Massacre at Central High-Movie Review

Massacre at Central High Film Review

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Massacre at Central High

Dir. Rene Daalder
USA 1976
35mm 87 min.

One of the original teen-retaliation classics, Rene Daalder's Massacre at Central high is especially fitting in the post-Columbine climate -- but it is primarily presented here as one of two offerings in tribute to the late Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith.

Smith is only one in a great '70s cast that includes Robert Carradine, Kimberly Beck, Andrew Stevens and the chick who played Mary on TV's Eight is Enough.

When a new student at Central High suffers abuse from local gang members and watches his fellow classmates endure similar and frequent humiliation, he takes matters into his own hands with an arsenal of weapons and explosives aimed at obliterating this social menace. Daalder cleverly avoids making a hero out of our vengeful protagonist; instead, we see his gradual mental deterioration as his retributive hand ceases to discriminate and the entire student body find themselves at his mercy.

Blessed with some choice dialogue and suspect costuming decisions, Massacre at Central High is the epitome of the '70s meathead ethic fused with an apt social commentary. Daalder would go on to direct the bizarre post-apocalyptic musical Population: One starring members of the defunct LA band The Screamers.

Kier-La Janisse