Massacre at Central High (1976)

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The new kid at school gets even with bullies and everyone else in this pretty interesting B-movie from Dutchman Rene Daalder.

David is the new kid at Central High School. There, he runs into an old friend, Mark. Mark has joined up with a trio of bullies, Bruce, Craig, and Paul. The three guys spend their time bullying guys like librarian Arthur and local boy Spoony. When David stops the trip from raping students Jane and Mary, the bullies want Mark to tell David that to get along, he must go along.

However, when Mark catches his girlfriend Theresa skinny-dipping with David one night, Mark tells his friends that David won’t comply. When the bullies finally retaliate by crushing David’s leg under his car, David can no longer use his outlet of anger by running. He sets off a plan to destroy the elite once and for all. After dispatching of Bruce, Craig, and Paul, David thinks all will be okay at Central High. Despite his friendship with Mark, who learns that truth about that fateful night and how David couldn’t make advances at Theresa out of respect for Mark, David soon learns that he faces a bigger problem at Central High when the student body begins to completely act like big shots. He decides something must be done.

This is quite an interesting take of a high school terror flick. What writer-director Rene Daalder did was craft a story about an “avenger” if you will who wanted to make things right only to create an even more deadly monster. The story pretty much is about power and who should have that power as well as how loyalty can have its ups and downs. As the new kid, David is conflicted at first with stopping the trio of bullies only because he has an old friend who has joined their little clique. It is clear that while Mark has joined with this group, he more or less doesn’t go to the extreme as much as the other three. However, a misunderstanding and assumption not only puts a strain on their friendship but ultimately sets David off.

Derrel Maury and Andrew Stevens churn out decent performances in the role of the embittered best friends who are the driving force of the film. The trio playing the bullies are also quite good showing why they are the power elite. The only flaw in the film and that is not truly at fault is the performance of Kimberly Beck, who makes her film debut as Mark’s girlfriend Theresa. When Mark informs her of the death of one of the bullies, she brings a more wooden reaction rather than one that would have her concerned. Perhaps it is because the character of Theresa, while in love with Mark, really doesn’t care much about the bullies.

The killings of the bullies are quite inventive for its time frame. From an electrocuting during hang gliding to one diving into an empty pool, it is the rash of murders in the second half that makes it more interesting in that David resorts from going inventive to just a series of explosions. While this may seem somewhat a ho-hum effort on David’s part, the place of a small bomb in a hearing aid can be seen as more or less, interesting. The reasoning for David’s rash of killings is simple: bringing order to chaos.

Massacre at Central High may seem like a horror film and in some aspect it is, but it is more about what happens when chaos ensues to bring order and the result is even more chaos. A cult film favorite today but sends a message about high school violence in an interesting manner for its time frame.

WFG RATING: B

An Evan Pictures Production. Director: Rene Daalder. Producer: Harold Sobel. Writer: Rene Daalder.  Cinematography: Bertram van Munster. Editing: Harry Keramidas.

Cast: Derrel Maury, Andrew Stevens, Kimberly Beck, Robert Carradine, Ray Underwood, Steve Bond, Damon Douglas, Rainbeaux Smith, Lana O’Grady, Dennis Kort.

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