Sunday, September 4, 2011

Top 13: The 80s Back to School Edition- The Best of High School Horrors

compiled by Nickolas Cook

September means the greatest horror of all for some: IT MEANS BACK TO SCHOOL! AAAAHHHHHH!!
No problem, kids. Trust me; you'll live through it. We all did.
Well, most of us did...
Unfortunately, for the people on this month's TOP 13 list, they weren't so lucky. Even though they might have made it through some bad summer camp experiences, being chased by macahete carrying, hockey-masked undead thugs, or some bad desert vacations, being chased by inbred cannibals, or even just a road trip through the great state of Texas, having avoided chainsaw weilding maniacs, most of them don't make it through the new school year, let alone their Graduation Day, Prom Night, their Sweet 16 or Birthday parties, Cheerleader Camp, a seaside Christian-based play (Fear No Evil) or even a simple babysitting job on Halloween night. These high school kids have it rough. Nothing says study like crazy, like being stalked by insane slashers who are out for revenge, out for young, innocent high school blood.
And while the movies which made the list may not be the best of the best of the genre, they do take place in high school (as opposed to plenty of them which take place during the college years; no worries, however, we do have another TOP 13 list on the way for "the 80s college years"...sort of a Part Deux of this Top 13.
Some of the films which did not make it, were either so bad my conscience wouldn't allow me to do so; or because the high school angle really isn't the main focus of the movies, so that's why they didn't make it.
And if you're like me and you wouldn't be able to sleep not knowing which ones didn't make a list like this...which, honestly, contains some real losers. Not all of them. Some of them are classic horror films, but aren't high school focused. Or some were just too comedic for me to take seriously as horror films.
But the bad ones?
How bad were the bad ones that didn't make it?
Judge for yourselves, fellow Horrorheads.

Student Bodies (1981)--too comedic.
Return to Horror High (1987)--too comedic, shitty gore, and more to do with the filmmaking company than the high school.
Massacre at Central High (1976)--believe it or not, with that title, it's not a 'slasher' film; more of a political allegory.
Cutting Class (1989)--too comedic, despite some great twists and turns.
The Majorettes (1986)--too shitty, plain and simple; just bad.
Phenomena (1985)--more of a boarding school and the insect telepathy thing is the focus...and the razor-weilding chimpanzee...and the mutant kid...okay, it's a goddamned Argento film, what do you expect?
Evil Speak (1981) (aka Evilspeaks and Computer Murders)--military academy, really.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)--high school is hardly mentioned throughout the movie.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy's Revenge (1985)--again, school is really more of a backdrop for this movie, although it was close to making the list.
Night Life (1989)--more a zombie movie; high school is more an afterthought.
My Deadly Friend (1986)--this is heavier on subpar sci-fi elements, mixed with high school as a backdrop than the main focus...and a killer girlfriend robot? Only in Wes Craven land, folks.

But the movies which did make the list below, especially the ones you will recognize easily enough, since they have appeared on other lists before (Halloween, Prom Night, Happy Birthday to Me and Carrie), and most of them will probably never make another best of list ever again.

So without any further ado, welcome to this month's TOP 13 Back To School the 80s Edition. Enjoy...and then hit those books, mister!

13. Sweet 16 (1983)

12. Slaughter High (1986)

11. Prom Night (1980)

10. Horror High (aka Brain Twister) (1974)

9. Hide and Go Shriek (1988)

8. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

7. Halloween (1978)

6. Graduation Day (1981)

5. Fear No Evil (1981)

4. Class of Nuke 'Em High (1986)


3. Christine (1983)

2. Cheerleader Camp (aka Bloody Pom-Poms) (1988)

1. Carrie (1976)

--Nickolas Cook