Student Bodies (1981)

Student Bodies (1981)

“With rape and violence rampant in this land — with human flesh cheapened and vulgarized — one of the last bastions of decency is the general satisfaction one gains from making a horse head bookend.”

A teenager (Kristin Riter) becomes the prime suspect as her sexually active classmates are murdered one after the other by a “heavy-breather” (Jerry Belson).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • High School
  • Horror Films
  • Michael Ritchie Films
  • Satires and Spoofs
  • Serial Killers

This attempt at very, very directly spoofing teenage slasher films seems intended as a parallel follow-up to Airplane! (1980), which similarly took the tropes of its genre (disaster flicks) to the most extreme degree possible. Here, we’re given a horny babysitter (Angela Bressler):

and her boyfriend (Keith Singleton) who are killed on Jamie Lee Curtis’s birthday as they’re about to have sex; an unseen villain who not only breathes heavily but actually drools over the phone; flashing body count numbers appearing across the screen each time another victim is found; and many openly disturbed potential suspects, including the principal (Joe Talarowski), the aging school secretary (Mimi Weddell):

… the woodshop instructor (Joe Flood):

…the distracted school psychiatrist (Carl Jacobs), and the double-jointed janitor (The Stick).

The premise is amusing (of course), but unfortunately the jokes fall flat as often as they succeed.

Note: Interestingly, as pointed out in Spinning Image’s review, co-director Michael Ritchie (who opted for an “Alan Smithee” producer designation on this) actually helmed a number of reputable and interesting flicks, including The Candidate (1972), Smile (1975), and The Bad News Bears (1976).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • An occasionally amusing spoof of teenage horror flicks

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re curious to check it out. Listed as a Sleeper and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


2 thoughts on “Student Bodies (1981)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Generally lame (and now forgotten) horror parody that wants to be a lot funnier than it is – and would eventually be forever eclipsed by the ‘Scream’ and ‘Scary Movie’ films. Even at 85 minutes it seems long. A few of the jokes land but you can maybe sense the cast wishing they had better material to work with – though there’s little attempt on anyone’s part to compensate. The only one who seems to rise above is star Riter, who has a bit of the flavor that Anna Faris would bring to the ‘Scary Movie’ flicks. (This was her only film.)

  2. ⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Fairly lame slasher comedy only has a couple of laughs. The cast try hard but perhaps too hard.

    Not must see.

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