It’s time to get your new locker combination and a bunch of #2 pencils, because Summer is over, folks. It’s time to go back to school to get your scares on! Episode 74 is waiting in the gym to beat you up.
Remember your high school years? Your college years? Are you still in school? Well, it’s that time of year again, and horror is taking up residence in the halls of learning. Sensitivities of putting young children in peril is still largely a taboo that Hollywood won’t touch, grade school horror films are few and far between. But High School? We’ve got that covered several times over! Horror soaked in High School sauce has been a genre staple for the past forty years. For many horror fans, their love of the genre started when they were in high school. Pushing the boundaries of what you are allowed to do and get away with often involved watching scary movies. It is a right of passage! And what better way to bond with the genre than to watch what you are familiar with? This is also fertile grounds for the beginning of a proud legacy in Hollywood for emerging actors, but it also may be the only movie that the aspiring actors ever appear in.
Themes of bullying, body horror, the prom, peer pressure, and urban legends play huge roles in High School themed scary movies. It’s the greatest hits/painful memory expose. The great thing about high school films, in particular, is that the high school archetypes are often put to great use. The popular alpha cheerleader. The sweet virginal smart girl. The nerdy loser. The dumb jock. Anything you would see in a John Hughes movie is in play here, except, in this case, most of these kids will be dead by the end of the movie.
Advancing on to college, and the old warhorse, the Sorority House becomes the center of attention. Rare is the college-themed horror show that actually shows much classroom time, but the sorority houses are inevitable targets for creepy slasher stalker creepers, particularly in the ’80s. Films like Happy Death Day are beginning to flip the misogyny inherent in the sorority house as killing ground trope, and it will be interesting to see in this day and age of empowered female heroes, how this trope trend shifts.
For a full Dead List of representative films, good and bad, check out this post! Also, this podcast was a Patreon request, from a Friend of the Podcast, Bree Fawk, who is a school counselor, so this was apropos for her life! If you would like to get a dedicated request for a Podcast topic, join our Patreon Community, and we will do a custom podcast for you, as well as get you involved in other fun events and you will have our eternal gratitude, from beyond the grave even!