The Confessional is a periodic article that is at the heart and soul of Cinefessions. It features a writer discussing a film that he or she previously missed out on, be it a classic of cinema, or simply a movie that they’ve always wanted to see but never have, and often in detail. Entering the Confessional today is Chris Ranson to discuss “the world’s first comedy horror movie”: Student Bodies.
Title: Student Bodies (1981)
Director: Mickey Rose
Runtime: 86 minutes
Viewer: Chris Ranson
Sometimes a film will come out of nowhere and you just HAVE to see it. In 1996, my horror world was blown apart by a little film called Scream, which was a horror film that was made for the horror fan. Scream is smart, funny, and pays homage to the classics of the genre. Four years later we got Scary Movie, a scene-by-scene spoof of Scream. Frankly, Scary Movie just wasn’t very good, but it somehow spawned four sequels, and essentially revived the spoof/satire genre.
A few weeks ago I was browsing my Amazon Instant Video lineup, thanks to a free trial, and this horror film called Student Bodies was sitting there, just begging to be watched. I’d heard the name before, but knew nothing about the film. Within seconds of hitting play, I realized it was a slasher film spoof, nineteen years before Scary Movie! The first obvious clue was that the film takes place on Jamie Lee Curtis’ birthday (November 22nd).
I quickly shifted my brain into senseless drivel mode, and for 85-minutes I had a crazy little ride. The name-dropping jokes end fairly quickly, and the film jumps right into a hot and bothered phone call that oozes a little. From there, I couldn’t stop grinning like a small child hearing a fart joke for the first time.
At no point would I call Student Bodies a “good” film; it is completely stupid with childish jokes. That said, dammit, I laughed! The deaths offer no blood, and are done with items such as an eggplant. The film offers a quick F-bomb to get its “R” rating, but otherwise it’s a solid “PG-13” (by today’s standards, the sex jokes are pretty good, pushing it beyond a “PG”).
Student Bodies is very aware of how bad it is. No one involved with the film really went on to do anything amazing…or anything, period. It’s filled with nice one-liners, silly situations, and an on-screen death counter! The ending comes out of nowhere, and is perfectly absurd.
This isn’t a typical film, and wasn’t even originally in my Personal Cinefessions list. After viewing it, though, I had to add it because I’m sure there are other horror fans that haven’t experienced this quirky little gem. I’m not sure how it slipped under my radar for so long, but I’m glad I had the chance to view this film. It’s currently available on Amazon Instant Video, and the Blu-ray is still in print, selling for about $10.
Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.