The insane genre-bending horror-comedy Detention is headed to DVD on July 31st. Directed by Torque-apologist Joseph Kahn, the story centers on the students of Grizzly Lake High School. A masked killer named Cinderhella is on the loose killing off members of the student body. Believing the killer to be one of his students, the principal rounds up the likely suspects and sentences them to an all-day detention to avoid that day’s prom from turning into a massacre.
This bloody take on The Breakfast Club has inspired us to take a look at the great high school horror films of our time. As if school wasn’t bad enough without people getting shot, stabbed, eaten, possessed, hit by buses, or a combination of all of those.
A girl with a troubled past moves to a town where she befriends a clique of three girls who happen to dabble in the occult. The four begin casting spells together which brings them unimaginable power. However, power corrupts and soon Fairuza Balk goes totally psycho just witching the crap out of everyone. It’s like Mean Girls with lightning fingers.
Another high school horror that deals with the subject of popularity and social hierarchy, Heathers goes to some dark places. When a prank leads to the accidental death of the school’s Queen Bee, it’s believed to be a suicide. Before you know it, everyone wants to get in on this teenage suicide craze. This film features one of the first appearances of Christian Slater, who America would fall for as the crazed, kill-happy mastermind behind it all.
Diablo Cody‘s follow-up to Juno is a far cry from teenage pregnancy and lost youth. The story centers around Megan Fox’s Jennifer, a high school student (yeah, right) sacrificed to a demon. Not one to let hot teen ass go to waste, the demon possesses her and uses her form to seduce and eat the boys in her class. Largely underrated, the film was poorly-received by critics and girls who aren’t as pretty as Megan. But it gave us some genuinely memorable scares and scenes. And this picture:
A mix of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Breakfast Club, The Faculty centers on six students discovering that their school is being taken over by alien invaders. The unlikely allies (nerd, jock, Goth, hot girl, hick, and rebel) team up to save not only themselves but Earth itself. Starring Elijah Wood and Josh Hartnett. Remember him?
Though we don’t see any action in the halls of the high school, Final Destination tries to take us along with a group of students on their senior trip to Paris. Tries being the key word. Before their flight disembarks, a student has a premonition that the plane will explode, killing them all. He fights his way off the plane, inadvertently taking a few others with him. Moments later, the plane actually explodes. From there, the survivors find they are being stalked by death as they are killed in the most grisly and random accidents. The film has spurred four sequels. Some good, some insultingly bad. But all feature completely gnarly death scenes for all of the gore hounds.
The instant classic that brought horror back to the box office, for better or worse. This sly, self-referential slasher film kept us guessing and screaming with intense scares and hidden motives. In addition to carving up students at Woodsboro High, the film also carved up and dissected the horror genre itself by laying out and then subverting the rules of Hollywood horror filmmaking. Scream is arguably one of the most important and influential films of the 90’s.
If high school horror were a contest, Wes Craven‘s original A Nightmare on Elm Street would be the clear winner. Students experiencing vivid nightmares featuring the same burn-covered ghoul discover that when they die in their dream, they die in real life. Pulled into a nightmarish wonderland, it’s a fight for survival and sanity as buried secrets refuse to stay that way. And then there were all those hokey sequels, but hey, whatevs.