I am certain that Cutting Class would be just another lousy eighties slasher if it didn’t star none other than Brad Pitt in one of his first acting roles. Shot in 1987 but released two years later this is one of those movies that barely made it over the Rabbit Reviews recommendation line. And that’s a line for movies so bad that they’re good. Ok, I might have added to the horror section as well. I can’t help these eighties movies for the love Satan. It’s a clunky, disjointed and moody thriller masquerading as horror with a decent amount of humor. Both intentional and unintentional. And you’ve guessed it, the unintentional works phenomenally good. I mean, I just chuckled remembering the scene where Brian stalks Paula while hiding in the bushes holding a bicycle. How did they come up with that scene is beyond me.
I already mentioned Pitt, but the other reason why Cutting Class is still remembered and actually got a nice remaster and blu-ray release is gorgeous Jill Schoelen. You might remember her from another cult eighties movie The Stepfather. I have to admit that I fell in love with her here and not just because there were a couple of brief and (not so) tastefully done sexy scenes without any nudity.
Her acting here was not only spot-on but she also expanded so much on her scarcely written character. The same cannot be said of Pitt’s acting that was, well, let’s say entertaining. Who knew that a couple of years later he would get that role in Thelma & Louise and break into the mainstream. And who knew that a couple of years after that role he would be so good in Se7en and then Fight Club…
Brian Woods is a high-school student trying to get his life together after a short trip to the mental hospital. He falls in love with a lead cheerleader Paula who already has a douchy boyfriend Dwight who finds out about that and decides to get back at him. All these seem like ordinary high-school issues but when dead bodies start appearing, all the students will be on the lookout for the mysterious killer.
Same as many of the eighties slashers we are following a group of high-school friends who become a target of a serial killer. The mystery as to who is actually the killer is something that remained unknown for most of the movie, keeping the atmosphere somewhat suspenseful. The murders were also pretty diverse and creative with enough gore to warrant a horror genre tag.
There are so many awkward scenes that come off as hilarious and most of them involve the creepy principal played straight by Roddy McDowall. With good production values, Cutting Class looks really good and this is not some cheap ass milker out to make a quick buck. As such it’s perfect for trashing and watching with friends. Get a few beers and/or joints, hit play and be transported into the eighties! Complete with a cheerleader deciding not to wear panties during her routine to spice things up…
Director: Rospo Pallenberg
Writers: Steve Slavkin
Cast: Jill Schoelen, Brad Pitt, Donovan Leitch Jr., Roddy McDowall, Martin Mull, Brenda James, Robert Glaudini, Robert Machray
Fun Facts: Brad Pitt (Dwight) once flashed a passing car while taking a break between scenes. The police showed up to the set to question him when the driver reported the indecent exposure.