Class Of 1984 (1982) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Mark L. Lester
Starring: Perry King, Timothy Van Patten, Merrie Lynn Ross
Rated: R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Scream Factory
Andrew Norris (Perry King, Lipstick, Mandingo), an idealistic and naive music teacher, has moved into a new community with his pregnant wife, Diane (Merrie Lynn Ross, General Hospital), only to find his new job is an academic abyss. Appalled by the crime-infested school, Norris soon crosses paths with its teenage kingpin, the shrewd and sadistic Peter Stegman (Timothy Van Patten, Catacombs, Zone Troopers). With Norris setting his sights on reforming Stegman and the young punk declaring war on his teacher, the duo is on a collision course for a fateful showdown. Directed and co-written by Mark L. Lester (Class of 1999, Commando, Firestarter), Class of 1984 is one of the seminal cult movies of the early 1980s. While its vision of a decaying, violence-plagued inner city school seemed over the top in 1982, it sadly prophesied the future of American education. With an original story and screenplay co-written by genre veteran Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play, Psycho II, The Beast Within), the film is also notable for its great cast, which includes Lisa Langlois (Deadly Eyes, The Nest), Roddy McDowall, Stefan Arngrim (Fear No Evil) and Michael J. Fox in an early role.
I had never before seen the Class of 1984 until this release from Scream Factory. I had seen The Class of 1999, which I did like. This one was very different and more grounded. I’d easily say that it was much better and, oddly enough, serves as a warning and an eerie prediction for school violence that was yet to come years later. I never personally saw violence like this in my school. I saw teachers and students that simply didn’t like each other (Heck, some didn’t like me if you can believe that), but nothing that holds a candle to the story this movie tells when one music teacher decides to go to war with one awful student and his gang of drug dealers and even worse. So, here is the deal, Andrew Norris, the new music teacher, comes from Nebraska to the big city where a gang of kids lead by a dude named Peter is selling dope and doing other awful things. When Norris knows their dope was to blame for a kid’s death, he refuses to back-down on trying to bring them to justice. He tries to get the one kid who can point them out (Played by Michael J. Fox) to roll on them and along the way it becomes a back and forth battle of terror and one-upmanship between Norris and the gang. There is drama, some edge of your seat thrills, and even death along the way as this one finds a way to hold your attention from start to finish. I wasn’t real sure what to expect going into this one, but I was very impressed.
While this is a Collector’s Edition from Scream Factory, this isn’t a traditional horror film by any means. That isn’t at all a knock on it, because there is murder, rape, and other very horror themed things that happen along the way. We even have a very eerie and fun (believe it or not) scene where a teacher (played by the great Roddy McDowall) holds a class, along with these nasty gang members, by gunpoint for class. I won’t spoil this scene, but it is a real highlight of the movie in a movie that has a lot of very good things going for it along the way from start to finish. It is a fun film, but it could also be called a chilling film when you take into account just what is going on in the film with the school violence. Ahead of it’s time a number of ways, Class of 1984, is a very good movie, that is also solid in just about any number of ways you would hope for. If you were like me and hadn’t seen this one before, be sure to pick this cool disc up when you get the chance. It is more of a thriller than a horror, but I think if you watch it you will see more than enough credentials to justify a release of this type from the fine folks over at Scream Factory. I wish we had a little more blood along the way, but really that is the only biggie when it comes to possible complaints from me.
– New High-Definition Transfer Of The Film From The Interpositive
– New Interviews With Director Mark Lester, Actors Lisa Langlois And Erin Noble And Composer Lalo Schifrin
– New Career Retrospective Interview With Perry King
– Audio Commentary With Mark Lester
– Blood And Blackboards Featurette – Featuring Interviews With Director Mark Lester, Actors Perry King And Merrie Lynn Ross
– Original Theatrical Trailer
– TV Spots
– Still Gallery
Quality of the Transfer: 88%