Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


NIGHT SCHOOL (1981). Director: Kenneth Hughes.

"I'm not a traveling salesman. I'm a police officer, and I have a badge that says I can disturb anybody, anytime."

In Boston a series of beheadings of women are tied to a girls' college and to anthropology professor Millett (Drew Snyder), who hits on virtually all of his pretty students. Lt. Austin (Leonard Mann) is assigned to the case, and wonders why the killer puts all of the severed heads under water. The maniac rides around on a motorcycle and wears a helmet that hides his face. Eleanor (Rachel Ward) is the professor's assistant and live-in lover, who might know more than what she's telling. This has an atmospheric use of Boston locations, including the Boston aquarium and assorted crooked streets, and the film is eerie and occasionally suspenseful. One bit has the owner of a restaurant fussing around in the kitchen while the audience wonders when the head of the murdered waitress will finally pop into view. This is yet another film that has a faux shower scene and a bit with the head-in-the-toilet-bowl. As sick as most "mad slasher" movies, at least it's relatively well-made and well-acted. Night School was written by the film's producer, Ruth Avergon, who never had another film credit. Wonder why? Leonard Mann(zella) was born in Italy and had many Italian credits. Snyder has been a busy actor on TV.

Verdict: Nice Boston locales and some chills. **1/2.

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