Wednesday, October 10, 2012

George Clooney Flunks Out In An Early Film Role: "Return to Horror High" (1987)

As a matter of fact, George Clooney is the first victim in this slasher comedy wannabe. He is also the luckiest, since he does not have to endure the rest of the film.

Five years after murders rock a high school, film makers return to shoot a film based on that event. Slowly, members of the cast and crew begin disappearing, indicating the killer is still lurking in the halls of Crippen High.

The killer did not do enough slashing, he should have had a stab at this script. All the film makers' characters have been done before. The director is all artistic frenzy, the producer is a sleazy scumbag, the screenwriter is ignored, and the actors are shallow. At one point, an actor playing a corpse with a hatchet in his face asks "what is my motivation?," as if that joke has not been done a thousand times before.

The hero here is a local cop and his cute actress girlfriend, who begin wandering around the set, writing down lists of names of the crew who have a connection to the high school. This plays like rejected scenes from "Harriet the Spy," as they happen on a conversation, whip out a notebook, and nod and write. In the end, they do not even solve the murders, as the killer is revealed a la "Scooby-Doo."

Other familiar faces here are Vince Edwards, who proves he will appear in anything for a paycheck, and Maureen McCormick, TV's Marcia Brady, who has an odd role as an oversexed police woman. Clooney does disappear early, but the look on his face tells you he has to do this silliness to fill a resume.

The film makers constantly try to trick the viewer with "are you watching the film or the real thing?" scenes that get real old after a while. The ending is insipid, makes no sense, and thankfully the sequel everyone promises then never was made...yet.

"Return to Horror High" should be held after class and put into detention. Skip it. (*) out of five stars.