Ten years ago, a bullied student kills herself in the school bathroom with a lil’ jagged glass to the throat routine…
Fast forward a decade, and at said institution, that alliterative muv-fuck Sue Steel (Debra Lamb) is throwing her annual shindig for her peers in Ye Olde English Department at her pad. Things are a bit strained at the soiree for sure… but shit is going to be a tad more tense right quick, as a maniac has crashed the party, and that right bastard is lugging around a yearbook from ten years previous!
The main thing Teacher Shortage has going for it is writer/director Troy Escamilla’s love of ’80s slasher flicks (which also provides us with a negative as well, but we’ll get to that shit in due time boils n’ ghouls)… my dude digs on the genre the most, and it shows… it also gives the film a great deal of heart, which goes a loooong way with yours cruelly.
In other words, this is a stalk n’ slay affair exactly as you would expect it, and that adherence to the rules of the genre make the entire affair a nice slice of slasher flick comfort food.
Adding to this creepy cornucopia are appearances from horror biz legends Brinke Stevens and the aforementioned Lamb, as well as the dynamic duo of my fav modern scream queens Kaylee Williams and Mel Heflin, a neo-giallo aesthetic (including some effective use of gel lights to heighten some sequences to surreal levels), and some solid gore.
One element of this fright flick that really deserves some praise is the rather kick-ass score by Guthrie Lowe. This monstrous music has elements of Goblin and The Howling-era Pino Donaggio, along with it’s own vibe that perfectly accentuates the giallo/slasher mash-up elements.
As for that negative mentioned up yonder… well this is definitely more a love letter to the stalk n’ slay genre rather than a reinvention, so if you are looking for some exciting new take on the material, you’d best set your eerie eyeballs elsewhere.
Bottom line, if you love ’80s slashers (and I’d wager you do), then give Teacher Shortage a wicked whirl; it’s well acted and crafted and is a whole mess of retro ghoulish goodness!