Sep 13, 2008

Massacre At Central High (1976)

Last night, Trash Palace showed the 1976 cult film, Massacre At Central High, featuring Derrell Maury as the new kid in school seeks revenge on the mean "in crowd" preppies who maimed him. But there's a lot more going on with this flick than a traditional revenge melodrama.

Instead, writer-director Renee Daalder's alleogory is rather political, where all of the different cliques in school symbolize different "special interest groups" or social hierarchies. And ultimately, the moral is, all parties become corrupt with the seductive image of power. What makes this film even more surreal is the glaringly obvious absence of adults (parents or teachers)-- thus, one could call this Lord of the Flies Goes to High School. (Curiously, elderly people appear at the bizarre climax at a school dance.)

I had first caught this flick on video in 1990, yet this screening made me appreciate the film all the more-- perhaps because one can read more into it at an advanced age. And maybe at the time, all I wanted was some good old drive-in exploitation. This curio also features early roles for Andrew Stevens (as the nice preppie) and Robert Carradine (as the stoned-out guru). And look who's playing in Carradine's love den: drive-in starlet Rainbeaux Smith, and Lani O'Grady from "Eight is Enough!" And for the "Whatever Happened to..." quotient, there's the talented beauty Kimberly Beck as the nice preppie's girlfriend. (Her beach scene--- wow!)

Despite a few violent scenes, Massacre At Central High is more than drive-in trash- however there are enough thrills and interesting ideas to please fans of both high and low culture. Kudos again to Trash Palace for showing another essential piece of yesteryear still not on DVD, yet on a screen where it belongs.

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