Massacre at Central High/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Massacre at Central High
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Setting the trend for contemporary teen delinquency films ranging from Over The Edge and Heathers to Larry Clark's Bully, Massacre at Central High has mysteriously faded into obscurity after years of lingering in the out-of-print dead zone. Although internet message boards claim a Region 1 DVD is on its way, most cult film fans will have to scour their local video store or blow $50 on a high-priced eBay auction to get their mitts on this rarity. Amazingly, I stumbled upon the Viking Video Classic VHS edition at my local "mom and pop" store and thought I would do us all a favor and bring this gem home for a thorough review.

Despite some minor tracking issues and a spoiler-laden opening (which shows clips of upcoming murder scenes!), Massacre lives up to its lofty reputation, dishing out brutal teen vengeance with a dash of intelligent social criticism. Its moral viewpoint is even in stark contrast to other revenge flicks, showing that violence solves nothing and rubbing out one bully doesn't mean that a new one won't sprout up moments later.

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Our protagonist is David, the new kid at Central High, an upper-class school overrun by a rich kid clique with a bad attitude. Even though an old pal of his runs with this powerful crowd, David can't stand their bullying and intimidation, vowing to give the power back to the underprivileged and make Central a safer and friendlier place to be.

Unfortunately for David, gang leader Bruce (think a tougher James Spader) doesn't want to fall out of power, and he plans on silencing this defector by setting a pretty profound example. While David is working on a friend's car, Bruce slides the vehicle off of its jack, sending the wheel axle down on David's leg. It crushes the bone, giving him a permanent limp and shutting his big mouth. Despite this, David plans to let his actions speak for him from thus on, and he sends a pretty chilling message to Bruce and his posse that their funeral parties won't soon forget.

David's murders are vicious and inventive, leaving behind little trace of his foul play, and making everything look like one big accident. These "accidents" range from an electrocution and nosedive into an empty pool, to an endless amount of explosions and one unbelievably huge boulder crushing a copulating teen trio! With each murder, I was impressed as to how far David (and the film's creators) were willing to take this demented little satire. Thankfully they go all the way, depicting the power struggles and hostile takeovers of society through the microcosm of the American school system, and, on a small scale, exposing the constant competitive nature of mankind.

Reviewed by Mdeapo

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