A fun and nice-looking slasher/mystery horror film that was caught up in the UK moral panic of the 80s known as video nasties. Night School (also knows as Terror Eyes) is one of those nasties that seems so tame by comparison to something like Cannibal Holocaust or Gestapo’s Last Orgy, However, don’t let that fool you. It is violent and foul when it needs to be. It just so happens to also tell an interesting and coherent story from beginning to end.
Written by Ruth Avergon, directed by Ken Hughes and starring Leonard Mann, Rachel Ward, Drew Snyder and Joseph R. Sicari. There is a killer on the loose in Boston, one that likes nothing more than to decapitate young woman and leave their heads in water. A killer that drives a motorcycle, wears black leather and hides their face with a helmet. We know this because we see the killer claiming victims throughout the movie but the police have nothing to go on.
That is until Lt. Judd Austin (Mann) finds a link that leads to a local night school and the students of Professor Millet (Synder). A professor of anthropology, he is a cultured man who has spent time with native tribes of South America and his students all seem to love him. He also seems to love them too, inappropriately. Something that gets the ire of his girlfriend/research assistant Eleanor (Ward).
All signs seem to point towards Professor Millet but Judd has no proof and the killings aren’t stopping.
A cleverly written story with some frustrating lows and some thrilling highs. With a unique location (for a nasty), strong acting across the board (albeit a line or two here), some violent kills (although not as bloody as you might have hoped) and an engaging mystery. Night School really does deliver a top-notch slasher movie experience.
The high points take it up an extra notch too with the long, tension-heavy reveal of a waitress’ head being the film’s standout sequence. The low points are forgivable as they often further the story or are there to try and misdirect your suspicions.
Does it deserve to be called a ‘nasty’? Absolutely not. It’s not violent enough, nor is it filled with gore or sexual content. It’s well worth checking out through as a forgotten slasher movie of the 80s.
Night School (1981)
The Final Score - 8/10