Night School didn’t teach me much about slashers, it is pretty average all around with some decent set ups that are undermined by ZERO suspense as to who the killer is or why they are killing people after the first 40 minutes, but it does have some redeeming values that make it’s recent release from the Warner Archives line of DVDr discs notable and worth a watch! Hey, it has a helmeted killer stalking about…what is not to like? It even has Rachel Ward’s butt covered in some kind of berry juice. SLURP!!!
We have a cad of an anthropology professor hanging at a Girls College in Boston (hey, this thing is local for me!) and he is keeping his divining rod VERY busy it would seem. And when he breaks hearts the lesbian headmistress swoops in to deliver some head on her own.
One problem, there are HEADS also being lopped off left and right and dropped in duck ponds, aquariums and sinks all around town. Lucky for us the professor has a sexy assistant played by Rachel Ward in her first major role. And she does her best with every scene.
Local cop Lt. Austin (Leonard Mann!!) tries to solve everything, and just like the viewer, the answer falls into his lap faster than you can say “Look out…Helmet Killer…behind you!!!” So, it ain’t loaded with plot, deep characters or fast paced thrills, but there are some fun 101 lessons for the intrepid viewer. Night School is great if you live in Boston and are nostalgic for things like the old T Stop at the Boston Garden or the way The New England Aquarium looked when you were younger. Especially awesome is a sequence that has a head being dropped into a tank at the aquatic center…the prop bonks a very large turtle on the head, but it strikes swiftly (for a turtle) to nibble at the rubbery offender! Go get ’em Turtle!!
To be fair, I enjoyed the film because it has a really Giallo styled feel to it, and has a look and sound of an Italian film made around the same time. Brad Fiedel contributes a very cool digital sounding score that ramps up the intensity of the murder sequences and then sort of becomes invisible everywhere else, which is cool by me. It was fun to see Leonard Mann, who I just think of as a Spaghetti Western guy for some reason, do something else. I wonder what he thought of the films final scene, it is really goofy and leaves the viewer saying “heh, so…there couldn’t be a sequel in mind here could there?” And the answer is hopefully in the negative.
Some fun for slasher enthusiasts even if it is more predictable than usual…there is some blood, some random turtle bonking, predatory teachers, predatory lesbian headmistresses and one wicked looking knife. If you are interested in this film, like I was, I bet you’ll like it! The Warner disc looks great!