.

    Its a little ahead of its time if you think about it. The slasher film was still in early stages. Based on when this was released films such as Friday the 13th and My Bloody Valentine were out, but I would assume this was filming at the time. So by right when this was written no Jason as the killer yet.

    Halloween II had yet to come out if not mistaken (not sure what month Student Bodies came out). And of course no Freddy. That would be another 3-years. So Student Bodies jumped right on the early cliches. Had this come out between 82-84 I think it could have been even better. Though its still great fun.

    Good review (sorry for the long reply lol)

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