A few years ago a masked killer wrought carnage upon Crippen High School and was never found. Today, a Hollywood film crew sets up shop at the now abandoned school to film the story of the unsolved killing spree. But when cast and crew members start mysteriously disappearing, everyone begins to fear that the unknown killer has returned…to horror high!
This movie has been hanging around Netflix for a while so I finally gave it a shot – these high school themed slashers are usually pretty fun. This is also the feature film debut of George Clooney, who, to my knowledge, has not tried to buy to rights to it in order to keep it from ever being seen again, a la Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger with that Texas Chainsaw Massacre spinoff (which, incidentally, I once bought for $2 at a gas station in Chesterton, IN). Turns out he didn’t need to, since he has only a few short minutes of screen time and is the first one to get whacked. Ironically his character, an actor playing the police officer in the film (within the film), decides to leave the set before they start filming because he’s been offered a better role elsewhere.
Despite all the signs that it might be a good movie, this one was pretty bad. The scare tactics and special effects were really nothing special, and the story itself was incredibly annoying. The boneheads who made this thought they’d have some fun with us by making us believe that the plot was actually advancing, only to reveal that the whole scene we’d been watching for the last ten minutes was actually just a scene they had been filming for their movie or, even worse, just a dream.
Return to Horror High is supposed to be a spoof of all the slasher films that seem to run together, as well as an indictment of how these movies often prioritize blood, guts, and boobs to an absurd degree. But is that supposed to be an excuse for this being an incredibly shitty movie itself? After a cursory review of this movie on the internet it seems there’s a consensus that, by the ending, no one has any fucking clue what’s going on. Put me squarely in that lot.
This movie moves at a plodding pace, with maybe 4 or 5 kills over an hour and a half, and nothing much of a real story in between. The whole time I’m wondering why we never actually see the kill – no close ups or gory special effects. (Spoiler ahead) Turns out it’s because no one actually died – surprise!! From what I can piece together, the film crew figured out who the original killer was, then faked all their own deaths so the police would believe that the killer struck again. Then after a few months they’d release the movie as a gimmick for stirring up publicity: “they all died…but the film survived!”
This of course would entail all of the cast and crew members, well known Hollywood figures who supposedly perished, changing their names and getting plastic surgery in order preserve the farce that they really died. This would also mean that the police are in fact so dumb they can’t tell the difference from an actual corpse and a guy laying still with his eyes closed, or from an actual severed arm and a movie prop.
A couple quick notes before closing the book on this mess: I do feel I should give the director some credit for his artistic command of boobage; although they were infrequent, the ones we did see were top notch. We also were exposed to the ultra-rare exploding boob. Secondly, if you saw this you may have recognized the guy playing the sleazy producer, Alex Rococo, as the voice of The Simpsons character Roger Myers Jr. - the CEO of I&S Studios, which produces Itchy & Scratchy.
You may have also noticed that the oversexed female cop, who’s turn-ons include greasy food and blood, as Maureen McCormick, the actress better known for her role as Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not bring to everyone’s attention the worst love scene in movie history – this shit makes even the retina-searing scump-fests in Hellgate look like a classy high budget porno. Set to a Wendy Fraser ballad, our leading man and woman go at it late at night while an unexplained and completely random welding crew is at work right outside their window, with the camera making frequent jump cuts to enigmatic childrens’ drawings that are for some reason tacked to the wall. And worst of all, we don’t even get to see boobs!
The instances of unreconcilable plot holes in this film are far too many to point out here one by one. And yea, I get that this whole movie is a spoof as well as a not-so-subtle commentary on the horror movie genre in general. Despite all that I just cannot forgive a film, even a B movie horror flick, for making absolutely no sense. You’d think this thing was written by monkeys. Except even they would have probably had Clooney stick around for more than 5 minutes.