Class of 1984 (1982)

new music teacher Andry Norris arrives at Lincoln High, where most students have no respect for their fellow teachers and even to extent, each other. After being given advice from a fellow teacher to turn a blind eye to a ruthless gang, which seems to control the school with such ease, but Mr. Norris doesn’t like the idea of that. So at any opportunity he gets, he tries to get Peter Stegman and his gang of thugs into trouble, which they seem to getaway with endlessly. But Mr. Norris doesn’t know that getting in the way of Stegman means he and his wife will get a whole lot more than they bargain for.

Ca-ching! I definitely got my moneys worth on this B-grade, exploitation cult classic. Yeah I heard good things about this flick, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting too much, but that’s probably why I dug it even more. ‘Class of 1984’ is an ambitious but to the point project by writer/director Mark Lester. Plot wise it doesn’t really hit home because its simple and just plain ludicrous, but it’s the involving acts and performances, which do hold up, and makes for one hypnotic viewing. Forget about thinking that this is made in the 80’s so this must be your usual teen flick of that decade, because it’s FAR from it actually! There’s no sugar coating sweetness in this flick. These devastating punks aren’t the type of kids you want to bump into! And actually the shock is you’ll be rooting for the teacher this time around.

I wouldn’t be surprise if this were one of those video nasties, because this rip-snorting, welcoming unapologetic trash doesn’t hold back on its exploitative context. Simply its unpleasant with its frequent violence and rough black humour and wit. Blatantly, that’s what it’s trying to do and it does remarkably well. Creating intense situations and shocks, like the disturbing scene involving rabbits and rape, helped out by the brutal violence but too it had wry sense of humour, which you couldn’t help but snicker. Don’t go into it expecting a deep background character study to what makes these kids tick, because here they just do! What we get is a satire on violence that leads to revenge. Also it takes a look at teacher and student relationship, and how it can turn around in an instance on who is the bad guy and who isn’t. Especially since the teacher tries to do the things by the book, but he soon realises he can’t win and has to walk the path of those brutes and turn into what despises to reach an outcome. What is scary is that the whole urban jungle nightmare in the school grounds isn’t too far away from the truth nowadays. Mark Lester, Tom Holland and John Saxton came up with a competent dark screenplay that stacks up some over-the-edge surprises, but also involving and well-rounded characters, especially for this type of flick.

The violence is grisly and there are some neat gory slices of blood letting, which a lot seem to happen in the way-over-board climax, but I got a kick out of the ironic ending too, that goes well with what all always eventuates throughout. Exhilarating camera-work and snappy pacing also work a treat. The performances were hugely sensational. Perry King as Mr. Norris generally has interesting and appealing persona about him, that you’ll be cheering on his character and the great Roddy McDowall turns in a professional performance, especially when that of his character finally cracks under the pressure. Timothy Van Patten is the star here as the cunningly vile Peter Stegman. His performance is simply memorable and that anger of his character is incredibly uneasy to watch. The maniac group just stirs the pot. And you got a supporting role from a gawky Michael Fox, yep there no J here. While some of those unsettling and offensive images stay in your, also you will have to cope with the catchy tune ‘I am the future’ by Alice Cooper. You get a dose during the beginning and then for the closing credits… I couldn’t get that damn song out of my head! It’s cheesy but deliciously tasty. The bulletining rock soundtrack pounds out the tracks and the rumbling score is far than weak. Competently made but otherwise still holding a raw touch to it with its hard going tactics and thrills.