Sunday, May 15, 2016


I think over the course of the last four years I've made it pretty clear that I was a late night TV junky. Ever since I caught a really bad Christopher Lee sci-fi flick at 3 am, I became obsessed with staying up all hours of the night to see what dark delights the weird old TV gods would bestow upon me. Especially when we got cable in the mid 80s. Especially when I got a little TV for my bedroom and I was able to run a cable splitter from the living room TV to my bedroom. Back then USA, TBS, Fox, WGN, and sometimes even the big three would play horror, action, and exploitation films post 11PM. That's how I spent my weekends, flipping through all these channels to find that sweet spot.
Two of my favorite movies that seemed to play all the time were The Warriors and Class Of 1984. I'll be covering The Warriors later this week, in honor of Waxwork Records' original soundtrack double vinyl release, which I have received in the mail, and holy crap, it's awesome!

Class Of 1984 was my first punk film and featured Alice Cooper's "I Am The Future" in the opening credits. At the point I first watched Class Of 1984, Cooper's Trash had just come out. It was his first really big hit record in some time, but it wasn't a very 'Alice' record. It was lousy with guest spots from Aerosmith and Bon Jovi and veered away from the theatrical rock he was known for and more
towards the poodle head cock rock of the day. Fortunately, Trash was still way better than anything by the flavor of the week pop metal bands and actually still holds up pretty well today. I was new to Alice at the time though and very excited about Trash and played it constantly. So I was already hungry for more, especially since my mom had banned Alice from house for being sick and Satanic.

Catching Class Of 1984 was random happenstance while flipping through the channels. It was just starting and didn't take much to hook me, especially when I saw Alice's name in the credits. If you're unfamiliar with this 1982 cult classic, let me give you a little info; it was written by Tom Holland (Psycho II, Fright Night, The Beast Within, Cloak and Dagger, Child's Play) and directed by Mark Lester (Showdown In Little Tokyo, Firestarter, Commando)-cult film royalty, and starred Perry King (Riptide), Roddy McDowall (Fright Night, Black Hole, Planet Of The Apes, Batman '66) and Timothy Van Patton (who went on to direct episode of Sopranos and Game of Thrones among many other shows) and was even Michael J Fox's film debut. Lester also wrote and directed the, um sequel (?) Class Of 1999, which came out in 1990. If you're unfamiliar with that one too, well go find it!

King plays the new music teacher in a really bad school where the kids run wild and terrorize everyone. He has a pregnant wife at home and has basically hit the shit storm jackpot coming to work here. He befriends McDowall's character, who tries to show King the ropes (like carrying a pistol in his briefcase!). Van Patton is the leader of gang of violent, drug dealing punks who push McDowall to his breaking point and forces King to take some drastic action.

I don't want to give away to much more! Class Of 1984 is a really dark action/exploitation film with the heart of a horror movie. You could certainly draw comparisons to old westerns where the good guy shows up in a town run by a bunch of outlaws and has to bring law and order, but there's no clean hands or white hats and no one rides off into the sunset. This movie puts you through the wringer.

If you listen to "I Am The Future" out of context of the film it just sounds like one of those great Alice rock rebellion anthems like "Department Of Youth" or "School's Out". Applied to Class Of 1984 and it's a dire warning of a future going down in flames, of youth rising up and eating their parents, of a day where you can't run to a teacher or a cop for protection...

When does a dream become a nightmare?
When do we do what must be done?
When do we stand and face the future?
When there is nowhere left to run?

And you've got to learn
Just how to survive
You've got to learn
How to keep your dream alive

Take a look at my face
I am the future
How do you like what you see?
Take a look at my face
I belong to the future
And you belong to me

Class Of 1984 was released on Blu Ray from the awesome Scream Factory. It really is a chilling film even now and recommended for fans of Suburbia (Penelope Spheeris) and The Warriors.

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