Class of 1984 - Mark L. Lester - This story of an idealistic young teacher driven over the edge by disciplinary issues revolving around a rowdy group of punks who begin by generally fucking off in class, but also deal a bad batch of drugs that hilariously drive good kids to bizarre deaths fits comfortably into the fascists fix schools subgenre that seems to become briefly popular again once a decade or so and it's fun to look at what the squares of the early 80s perceived as the generation's big challenges. "Punks" are a problem as evidenced by the group of bullies (punk bullies, remember that non-existent high school menace?) who wear t-shirts with swastikas and ripped jackets advertising The Clash and terrorize all the good, clean cut kids including baby Michael J. Fox. When this shit escalates to murder it's a hoot.
Class of Nuke 'Em High - Lloyd Kaufman, Richard W. Haines - Another bad batch of feel goods drive the plot such as it exists in Troma's version of the horny teen comedy which adds a good dose of corporate malfeasance, nuclear calamity, gruesome mutations and buckets of gore to goose their straight genre peers like Porky's and Revenge of the Nerds... edge goes to Troma.
Class of 1999 - Mark L. Lester - Improving on his initial fascists fix schools entry Class of 1984, director Lester elevates the concept with the introduction of android teachers originally designed for law enforcement who take order and discipline a little too seriously. This is basically RoboCop in the classroom minus any robo-hero. Instead we have a trio of technological terminators (Patrick Kilpatrick, Pam Grier and John P. Ryan) running amok massacring unruly students in a grand experiment run by Stacy Keach and Malcolm McDowell. Fucking A+ for effort.
Class of 1999 II: The Substitute - Spiro Razatos - The sequel concerns the exploits of a rogue Robo Teacher missing and presumed destroyed from the original batch. Sasha Mitchell plays the terminator and employs his rest of the best level martial arts skills to fuck shit up. Good fun.
And now for a few notable first watches from July...
Man of the West - Anthony Mann - Gary Cooper, Julie London and Arthur O'Connell are strangers stranded in the wilderness in the aftermath of a train robbery. When they stumble upon the desperadoes counting the loot their odds of survival get even longer. But Coop's got a history with the outlaws, one that he'll have to go back to to get any of them out alive. I can hear Tony Soprano lamenting 21st century masculinity from here.
- Donald Cammell - David Keith stars as a sound installation expert at the center of a police investigation into some brutal murders in this fucking weirdly amazing serial-killer tone poem. As familiar as all the elements are; (giallo-staged killings, Art Evans' driven detective, native peoples' spiritual overtones, obsessive off-beat charming suspect) I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. Probably won't be for everybody (I mean, it's over 30 years old and I'm just hearing about it), but man did it hit a sweet spot for me. Loved it.