Written by El Fangorio
I’ll try and make this one short and sweet as I’m sure many of you have fond memories of this 1981 spoof of slasher films: Student Bodies is pretty damn lame. Maybe it’s because we were 13. Maybe it’s because the conventions of the slasher film are no longer absurd enough to warrant a parody of them. Maybe it’s because we used to be a little bit on the retarded side. Who knows? All I know is that I probably laughed three times total during this film. With that said, it’s still a welcome addition to the format, and we have Legend Films to thank for reminding us that some films are worth unearthing if solely for preservation’s sake.
Toby, the school virgin, is losing all her friends to an unknown stalker, and everyone is a suspect. The killer is using such zany objects as paper clips and eggplants to do the job and when he’s not using a rubber chicken to make prank phone calls, he’s busy panting around in his goulashes, trying not to step on too much gum. If your pants are still dry after hearing those nuggets, fret not as there are also drooling phones, meowing dogs, and farting corpses. Throw in a giant, skinny, quadruple-jointed actor who goes by the name of “The Stick,” and you’ve got a film that plays infinitely better in your childhood memory. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day, it’s all about Malvert.
What surprises me most about this film is what little it has to do with particular slasher films of the time. There really is no reference to any actual one, just a jab at the formula, which is that if you are a teen and having sex, you will be killed with a bizarre weapon by an unseen killer. To be fair, the opening is both a riff on Halloween and When a Stranger Calls, but after that Student Bodies is usually just hoping that it can get by on POV shots and heavy breathing. The numbers that flash on the screen to let you know the body count used to be funny back when a body count seemed bizarre, but now it just wears thin as does the repetition of showing everyone having sex while offering no nudity. The filmmakers do find a way to still ensure an R rating and it’s one of the two laughs available here.
It’s not surprising then that the creators of this film chose to have their names removed. Its production is credited to one Allen Smithee, this being none other than Michael Ritchie who gave us such ‘70s classics as The Bad News Bears, Prime Cut, and Smile. Some have said that the Smithee is only due to the writers’ strike going on at the time but I beg to differ. Though it would explain all of the first-time actors on hand, it’s too much of a coincidence that this film is also a big POS.
Legend Films still manages to polish a turd by giving a terrific widescreen 1.78 transfer. Though a little washed out in some of the exterior scenes, I’m sure this is due to the source print and the monkeys behind the camera. The mono audio is decent enough and this time out, they’re able to provide us with a trailer, proving that they do think about these things when available. Another nice touch is the original artwork used for the DVD case as it was quite the iconic image from the days of “mom and pop” video shops.