Wherein I attempt to watch 31 horror films over the course of October. 31 horror films that I have never seen before, from obscure to acclaimed classics. We'll see how well I go in actually finding the time to watch and then write about them in some way.
An obvious precursor to Scary Movie - there are even jokes from this film that the Wayans brothers appear to have copied nearly 20 years later, which is saying something - Student Bodies came on the heels of the Zucker, Abraham, Zucker masterpiece, Flying High (or Airplane if you're not Australian). It's easy to see the inspiration and while the ratio of jokes that work to those that don't is obviously higher (people remember Flying High for a reason, although I'd say Student Bodies should at least have a fond reputation amongst the horror community), it works spectacularly well more often than not. 86 minutes is, apparently, too long - especially during the elongated prom investigation scenes towards the end that act as little more than reasons for characters to do jokes that the writers couldn't shoehorn in elsewhere - but, if nothing else, the opening thirty minutes allow for enough good will for that to not matter quite as much.
Most curious of all is that the film appears to spoof horror movies that hadn't even been invented yet. One could easily for forgiven for thinking several gags are aimed at Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street, when in actual fact that dreamtime slasher wasn't released until three years later. Furthermore, the horror conventions that we now all see as cliche and easy to ridicule surely weren't that entrenched in cinema by 1981, were they? Friday the 13th is the most obvious influence, what with its "sex = death" mantra and the unseen killer revealed in the closing segments gambit, but the film's other influences, like When a Stranger Calls (1979), Halloween (1978), Prom Night (1980), and even Carrie (1976) and Carnival of Souls (1962) from which the film heavily borrows some specific sequences, work in entirely different ways to the Friday blueprint that became rather standard throughout the decade. "Ahead of its time" is a term that could probably apply here, wouldn't you think?
I really enjoyed Student Bodies, and it's certainly a stronger horror spoof comedy than any of the Scary Movie films (albeit, lacking a go hard or go home performance like that of Anna Faris). Even though it diminishes in value over the run time, that opening scene will certainly be something I'll be giggling about for quite some time. B