FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 15, 2006

Day 14- The Twilight Zone

The word "heartburn" is a good word because the word itself provides you with its meaning, unlike, say, the word "chair". And so, unlike, say Just Before Dawn, the title of today's film, Class Reunion Massacre (1976), tells you exactly what to expect from it. In a general sense, yes, there is a class reunion and yes, people die at the hands of a killer. Sounds like your typical slasher flick set-up, right? You're not a fool for thinking so. The final product, however, is far, far different from the typical slasher movie...I think director Constantine Gochis trying to go for some type of gialli-feel, but what we end up with in the end can only be described with one word: really, really fucking bizarre. OK, that's a couple of words...but I'm a girl, math is hard.

A boy in ill-fitting clothes rises up from a river and gets onto a bus. He finds a sleeping priest and stands next to the priest's bed. As the boy's shadow flickers, the priest...grows a second thumb. Later, the priest gives a real fire-and-brimstone sermon about people being punished for their sins. To make good on his sermon, The Redeemer (that's his nifty moniker and also the film's alternate title: The Redeemer: Son of Satan!) arranges a "class reunion" in order to punish the intended guests for their sins- sins like...going to bars, being wealthy, being a lesbian, and...umm...being an attorney. I think. It's a little vague. Anyway, the former students are trapped in the school. The Redeemer kills them. Then...the boy in the ill-fitting clothes returns. The second thumb transfers from The Redeemer to the boy, then the boy walks back into the river- the end. The movie really makes even less sense that I've explained it here, if you can believe it.

It's a confusing, bizarre mess of a movie...and yet, I loved it loved it loved it in that "this is so bad it just hurts so good" kinda way. The movie is better understood if you just see it rather than have me try to explain why it's so awesome. I'll do my best to get my point across, however. I mean, how can you NOT love a movie with the following:

-An odd marionette acting as the killer's assistant! (that's a sword in the second picture, by the way)

-A kill sequence that bears more of a resemblance to a 1970s Breck commercial than to anything scary!
-A single shot which contains someone who reacts to the dead body in front of him with a surreptitious yawn and...The Littlest Necktie!

-A killer who has more costumes than a fucking Ben Cooper factory, most of them laughably awful and not at all frightening!

So, Class Reunion Massacre. It's not scary. It makes so little sense that at least three times in the first 15 minute I yelled out a "WHAT?". The acting is deliciously atrocious. In short, it's a terrible movie...but a wonderful gem of a terrible movie. If that's not your sort of thing, I'd steer clear. It's totally my sort of thing, though, especially after all the good scary stuff I watched yesterday. I give it 8 out of 10 bouncin' and behavin' hairdos.


Amanda By Night said...

I LOVE CRM! Really, I do. It kind of freaks me out big time, plus the fact that it's kind of an enigma, just adds to the weirdness of it.

My favorite scene is the one where the gay guy, um, actor dies. Creepy.

There's no real rhyme or reason for any of it, excerpt that maybe there were seven sins (but only six victims unless you count the caretaker) and I've been told that the producers added the thumb bit as bookends to make the film more logical (!).

Anyway, I had the great pleasure of meeting Jenetta Arnette (sp?) who played the floozy (she's probably most famous as the secretary in Head of the Class) and she told me that she STILL gets letters about this movie.

The killer, TJ Finkbinder is a school teacher now!

Amanda By Night

Anonymous said...

Is "grows a second thumb" a dirty metaphor?

Anonymous said...

Amanda, I love you. I knew I recognized the floozy from somewhere! This movie was totally weird and of course I slept through part of it but I thought it rocked, too. I love the disguises.

Anonymous said...

I finally got up the courage to google a film I wrote 30 years ago. Thanks for calling it a wonderful gem of a terrible movie. I don't think it deserves such nice praise, but thanks anyway.

thing is, even though I wrote the movie, I have no idea what the director was trying for.

Anyway, thanks...

Anonymous said...

This is a very creepy, underrated movie. That puppet is scary-looking, look like a giant version of the puppet Randy from Pee-Wee's Playhouse

Brand Guys said...

This aging screenwriter guiltily admits to googling one of his initial forays into writing!

I am shocked at the attention, or for that matter, any attention, being paid to this opus.

I thus feel compelled to find my VHS copy, and likewise, find the VCR, so that I can once again force myself to figure out what in the world I might have been thinking.

(I'll assume I was thinking something more interesting than a normal 19 year old might whilst contemplating murder and mayhem towards his former high school classmates.)

Once I take a look, I hereby happily submit myself to any questions and/or interpretations of this odd piece of celluloid.

My thanks to you, Final Girl, and to your blogging fans. Of all the (silly, dopey, inept)screenplays I've written, rewritten and screwed up, Class Reunion Massacre now holds a much warmer spot in my heart, due to your kind attention!