Arrow Video has recently released the movie Hell High on Blu-Ray. The film was originally released in 1989. Given that 1980s thing, you can make a few assumptions. First, the soundtrack definitely feels very 80s, including some pretty weak to average songs played during parts of the film. You can also count on some gratuitous nudity.
That brings us to the film itself beyond those two points. Let me say at the start that I enjoyed the movie. It definitely starts slow, though. Some of the performances are pretty weak, too. There is quite a bit of high school hijinks early that calls to mind some of the good times high school movies of the time. I can see why they included some of it, in part to give some character history and in part to create a false sense of security and light-heartedness. I think they spent too much of the movie on that part, though.
This turns seriously dark once the main characters decide to torment a teacher who has some messed up history we see in the very first scene of the film. From there it gets into more traditional horror territory. It’s suitably twisted, and that part of the film runs long enough to make it worth the other stuff you have to get through to get to that payoff.
Overall, I’d consider the movie to be a competent 80s horror film that’s not without its issues. If you watch all the way through, it really does stick with you, though. There is some serious brutality and the ending is anything but happy.
This release contains a lot of bonuses in the form of interviews, a deleted scene and more. I know this film has gotten some pretty bad reviews from people, but I have to think that to a large degree they undeserved. Don’t come into expecting a perfect movie, or any kind of high art. If you set your expectations at this being a flawed 80s horror film that really manages to redeem itself before it’s over, there is plenty to like about this movie. Gary Hill