Class of 1984 Review

Movie: Class of 1984
By: Maniac E
Date: June 19, 2012

Class of Still Relevant

It has been some time since I watched the Class of 1984, and after seeing it again it just shows how this movie has been standing up through time. In the 80tees movies about high schools were hot, they even named it as "Teen Fluff movies". Now Mark L. Lester thought the same so he came up with a gritty and gruesome exploitation high school movie. Class of 1984 is a classic example of exploitation film: In other words, it compensates for its lack of star power and a high budget by exploiting a sensitive topic (violence in schools) and wallowing in all the racy and violent content it can muster in the space of an hour and a half.

In Class Of 1984, our protagonist is one Andrew Norris (played by Perry King), an idealistic, positive music teacher who was recently transferred to Abe Lincoln High School, an inner-city high school wrought with punks (and kids who have adopted the "punk" look that was popular in that time), juvenile delinquents, drugs, and crime. This is a place where the students have to pass through metal detectors to get into and out of the school. Where every teacher has a gun, and to survive, you sometimes have to "look the other way. "Once Mr. Norris gets to his class, he immediately meets the villain of the movie, Peter Stegman (played by Timothy Van Patten), a psychotic, manipulative, teenage criminal mastermind who runs all of the drug rackets in the school, and a small prostitution ring on the side, with the help of his gang of punks. Immediately Stegman takes a disliking to Mr. Norris, and makes it his mission to teach (well, harass and threaten is more like it) him to stay out of his illegal activities. However, Norris won't be taken down as easily as the rest of the staff, causing a clash between the two. Eventually, tensions rise between them as Stegman tries to get Norris to crack, going after his students (one of which is played by Michael J. Fox, billed as Michael Fox), the pets of his fellow faculty member (played by Roddy McDowall), and ultimately his pregnant wife, Diane (played by Merrie Lynn Ross).

Class of 1984

I wouldn't be surprised if this were one of those video nasty's, because this rip-snorting, welcoming unapologetic trash doesn't hold back on its exploitative context. Simply its unpleasant with its frequent violence and rough black humor and wit. Blatantly, that's what it's trying to do and it does remarkably well. Creating intense situations and shocks, like the disturbing scene involving rabbits and rape, helped out by the brutal violence but too it had wry sense of humor, which you couldn't help but snicker. Don't go into it expecting a deep background character study to what makes these kids tick, because here they just do! What we get is a satire on violence that leads to revenge. Also it takes a look at teacher and student relationship, and how it can turn around in an instance on who is the bad guy and who isn't. Especially since the teacher tries to do the things by the book, but he soon realises he can't win and has to walk the path of those brutes and turn into what despises to reach an outcome. What is scary is that the whole urban jungle nightmare in the school grounds isn't too far away from the truth nowadays. Mark Lester, Tom Holland and John Saxton came up with a competent dark screenplay that stacks up some over-the-edge surprises, but also involving and well-rounded characters, especially for this type of flick.

Class of 1984

The violence is grisly and there are some neat gory slices of bloodletting, which a lot seem to happen in the way-over-board climax, but I got a kick out of the ironic ending too, that goes well with what all always eventuates throughout. Exhilarating camera-work and snappy pacing also work a treat. The performances were hugely sensational. Perry King as Mr. Norris generally has interesting and appealing persona about him, that you'll be cheering on his character and the great Roddy McDowall turns in a professional performance, especially when that of his character finally cracks under the pressure. Timothy Van Patten is the star here as the cunningly vile Peter Stegman. His performance is simply memorable and that anger of his character is incredibly uneasy to watch. The maniac group just stirs the pot. And you got a supporting role from a gawky Michael Fox, yep there no J here.

Class of 1984

While some of those unsettling and offensive images stay with you, also need to cope with the catchy tune 'I am the future' by Alice Cooper. You get a dose during the beginning and then for the closing credits... I couldn't get that damn song out of my head! It's cheesy but deliciously tasty. The bulletining rock soundtrack pounds out the tracks and the rumbling score is far than weak. Competently made but otherwise still holding a raw touch to it with its hard going tactics and thrills. Class of 1984 after all those years is still a cult classic and is one of those movies that keeps sticking in the back of your head. Riveting junk that's highly enjoyable. That's HIGHLY ENJOYABLE!



Class of 1984


Class of 1984


Mark L. Lester






Perry King, Merrie Lynn Ross and Timothy Van Patten, Micheal J. Fox