Movie Review: Cutting Class (1989) – MVD Rewind 4K/Blu-ray

February 25, 2024

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Opening like a live-action adaptation of the classic video game Paperboy, the daily news is shown kissing pavement accompanied by the sound of a sack of bricks hittin’ a dirt road.

Why do I mention it? Well One, it comes back later loud n’ proud to signify all manner of things getting tossed to the ground, and Two I found it funny as balls.

What does any of that have to do with the plot synopsis of the film that usually appears ‘round these parts? Absolutely nothing. Moving on…

Oh wait, yes it does… said newspapers contain a headline about a local boy being released from ye olde asylum and apparently a killing was involved… we’ll get back to that one soon, believe you me!

Coincidentally, District Attorney William Carson III (Martin Mull, Clue) is murdered on a camping trip.

This is of course unbeknownst to his daughter Paula, portrayed by popular late ‘80s scream queen Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather, Curse II: The Bite, Phantom of the Opera, Popcorn); the most popular student among both her peers and the more lecherous of the faculty of the high school which she attends (the rest of them think she’s rad as fuck too, to be fair… )… an academy populated by staff that would be right at home in some wacky-ass high school comedy anime… which is strange since this is a murder-mystery slasher type of affair…  or is it?

Anyway, Paula has found herself in quite the love triangle along with equally popular jock’s jock Dwight Ingalls (Brad Pitt… look, it’s Brad Pitt, you know what he’s been in) and troubled youth (in fact the same individual mentioned in that newspaper I was going on about earlier) Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch Jr.)… who was once friends with Dwight, but that has gone south after Woods’ “incident”.

This plays across a backdrop of even more murder, this time among the student body at large, but the answer as to whom is responsible takes many twists and turns… not to mention an ass-load of red herrings!

Directed by Rospo Pallenberg (who wrote the screenplays for John Boorman flicks The Emerald Forest and Excalibur… as well as maligned sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic) and written by Steve Slavkin (who went on to create Salute Your Shorts for Nickelodeon), Cutting Class plays out like a slasher parody with every character an over-the-top stereotype played both straight yet… heightened, which makes the entire affair a surreal experience that really adds a lot of entertainment value to a rather tired concept.

Adding to the magic here is top-shelf acting from all involved, even if they appear to be acting in two totally different types of film, for example Martin Mull’s sequences boarder on slapstick, while Leitch delivers a multi-layered performance that runs the emotional gambit with skill.

Also of note is the soundtrack that manages to pump out some of the most outrageous ‘80s pseudo-techno that comes off like someone doing a parody of a John Hughes soundtrack… with an edge, so it’s basically right on brand with the rest of the picture.

Accompanying that are bonus features (located on the included Blu-ray version of the film) to detail just what it took to bring this sinister satirical shocker to the sinful silver screen, among other odds and ends!

First up are interviews with Schoelen (who is less than wild about the finished product), and Leitch, followed by a vintage ad announcing a contest associated with the film, a “kill comparison” between the unrated and R-rated version (which is also included here), and the film’s trailer.

Also this MVD Rewind release includes a folded mini-poster featuring the same promo art as the release’s slip-sleeve.

Darkly funny, surreal, and a hell of a lot of fun to watch, Cutting Class would be a true gem in the creepy collection of slasher fanatics everywhere!



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