Nestled into a budget DVD entitled “4 Movie Marathon: Teen Comedy Collection” available at Wal-Marts everywhere, lies Bad Girls from Valley High, the very best 1985 teen-horror-comedy shot in the year 2000. Completed in 2000, but not released until 2005, Bad Girls is not good but very, very off kilter enough to warrant a look.
The girls begin their
campaign to demoralize Katarina, but all is not right. Creepy professor Mr.
Chauncey (Christopher Lloyd) seems to know more than he’s telling and there are
increasing signs that Katarina may be the ghost of Charity reaching from beyond
the grave for vengeance. Even more disturbing are the physical changes the
girls are undergoing – incontinence, wrinkles, tooth loss, blurred vision … There
is a clever twist at the end – not that clever, as it harkens back to an
earlier scene that otherwise had no importance to the story, and a prologue set
in the afterlife.
Anyone in search of laughs
should keep on looking. Bad Girls’ idea of humor is subjecting Lloyd’s
character to cruel, painful slapstick, features a cadaverous Janet Leigh as an
elderly stroke victim (a laugh goldmine, that!) and on top of everything else –
perhaps the reason the film stayed on the shelf so long is the fact that male
lead Brandis hung himself in 2003! Brandis was reportedly despondent on the
state of his acting career, and with this on his resume, it comes as little
surprise! Bad Girls does have an
unidentifiable quality to it that comes from a variety of elements. Very
bright, garish color photography that calls to mind a Walt Disney feature shat
in the 1970s; a Spartan budget with not enough money to populate its high
school setting; the surreal ending with a shocking bit of gore in addition to a
story element that links it to the notorious grindhouse horror film Don’t Go
Near the Park (1979) put this picture a notch above typical teen film fare.
Based upon the Young Adult novel “A Fate Totally Worse Than Death” by Paul Fleischman, Bad Girls takes it plotline directly from both Heathers and Jawbreaker. Three, rich snooty girls Danielle (Julie Benz), Tiffany (Nicole Bilderback) and Brooke (Monica Keena) reign over their high school in spite of the fact that no one appears to want to join their clique. All three girls share a terrible secret: they sorta, kinda murdered a fellow classmate Charity Chase (Tanja Reichert) when she made moves on the school’s top heartthrob Drew (Jonathan Brandis). Danielle is hot to reignite her love affair with Drew until beautiful Romanian exchange student Katarina (Suzanne Urszuly) snags Drew for herself.
|Barrel of laughs: stroke victims.|
|Back to the Future? |
How about Back to My Career?
A rare theatrical outing from TV director stalwart John T. Kretchmer, Bad Girls of Valley High is highly entertaining in spite of itself. If you find yourself in a situation where you have 90 minutes to kill, you could do a lot worse --