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Return to Horror High (1987): Class Dismissed!

Return to Horror High (Bill Froehlich, 1987)

photo credit: IMDB

Insert standard slasher reunion joke here.

Those few who remember the ridiculous Return to Horror High, a movie made at the very edge of the golden age of the slasher film, remember it for one reason: it was an early film role (his third big-screen appearance) for a twenty-one-year-old George Clooney. What fewer people remember about the movie is that it also contains, for roughly the same amount of screen time, one of TV’s most bankable seventies stars, Maureen McCormick. Yes, Marcia Brady (who went on to another lucrative TV career a couple of years later in The Love Boat, as well as being a guest star on Fantasy Island more times than you can shake a stick at), who’d abandoned her attempt at a big-screen career way back in 1981, picked this movie to try and break out again. It didn’t work too well—she would make only three more features between 1987 and 2000—but man, as crappy as this movie is, Maureen McCormick rocks in it. (And, if you’re one of the tl;dr crowd, I’ll just tell you the punch line now: she’s the only reason to watch this turkey, but she’s oh so worth it.)

photo credit:

“No, seriously, dude, that’s okay. I can give myself the CBC and Chem-20.”

Plot: some years ago, a killer terrorized Crippen High School. Now, someone’s making a movie about the incident. A bunch of someones, actually, and they’re at odds. The producer is a low-budget sleazeball who’s interested in getting as much of the first two of Joe Bob’s three Bs on the screen as possible, while the director and the writer—one of the survivor’s of the killer’s rampage—are trying to make something that might actually be considered a good movie. As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, there’s a possibility that the killer—who was never caught—has returned to the scene of his crimes to get up to the same old hijinks…

photo credit:

I…don’t have a smartass caption. I am too busy staring lustfully at one of my childhood crushes.

Seriously, this is bad. I mean, awful. It doesn’t work as a horror film, it barely works as a comedy. And you’re going to wonder why I told you to watch this for the majority of its length. Trust me, the payoff comes at the end. Ms. McCormick, who, let’s face it, was involved in three of the most wholesome family shows ever to grace a television screen, decided to try the same breakout technique tried by some other actresses who were considered to be typecast as teens. Except where, say, Christina Applegate tried to do the erotic drama (Claudine’s Return, which is almost—almost—as bad as this movie is), Ms McCormick got stuck here…but wanted to try that same approach. And so there’s a glorious scene about ten minutes from the end of McCormick, covered in fake blood, writhing sensuously that must be seen to be believed. If you grew up with The Brady Bunch, it will probably scar you for life. I loved it. I rewound and watched it again—something I will never do with any other scene in this mess of a movie. * ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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