Synapse Films Puts Murder on the Curriculum with Massacre at Central High (Blu-ray)

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Massacre at Central High

1976’s Massacre at Central High, directed by Rene Daalder, is a film that quite took me by surprise. While viewing it for the first time, expecting a typical high school slasher film, it was quite the opposite.

It starts out like any typical exploitation/revenge film of that era. David (Derrel Maury) is a new student at Central High and is mercilessly tormented by the “in crowd” bullies who rule the high school and harass anyone that comes along their path -- going as far as to cripple David by kicking out a jack stand from his car while he was working underneath, shattering his leg.

After healing up, David returns to the school to exact his revenge on the classmates who wronged him and put an end to the bullies’ reign of terror once and for all.

But what happens when the bullies are gone? This is where the movie picks up the pace and becomes a chilling tale of what happens when the oppressed become the new oppressors. Without any bullies in the school anymore, the kids who once lived in fear now become the things they once hated.

Often cited as an inspiration for the 1988 film Heathers, a movie like this surely would not be able to be made in the current climate society has shaped for itself today. Having too many similarities to Columbine and, most recently, Oxford Michigan and Uvalde Texas, people may be put off by the story, while others may cheer for the underdog kids that are finally sticking up for themselves but take it too far. The overall story of the film is even more topical today than it was in the 1970’s.

Synapse Films packed the release with as many features as were available to compliment this hidden gem of a film.

Bonus Materials include:

  • High-definition 1080p remaster scanned, transferred and supervised by director Renee Daalder
  • Audio interviews by Mike White (‘The Projection Booth’ Podcast), featuring interviews with cast members Andrew Stevens, Robert Carradine, Derrel Maury and Rex Steven Sikes
  • Audio interview with director Renee Daalder, conducted by writer/horror historian Michael Gingold
  • HELL IN THE HALLWAYS: The Making of “Massacre at Central High” – New “making of” documentary
  • Theatrical trailer, TV spot, radio spot and still gallery
  • Newly translated removable English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

I highly enjoyed this film, at first cheering on the main character and the other kids who were starting to fight back over the bullies who made their lives a living hell every day, and then later hating them after seeing what those kids have become.

4.0 / 5.0