Friday, August 28, 2015

Student Bodies: An Unfunny Heavy Breather


Director: Mickey Rose

Cast: Kristen Riter, Matthew Goldsby, Jerry Belson

Olive Films / Region A / Rated R / 1.78:1 widescreen (1080p) / English mono / 86 minutes

Extras: NONE


Before Tucker & Dale made rednecks funny, James Gunn's Slither grossed you out and even before Wes Craven deconstructed the slasher sub-genre with 1996's Scream, Mickey Rose's Student Bodies was satirizing horror movies. He didn't do it in the smirky, wink-and-nod kinda way that some do or the intelligent, darkly humorous way films like Behind the Mask: The Rise of Lesley Vernon and A Cabin in the Woods did, but it took the goofy David Zucker (Airplane!, The Naked Gun) approach; out-and-out fucking goofiness. Silly one-liners, absurd puns, bizarre characters. Student Bodies did that shit 20 years before the Scary Movie franchise made its first bazillion dollars. 

There is a serial killer stalking the students of Lamab High School and he is targeting the horny ones who are in the midst of doing the nasty! He voyeuristically stalks his prey while breathing VERY hard (they refer to him as 'The Breather', natch) and muttering silly shit to himself. Unfortunately, good girl Toby (yes, she has a boy's name) seems to turn up at every murder site and is the prime suspect in the killings. Of course we, as the audience, are assaulted with copious red herrings like the shop teacher with an unnatural love of horse bookends, the creepy principal and the janitor who can only be described as very odd looking. After lots of slayings and goofy gags, we are treated to a ridiculous reverse-end-around-twistaroo ending... or is it?

I have never been a fan of horror comedies. For me, it negates the whole point of a horror movie; to frighten and unnerve. I am also not a fan of the David Zucker and Mel Brooks style of non-stop goofiness. It makes me laugh for about 15-20 minutes and then I'm ready to throw my cat through the TV just to make it stop. Thus, I am not a fan of Student Bodies. But there are a lot of horror fans who eat this kind of stuff up and if you are one of those people, this movie is going to win you over with lines like "Hasn't there been enough senseless killing? Let's have a murder that makes sense!" or "Why do they always run away from me? It's the galoshes. They're a dead giveaway. Why do I wear them? It isn't even raining!" 

But the best bit in the whole movie is, in the middle of the movie an announcer breaks in and explains that the movie needs an "R" rating to make money but doesn't have "full frontal nudity, graphic violence, or an explicit reference to the sex act" needed, so he explains that "the producers of this motion picture have asked me to take this opportunity to say 'Fuck you'", assumably giving Student Bodies that coveted "R" rating for adult language. There are other notable gags like the onscreen body count tally and helpful notes to point out the obvious but unless you like being bludgeoned with non-stop silliness and heavy breathing, I would say skip this and go watch Evil Dead II again. Now THAT has some graphic violence needs for the "Restricted" rating.

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