Entertainment - Media News Watch originally published at Entertainment - Media News Watch

The episode of Revisited covering Class of 1984 was Written and Narrated by Andrew Hatfield, Edited by Ryan Cultrera, Produced by Tyler Nichols and John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.

In an upcoming video, we will be looking at the modern genre classic VFW. I say genre, because although my wife pointed out that the drugged up gang in VFW act like rage-zombies and the movie has such great over the top violence and characters, it’s not horror. It’s gritty action, like the movie it was inspired by, Assault On Precinct 131001010. Genre can include horror, exploitation and other types of movies that have a similar feel. It’s genre, even though today’s film isn’t horror. It does, however, have situations that are scary in real life. It’s school plotting at its best. The pedigree of both the actors and the crew behind the camera is a match for many of the greats that we normally discuss. I don’t intend to discuss what works or what doesn’t from a critical lens. It could fit into our Test of Time series, or even a Best Movie You Never Saw. I want to revisit a movie that is a classic and hope that it gets more people to put it on their radar or even revisit it themselves.Class of 1984

(watch it HERE) is the 1982 movie brought to us by a really fun creative team. John Saxton, the co-writer of Class of 1984, is probably the least well known. John Saxon is not the horror legend that fought Freddy Kruger and cannibals and Giallo-style villains and everything in between. Instead, he was a man who had only 8 projects to his credit. Three of them are Happy birthday to Me (today’s flick), and frickin’ Ilsa She Wolf of SS – but that is still a very small sample. Mark Lester, who will be discussed in a moment, and Tom Holland are the other writers. This was his third screenplay and was written before he made his directorial debut. Roddy Mcdowell, who played one of the best characters in Class Of 1984 in his debut, Fright night would also be a part of this movie. Holland, besides the ones you know him for, also wrote Cloak and Dagger and Thinner. Mark Lester, a writer and director who is acclaimed, is now more of a producer than anything else. While this is my favorite film he has directed, he also did classics like Firestarter, Commando Armed and Dangerous, and Showdown in Little Tokyo. Alice Cooper, who provided the 80s opening song, will make you cringe but also stay with you. Perry King is Lincoln High’s new music instructor Andrew Norris, who moved to the city to teach a rougher audience the joy of music. He is in for a rude awakening when he witnesses kids with guns, a full security team and staff that are either too afraid or defeated to act. King was the only choice and had been in the industry for about a ten-year period. His first major role was in slaughterhouse five. The only horror project that he’s done is an Tales From the Crypt

episode, but he still has a long career. The role was offered to Duel‘s Dennis Weaver, but he turned it down when he found the script to be too violent. Dennis Weaver is a great actor, but I am also grateful that he turned down the role because it gave us the quintessential Roddy part. Lester cites

A clockwork orange for his other cinematic inspiration. The film was heavily influenced by true events and is a loose remake Blackboard Jungle. The movie was not only too violent for Weaver, but other countries also gave it the lowest rating because of the content. Its creators also had a hard time finding a distributor. Roger Ebert said it was the best film he saw in Cannes that year, which is a high praise for a critic who doesn’t usually like these types of films and for its making it to Cannes. Stegman leads this group of scumbags, which also includes Fallon and Drugstore. Barnyard and Patsy are also part of the group. All of them have a specific role within the gang, such as muscle, drug dealer and consort. This type of gang mentality is not new, but they do something different with the gang’s leader Stegman. Instead of being the generic bad boy, he is a genius that chooses to do bad things but also wants to achieve success the traditional way. Andrew Norris, the music teacher, is supposed to teach Stegman. The rest of the gang are not allowed in his class. Stegman is the music teacher and while the rest of the gang isn’t supposed to be in his class, he is. Norriss refuses to let Stegman in on the fun because of his previous transgressions. This pushes our young criminal mastermind into the edge. Since the early 1990s, he has directed more than 100 episodes of television, including the most episodes The Sopranos by any director. Van Patten is the best at humanizing the role of the main bad guy. He is a mixture of menacing, tragic and a high schooler. These little transgressions continue back and forth with Norris. The gang spraying fake blood on their teacher’s face was a small thing at first. Norris tried to catch them selling drugs and expel them from school. That may sound like more than a minor feud but compared to what comes later, it’s minuscule.The attempted drug bust is what really escalates tensions between the two teachers and the gang. Michael J Fox is a young man who goes by the name Michael Fox. He is with a friend who wants drugs to improve his academic performance. Fox filmed this movie around the time he began his 172 episode run on

Family ties

, and this character has that smartass attitude and sarcastic tone we’d come to love in his Back To The Future films as well as for much of his later work before he was forced to step aside due to medical reasons. Norris and the police want him to turn on the gang that sold the drugs after his friend dies in a drug-related incident. He refuses out of fear but the gang doesn’t believe him. The gang cornered him and his band classmate and threatened them in an alley before Andrew and Terry came to their rescue. Both teachers are wounded, but the kids manage to escape. Terry, who was already fragile, holds his class at gunpoint. This scene is not only prescient in 1982 but also 41 years later. It’s one of the best in the film. Terry feels like he’s lost the ability to communicate with the kids, but when their lives were on the line by how they answered, they miraculously came up with the correct answer. Roddy McDowel creates a situation that could have been a melodrama after-school moment. Andrew stops him from killing Stegman. He will regret this later. Terry, on the other hand, tries to kill them with his car, but he ends up dying in a crash. Stegman beats himself up, blames the teacher, and has Michael J Fox’s character stabbed. He thinks that he has snitched on the police officer who is unwilling to do anything. The gang takes turns assaulting his pregnant wife and even taking pictures before they kidnap her and take her to school. The film reaches its violent and sadly realistic conclusion when they lure Mr. Norris with the photographic evidence. The assault scene is the most obvious indication that

A A Clockwork Orange had an influence. You could put the scenes next to each other in order to demonstrate its homage. The movie’s R rating and high content rating are earned from that point onwards. Norris is initially ambushed and beaten, but he quickly gains control and realizes that he can trap the other characters rather than continuing to walk into their traps. It’s brutal, especially when you consider that these are high school students. Andrew wins the fight but still wants to save his young nemesis. Stegman, adamant to the very end, tries to cut off Mr. Norris’s hand with a knife. He is then punched by Mr. Norris who looks both angry and shocked that he has killed another child. Stegman falls down the remaining roof panels and is caught in a rope hanging in front of everyone. The movie ends on a note that Norris wasn’t charged because no one saw him do it. Alice Cooper’s unique song is played again. It is not afraid to be brutal, even if the concept and execution of the movie are outrageous. The movie is over-the-top in the best way. While most would mark Commando as the director’s finest hour, a film that itself is over the top in its action, dialogue, and body count, Class of 1984

is, well, it’s in a class of its own. It spawned a pair of sequels, including the stupid yet way too fun

Class of 1984 Revisited

Class Of 1999 directed by Lester. The film still holds up today like fine wine. You can stream it on Tubi or Shudder, with Joe Bob’s commentary. Or you can add it to your collection with the Scream Factory Bluray release. It’s packed with features and looks better than ever. Horror sometimes needs good old fashioned genre films to balance it out and there’s fewer examples finer than Class of 1984


Two previous episodes of Revisited can be seen below. To see more of our shows, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals channel – and subscribe while you’re at it!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txR1E0ivht4https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3-M5C76BL8

Entertainment - Media News Watch originally published at Entertainment - Media News Watch