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Monday, December 5, 2022

Class of 1984 1982 * * 1/2 Stars


In 1982, audiences weren't ready for Class of 1984. I mean maybe they were but I know I wouldn't have been. Some say it's a cult film. I say not exactly but the title sure suggests it. "1984" shows high school in the most brutal and bleak way, all neon, perfumed, and punk like some sort of whacked out Greek mythology. Pushing the boundaries of adequate taste while pushing the unlicked envelope, Class of 1984 hasn't aged well in my most humbled opinion. If it was made last year it probably wouldn't have even gotten greenlit today.

That's not to say that "1984" wasn't ahead of its time (for that time). I mean just imagine The Warriors crossing paths with Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Now imagine a horror version of those two flicks, a sort of remorseless, harshly violent conch of maddening teenage rebellion. Class of 1984 is a rough watch with an even rougher social commentary. The school depicted in '82 had metal detectors and no dress code (that's fresh). The actors were probably plucked off the street and told to do unspeakable things.

Shot in Toronto, Canada and sledgehammering the notion that high schooler inmates really do run the asylum, Class of 1984 stars a perfectly cast Perry King and a perfectly cast Timothy Van Patten. King plays music teacher Andrew Norris and Van Patten plays troubled student Peter Stegman. When Norris kicks Stegman out of class while rubbing him the wrong way in the process, Stegman and his gang of misfits savagely torment Norris and his pregnant wife (Merrie Lynn Ross as Diane Norris).

With scenes of attempted rape, vindictive assault, gangly beatings, and manipulative solicitation, Class of 1984 shows the mild-mannered man getting pushed to edge and becoming lex talionis. It's all a little too off-color to recommend.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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