aka: Raging Fury
Director: Douglas Grossman
Starring: Christopher Stryker, Maureen Mooney, Christopher Cousins, Millie Prezioso, Jason Brill
The teachers are tough… but their exams are murder.
The outsider group of the troublemaker Dickens, the slutty Queenie and the fat kid Smiler has found themselves a new ally in Jon-Jon who has recently quit the local football team. Something you just don’t do if you want to keep any type of respect at this high school.
The gang sets their sight on tormenting the strict teacher Brooke, who has a very traumatic past behind her. They put on masks and starts to bang on her house and throw mud at it, putting her into a nervous breakdown. The evening takes a dark turn and suddenly everyone involved find their life in danger.
Hell High is a small little low-budget film that was done during 1986, but not released until 1989. It tries to balance being a slasher film, mystery movie and even teen comedy at times and barely makes few of those genre’s work for itself.
It takes over an hour before any horror parts start, so don’t go in this expecting a straight horror film. Most of the first hour is about this group of outcast and how punk and out of line they apparently are supposed to be. It’s not easy to make a movie that has the bad guys as the main characters, but it does seem to work here even though it might become irritating for a lot to sit and watch these guys for the first hour.
There are a few scenes of violence and the standout is the actual opening of the film with the backstory of teacher Brooke. It’s a very well filmed sequence and they weren’t able to really follow it up. There’s also some almost weird rape attempts during this film that seem a little off and almost normal to these people. It’s also weird that the film is called Hell High, since this isn’t that focused on the school and is not a horror / comedy as the title would like you to think.
The actors are amateurish, but their effort do show. Christopher Stryker is good as the douchebag Dickens. He gives the character life and even if he is a demented guy, he is still believable. It’s surprising to see that he hasn’t done a lot more since he obviously did have some talent. Christopher Cousins however is still working in the industry, mostly on television. Yet he was pretty bad as Jon-Jon and also looked way to old for the part. The rest of the cast is ok, but nothing remarkable.
Hell High is a forgotten oddity that can’t quite be called a slasher or a mystery film. It’s not very good and very low budget, but it does have something to it that makes you keep paying attention to it while it is playing. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to hunt it down, but if you come across it, it doesn’t hurt to give it a watch.