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Hell High Blu-ray Review

“Hell High” is a better than average slasher.

Directed by Douglas Grossman and written by Grossman and Leo Evans, “Hell High” is a 1989 slasher movie that came out at a time when the subgenre was fading. In the prologue, we are introduced to a little girl playing with a doll who accidentally kills 2 people. The story jumps ahead in time 18 years to a group of high school jerks (Queenie the flirt, the former football player Jon-Jon, the trouble maker Dickens and Smiler the cliched overweight character) and a high strung teacher (Miss Storm) who is bullied by her students essentially (especially Dickens). Dickens decides to play a prank on Miss Storm by gathering slime from the murder site (which has become a local legend) and scaring her at her home. Little do they know that Miss Storm was actually the little girl from the past. What follows is a chaotic situation full of murder.

While by no means a horror classic, “Hell High” is more of a psychological slasher movie. The story is all about trauma and moments that can trigger it. It’s also a rather dark examination of high school life and how flawed, irresponsible, and cruel teenagers can be. There’s a mean spirited streak running throughout the whole movie, but that’s also the point. This isn’t just another mindless slasher and for that Douglas Grossman and Leo Evans deserve credit for putting a twist on the slasher formula. 

The script does have its issues though. The middle act of the movie doesn’t entirely work as the characters more or less wait around before murders start occuring. It feels as if something else should have happened there to intensify the situation. The ending is also a bit on the rushed and corny side although it does make an impact.

Cast wise, there’s not many big names here but Christopher Cousins (arguably the biggest star here) shines as Jon-Jon as does Christopher Stryker as the detestable Dickens and Maureen Mooney as the damaged and deranged Miss Storm.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The 2K restoration from the original camera negative offers up an impressive new transfer. The image clarity is nothing short of superb. 

Audio Track: Uncompressed Stereo. How does it sound? Expect a nice clean Stereo track.

* The crown jewel of the extra features here are the inclusion of the Joe Bob Briggs introduction and commentary track from the Shriek Show DVD release. The Briggs commentary tracks are a real treat for those who have never heard them (especially the “Samurai Cop” track).
* New commentary by director Douglas Grossman and cinematographer Steven Fierberg.
* 5 separate new interviews Christopher Cousins, Maureen Mooney, Douglas Grossman, Steven Fierberg and composers Rich Macar + Christopher Hyams-Hart.
* A booklet featuring photos, credits, an essay by Michael Gingold
* A deleted scene and alternate opening titles.
* 2 trailers and 2 TV spots
* 2 archival interviews with Douglas Grossman and writer Leo Evans.
* An archival commentary by Douglas Grossman
* “Back To Schools: The Locations Of Hell High”- Michael Gingold takes viewers on a tour of filming locations.

July 19, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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