Welcome Back! – Return to Horror High (1986)

Comedy and horror do not always work, but once in a while magic happens and the two blend together quite seamlessly. Return to Horror High is one such film, though it is not the kind of comedy that will make you laugh out loud that is featured, instead it is presented in a form a little more subtle and a little more self-aware. Those that watch horror movies on a regular basis will get a little more out of this film than perhaps the average viewer, but altogether, it makes for a great viewing experience despite being just a little bit dated.

The film itself is about a production company looking to make a movie at Crippen High School where years previous, a number of murders took place. As the picture moves on, it does so jumping back and forth between hectic scenes featuring a masked killer that is murdering the crew one by one and that of the company and its director that are trying to film their movie despite numerous obstacles. By the end of it all, there is a big twist that should have been expected, but almost came out of nowhere to be a delightful surprise and then the incredibly clichéd finale which essentially had to happen. Ending the film off  in any other way would have been a disappointment.

The killer in this movie was put in a mask, playing upon that fear of the unknown angle and additionally, simply going for what has been proven to work. With Jason and Michael making waves years previous to this movie, audiences like a little mystery with their madmen and it continues to work quite well in this instance. The murders are particularly bloody and one never knows just quite where the killer will strike next. Going hand in hand with all of this is some very self-criticizing humour, the film commenting on just how difficult and how terrible some horror movies can be while they themselves are filming a horror movie. Most of the crew is fed up with all the changes and script problems and whatnot from the director to the producer to the actors themselves. None of them know what they are going to be doing from one minute to the next and as they continue to lose people to the killer, one has to wonder just how it is that they are going to finish their movie if nobody is left.

Making an appearance in this movie is George Clooney, one of the first victims of the killer and in a role that is funny due to the fact that his character has gotten the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things as a leading man on a television series, something that would play out in real life years later. Also humourous is the fact that the makers of the movie want to show as much blood and boobs as they possibly can while their leading lady as played by Lori Lethin states that ‘you shouldn’t have to show it to know it.’ Also starring would be Alex Rocco, Maureen McCormick, Andy Romano, Brenan Hughes and Scott Jacoby.

All in all, the movie played out well and one can see where later franchises like Scream would take some of their inspiration from. Return to Horror High may not have been particularly scary or frightening, but it was a lot of fun.

3.5 out of 5

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