Reviewed byHumanoidOfFleshVote: 8/10/10
A killer in a motorcycle helmet is decapitating attractive babes attenda night school class taught by an anthropology professor.It all has todo with some head-hunting rituals from Papua New Guinea.Very enjoyablecop drama/slasher with some elements of giallo.There is a truly sensualshower scene with a a ravishingly beautiful Rachel Ward and threedecapitated heads of victims are found in various strange placesincluding an aquarium.The killings are mostly off-screen and there is abit of sleaze.The melodically creepy piano based score by Brad Fiedelof "Just Before Dawn" is truly effective.If you enjoyed "What Have YouDone to Your Daughters" give "Night School" a chance.It truly is one ofthe slashers that resembles the Italian giallo that inspired the genrein the first place.8 out of 10.
Reviewed byMr_EctoplasmaVote: 8/10/10
"Night School" has the female students of a Boston night college quiteliterally losing their heads at the hands of a psychopath in a bikerhelmet, with an anthropology graduate student (Rachel Ward) caught inthe middle of it all.
Overlooked and underexposed are two key words that come to mind afterseeing this film; it's been bashed by critics and hasn't exactly gottenthe love that other slashers of the period have amassed, but I knew Iwas in for a treat from the film's opening scene. I won't claim thatthe film is wildly original, because it obviously isn't but it doeshave unique touches to it and some of the most savage murder scenes ofits era. Directed by Ken Hughes who, strangely enough, directed"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" a childhood memory of my own the film openswith a horrific slashing scene involving a merry-go-round that sets thestage for what's to come. The cinematography here is moody and dark,and the photography of Boston's cobblestone streets and foggy eveningsare effectively creepy. The attention to the city itself and itsold-world architecture gives the film an almost British feel.
What I found perhaps most impressive about the movie is its understatedyet absolutely macabre murder scenes. The body count is relatively lowcompared to many of its peers, but each kill here counts. The method isthe same in each scene, and yet it doesn't become any less unsettlingas the bodies begin to pile up. There is little in the way in ofextreme gore (in fact, Hughes sort of teases the audience by rarelygiving in and showing us all), but the horrendous sound effects thatcome with each slashing, paired with the jarring score and killer's POVshots make the scenes unexpectedly disturbing.
Off-setting the film's gritty edge is the slightly comedic relationshipbetween the determined lieutenant and his bumbling assistant.Unconventional thematic elements are also at play here, including ablatant anthropological bent to the entire murder plot, an examinationof the sexual politics of academia, and a surprising lesbian subplotbetween a female professor and her student. Rachel Ward plays EleanorAdjai, the cool and levelheaded graduate student, and the film isostensibly most known for being her film debut. Drew Snyder plays hersmarmy professor, and we also have Leonard Mann as the headstrong"Harvard" police officer.
Some have said the conclusion to the film is predictable, which Isuppose is true, but given the context, this was a fairly originalapproach for 1981 (albeit a bit of a self-conscious riff on Hitchcockand the Italian giallo). There is a well-shot motorcycle chase sequencethrough Boston's narrow streets that concludes the film, as well as anice graveyard denouement. A final "gotcha!" moment closes theproceedings, that appeared to me to have been directly lifted fouryears later in Paramount's "April Fool's Day." In fact, there wereseveral moments throughout that were reminiscent of other films of theera, including a bathroom scene that may or may not have beenre-created in "Curtains," as well as a culinary disaster in the vein ofa particularly grim moment in "My Bloody Valentine." The connectionsare difficult to make and it's hard to say who did what first giventhat many of these films were shot around the same time, but there arestriking similarities nonetheless. "Night School," also distributed byParamount, does seem to have the signature Paramount feel that many ofthese films had.
Overall, "Night School" is an underrated slasher film that somehow wasunjustly glossed over in horror history books. It is a smarter slasherfilm than most, and also successfully incorporates elements of thepsychothriller to bolster its effect. It is effectively shot, and itsconfrontational yet tightfisted approach to violence make for some ofthe most jarring murder scenes of any eighties slasher. Highlights: theaquarium scene, and a wicked "Friday the 13th"-esque after hours dinerattack. 8/10.
Reviewed byandrabem-1Vote: 7/10/10
The girls that study in a night school are being killed anddecapitated. A police lieutenant and his partner (comic relief?) startto investigate the murders.
"Night School" takes place in Boston. The film begins with a brief viewof the night skyline of Boston. We hear a melancholic and beautifulsoundtrack that serves to enhance the poetry of city (and its people)and night. Soon after the camera becomes more intimate and we see oldlamp posts, dark streets and small houses. The beautiful soundtrackgoes on... and Boston looks quite pretty.
"Night School" is in some ways almost a giallo. There are someconnection points:
1) Leonard Mann, an Italo-American actor that worked mainly in Italianfilms, including gialli like "Death Steps in the Dark" and "The Monsterof Florence". In "Night School" he's the police lieutenant thatinvestigates the murders but he's different from those policemen thatwe usually find in many thrillers. He's not trigger-happy and he hasn'ttrembling fists dying to punch a bad guy's nose. He's intelligent,sensitive and ready to follow his intuition.
2) The killing scenes are stylish and imaginative. The killer dressesall in black, black helmet and black gloves. But "Night School" is verydiscreet in what concerns nudity. In one scene Rachel Ward takes ashower. Not much is shown, but many Italian gialli would not shy awayfrom FFN. Anyway "Night School" is quite engaging, charming anddifferent from the normal fare.
3) There are many pretty girls (and some of them will be ruthlesslykilled by the decapitator).
The highlights in "Night School" are Rachel Ward (her beautyilluminates the screen) and Leonard Mann. In short, I think that "NightSchool" is a very enjoyable film. Those that want a non-stop actionfilm with lots of bullets and fists breaking bones (fast! fast! fast!),should look elsewhere.
A Boston police detective investigates a series of gruesome decapitations of various college coeds commited by a helmeted, black-leather clad serial killer which leads him to suspect a well known anthropology professor as well as his female live-in assistant.