Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bad/awesome flixxx review: Class of 1984 (1982)

"What's the matter with you? What's the matter with me? What's the matter with matter?" - Stegman

"I am the future! I am the future! I am the future!" - Stegman

"I'ma gonna kill yo', sucka! No one messes around wit' my man, Leroy. I'm gonna cut you, white-meat." - Joo Joo

This is a longtime favorite of mine. I'm not sure when or where I first saw it. I'm guessing this was a late night Joe Bob Brigg's Drive In Theater showcase from The Movie Channel when I was younger. I remember it just being brutal as Hell, and me hoping that high school wasn't that raw (It wasn't QUITE that bad in my Earth hometown...almost... in a more redneck way). But this one changed had it all. I think it probably showed a lot of the country what punk rock WAS at the time. A lot of movies remade this theme and tried to spin it maybe in an urban way (THE PRINCIPAL, DANGEROUS MINDS) or an action way (THE SUBSTITUTE) or even parody (CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH), but none of them came close to how raw this flick is and how psycho Tim Van Patton was onscreen. With a weird theme by Alice Cooper, young Tim Van Patton, even younger Michael J Fox (billed as Michael Fox) and Roddy McDowell star in CLASS OF 1984!!!!

Teachers Roddy McDowell and the new teacher Mr. Norris meet each other in the school parking lot. Mr. Norris wonders why Roddy has a pistol in his briefcase. Roddy asks him where he's been teaching. He says nowhere, but the real answer is Wisconsin. They've recently moved to what I'm guessing is Detroit, they don't really ever say. When they go in the school we see Mr Norris surprised that all of the students are being cowed through metal detectors before they enter. He sees one of the students sneak in a knife but Roddy tells him if he's gonna last he needs to look the other way. So Mr. Norris is the new music teacher replacement, and no one will really tell him what happened to the last guy. From day one he receives guff from this rich kid asshole gang leader named Stegman and his cronies, half of whom aren't even supposed to be in his class. He shoos them out after being cussed out and is pissed when he sees his car sprayed with graffiti when he's about to go home. Tells his wife it cost him 45 bucks to get taken off before he got there. She reassures him that it'll probably get better. IT DOESN'T.

Norris tries to keep the gang out of his class, which is full of promising students who could do well if they weren't so distracted by the hooligans. Stegman and his gang: the chick, the drug dealer, the enforcer beefcake, and the mohawk chain guy catch a black student selling dope to a girl at her locker, they chase him into the bathroom and beat the shit out of him. Then after school the all black gang and Stegman's gang fight until the pigs come. Then the gang goes to a punk show and after slam dancing and stage diving for a while they set up shop backstage. One young kid wants to sell for them, and one chick wants to whore for Stegman's prostitution ring for free coke. They make her get naked for "tryouts". Then the gang come by and fuck with Mr. Norris. The next day, Norris tries to get the cops after the gang, and so begins the relentless battle between Stegman and Norris. Roddy keeps trying to tell him to calm down, but Norris just wants to nail Stegman. But everything he does keeps fucking up. He catches them selling dope to a kid, but he can't prove shit, and then the kid they sold to falls from the top of a flagpole and dies. They chase MJ Fox so he doesn't rat them out and Norris tries to stop them against Roddy's advice off school grounds and Roddy ends up getting cut. Then they finally knife MJ Fox b/c they think he ratted them out. Then Norris tries to fuck Stegman up in the bathroom, but doesn't have the balls, so Stegman beats himself up and gets Norris in super hot water.

Norris tries to go to Stegman's house to talk with his mother but she tells him to get outta there. Stegman tells him that if he ever comes back there he'll kill him. Norris goes crazy and hotwires and wrecks Stegman's car. He gets a lot of satisfaction out of that, but ultimately only provokes Stegman and his gang to go even further with their terror. Over the weeks Norris's class gets better and he prepares for their recital. To get Roddy back for interfering with there plans, they go to his lab and murder and crucify his rabbits and smear the blood all over the walls. A few days later, he reacts by pulling a gun on them during class and putting it in their faces asking them questions telling them if they don't answer he'll blow their heads off. He ALMOST DOES blow Stegman's head off, but Norris grabs his arm at the last minute and he shoots through the roof. The bell rings and (HERE'S A PART I CALL TOTAL BULLSHIT ON- NO MATTER WHAT YEAR IT WAS) the principal and the cop just let Roddy WALK OUT OF THE CLASS and the school after that!!! WHAT? No way in Hell he'd ever be allowed to split and take the day off after almost killing students. Doesn't matter anyway, later that night he chases the gang down in his buick until flippng his car and dying horribly in a fire.

So finally, Norris is about to have his recital and he's got the whole school board and a bunch of special guest in the audience, we're talking a packed house. Only he notices that his wife hasn't showed up yet. Stegman and his gang bust into Norris's house push his wife down, rape, and beat her, and then take pictures and kidnap her bringing her to the school. The chick gives some nerd an envelope with a polaroid in it, and he takes it to Norris who freaks and runs down the middle of the isle like a bat outta hell leaving the audience bewildered. Their left to wait for what seems like forever between scenes of the gang beating the shit out of Norris in the dark corridors and hallways of the school at night. Finally after clapping and almost rioting, his best student decides to lead the band. Then their performance is cut between Norris stalking the gang in different classrooms and fighting for his life ultimately killing the chain punk first BRUTALLY on a fucking table saw. Hey- it was him or Norris. Then one by one he kills the others, finally making his way to the roof in a battle royale with Stegman that leaves the viewer very satisfied in the end, I mean if you're like me and you want to see Stegman fucking suffer really badly. This is a flick that you (or at least I) got totally caught up in. And I hope you all can do the same. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

1 comment:

  1. dude, this movie is intense. Have you seen Tuff Turf. another great high school movie from the 80s. Plus Jim Carroll is in it.