Director – Rospo Pallenberg
Cast – Jill Schoelen, Brad Pitt, Donovan Leitch, Roddy McDowall, Martin Mull, Brenda James, Mark Barnet, Robert Glaudini, Eric Boles, Dirk Blocker
Release Year – 1989
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Don’t you just love 80’s cinematic trash? I sure do! Cutting Class is one of those films that is so awesomely cheezy its great. This flick is one of the last 80s slashers(it debuted in 1989) and although it is nowhere near the crème of the crop, it still manages to be an enjoyable watch if you reserve this flick for a “pizza and beer” night with your buds. Starring a yet-to-be-known Brad Pitt(yes, Brad Pitt!), we get to see another big Hollywood star prepubescently spar with a psychopathic killer. Bring on the cheeeeeze!
High school life is hard, just ask Paula Carson(Jill Schoelen). Her relationship with basketball star Dwight Ingalls(Brad Pitt) is on the rocks, her principal Mr. Dante(Roddy McDowall) is just dying to get under her skirt, and the new kid in town Brian Woods(Donovan Leitch) has the hots for her as well. There is something not right about Brian, and soon enough the town learns that he was just released from a mental institution where he was incarcerated for killing his father when he was a child! He claims to have been rehabilitated, but when the study body begins to…turn up bodies…he is suspect number one. As his infatuation with Paula grows stronger, Dwight feels the need to step in and rid his relationship of this freak. Could it be that Dwight is framing Brian for the murders in order to get rid of him once and for all? Or is Brian a symbol that mental rehabilitation never works…
Ok, so this is not one of horror’s better efforts. The direction is shotty, the writing his cheezy and was most likely written by a 4th grader, and the acting performances are sub-par AT BEST. So why do I enjoy this film? Well, it is simply just hilarious 80s trash, and a fun film to watch. This film never takes itself seriously, and I like that. It’s as if the filmmakers are aware that this is going to be a bad film, and use that to the fullest. I would not go so far to say that this film is a horror/comedy, but it sure does have some cinematic elements that are meant to crack up the viewer. Roddy McDowall as the perverted principal in this film is classic, and the role of the janitor seriously is one of the most ridiculous roles I’ve ever seen in a film. I love it! Why am I not bashing this film for such cinematic atrocities? It’s easy, it’s because I honestly feel this is what the film is set out to do, and they accomplished that.
Just to prove this film this film is as bad as it sounds, director Rospo Pallenberg unsurprisingly never saw his career in directing take off after this film, and Cutting Class still to this day is his only directoral effort. I don’t have any major complaints with this film, mainly because I am able to look past certain elements like bad acting, direction, and writing because of how this film’s presents itself. I personally wanted to see a lot more gore in this film, but I guess this film’s low budget and it’s filmmakers lack of experience kept this from attaining that. Oh well. If this had a lot of gore I could see this as being an iconic horror film, given it’s pretty funny as it is.
Overall, this is a fun watch if you are into cheezy 80s horror flicks. If you are not into these types of flicks then I definitely urge you to stay away from this. This is definitely a film that should be presented when you are hanging with your friends and consuming large amounts of pizza and alcohol. Might as well add to the fun right?