Ah yes, good ol’ 1981. That year saw so many Halloween and Friday the 13th rip-offs; it would make your (decapitated) head spin. The Burning, Eyes of a Stranger, The Funhouse, Happy Birthday to Me, Hell Night, The Prowler, etc., etc., etc. Heck even the SEQUELS to both Friday the 13th AND Halloween came out in ’81; truly a watershed year for the slasher genre. It was only a matter of time before an Airplane style parody of the so-called Dead Teenager Movies came out in the form of Student Bodies.
Yes if you thought Scary Movie was the first all out parody of slasher movies, well… you’re wrong.
The opening credits say: “26 horror movies were released last year. None of them lost money.”
I guess since Friday the 13th made a mint for Paramount Pictures, the least they could do is poke a little fun at their own expense.
There’s a psychotic killer known only as “The Breather” who stalks and kills teenagers and gets off on making heavy breathing phone calls. His murders are committed using paper clips, Hefty Bags, a wooden horse head, an eggplant, and chalkboard erasers. In the end, we learn it was all a dream, but there’s also a well done Carrie inspired final scare to make up for it.
The gags are all expectedly uneven, but there are some pretty big laughs sprinkled throughout. There’s an on screen body count to help you keep track of how many teens have bought the farm and written indicators of dangers the kids are ignoring like “Unlocked Doors”, “Open Windows”, “Clues”, and “Suspect” pop up occasionally. The football game is a mini-classic as the high school players are a bunch of Pee Wee Leaguers going up against a bunch of muscular black players. But the funniest gag in the film is the producer interrupting the movie about halfway through and apologizing for the lack of nudity and graphic violence, so he says, “Fuck you” in order to get an R rating.
The writer and director, Mickey Rose (who used to be the ex-writing partner of Woody Allen) gets about as much mileage from the gags as about anybody could’ve and keeps things moving along at a steady clip. Since the film was made during the writer’s strike, producer Michael (Fletch) Ritchie used the Allen Smithee pseudonym, and the voice of The Breather is credited as “Richard Brando”, but it’s really Richard Belzer.
An idiot boyfriend gets the movie’s best line when he says, “You’re not responding to my maleness!”
To get your copy of this long out of print film, or any others from Legend Films’ new line of DVD’s (all licensed from Paramount Pictures), check out www.legendfilms.net.