Monday, June 28, 2010

GIRLS SCHOOL SCREAMERS (1984) - in a school filled with screaming girls, it's a wonder any work gets done (or any glass object remains unshattered)

The misleading (but strangely erotic) VHS box art unfortunately fails to capture the class and nuance of the video within.

After the Troma Team seal of approval, a quote pops on the screen stating "in the darkness there is evil…within the evil there is death". While I’m no poetry expert, I don’t know why they don’t just say that death resides in the darkness, and just cut out the middle man “evil” bullshit. Anyway, a kid succumbs to peer pressure and enters a creepy house, as possible death is preferable to being called chicken. He walks up the stairs, and a zombie wearing a wedding dress cackles at him (to the extent that zombies can cackle). He runs away like the chicken shit he truly is (that may qualify as irony), and some truly unspeakable Casio nonsense strips away a layer from my eardrum membrane, like so much aural paint thinner.

We see a darkly lit close up of a girl's face screaming, and the word ”screamers” flies out of her mouth to make up the title card. That is what is known in the art business as “symbolism”. Anyway, the Trinity School for Girls is inheriting the spooky ghost house from the opening, and it is up to a group of Catholic school girls to inventory the collection of valuables within. That there is a fucking plot. Several of these girls are called into the office, as they apparently like to drink and get frisky with the boys. This is quite a positive sign, that these girls aren’t all uppity god freaks that would never throw their skirts off if a proper party environment presented itself.

So the girls head over to the house in a van, while a sloppy xylosynth ditty chugs along. One girl is wearing a white headband and a blue sweat suit (hopefully ready to get “physical”). A doctor pops in and scares the old ass nun, saying he is interested in possibly buying the house. She agrees to let him check it out, but tells him not to "stall" the girls (i.e. statutory rape). The doctor shows up at the house to begin his tour, to which the sluttiest girl says "you can start in my room". He turns her down (again…jail time) and starts to check out the house, while a dying synth bird coughs up its own lungs.

The girls decide to get this party started by playing a game of hide and seek. During the “game”, the lead girl finds a diary that belonged to the niece of the owner (her name being Jennifer), and a former student of the school. She is so intrigued by the private words of the diary, she almost trips down the stairs while that synth bird makes one final death gurgle. They have dinner together with the nun, saying grace for what looks to be 7-Up and Wonderbread. I should make mention that one of the girls looks like a long lost member of Salt ‘n Pepa (maybe Paprika), and perpetually wears headphones, even at the “dinner” table. The final girl asks the nun about Jennifer, and she mentions that she died in a "terrible fall". Interesting.

The girls suggest that Jennifer may have been murdered, and they should have a séance to ask her directly, in their sleep wear no less (including the popular football jersey/panties combo for one of the girls). Paprika says "I ain’t messin’ with no voodoo shit!", but these Catholic girls carry on with their satan ritual regardless. They spell out the word “picture” on their makeshift ouija board before shit starts flying everywhere, like it always does with these sort of things. The girls all jump up and scream, and the nun pops in and tells them to go to bed, as they are waking the dead with their noise (nuns aren’t above a little irony sometimes).

Two of the girls find a “picture” covered with a sheet, so they pull if off, revealing a painted portrait of Jennifer (ouija boards are pretty useful devices, I guess). Well oh well, Jennifer looks exactly like final girl Jackie. Coincidence? Well, Jackie reads more of the diary, and we get to see reenactments of Jennifer’s daily life and relationships, and the same actress gets to play both Jackie and Jennifer. Therefore, we amusingly get to see some “Troma Team” actors perform a period play (30’s high society), attempting to speak in the parlance of the times. Also, I guess it conveys a bunch of backstory and plot and shit.

Two of the girls fool around with the dumbwaiter (lucky bastard…oh wait, it’s an inanimate object). Rosemary goes down to the basement in this miniature elevator of sorts, getting a meat cleaver in the mouth. However, the girls are too busy enjoying some chili to notice Rosemary’s blood curdling screams. Paprika then sneaks up on the slut who, incredibly, is reading a book, while Karen heads to the basement and finds Rosemary's body, but gets mysteriously hooked (a la TCM). One girl walks around the house exploring, but gets pulled into the pond for some reason. A killer car (apparently) also shows up and causes some issues for the girls (and two boyfriends that show up to "help" them).

More weird shit happens, and we figure out that Girls School Screamers is of the “kids show up at a scary house, and a bunch of random creepy stuff happens” school, along the lines of Norman J. Warren’s Terror and Class Reunion Massacre. The movie seemingly starts off as a low rent slasher, but descends into surreal gothic territory (still low rent) as it moves along. A fine and unique direction to be sure, but I was hoping that these Catholic school girls would become possessed by Satan, thereby delving into the evils of lesbianism; the whole thing ending in an orgy of blood and flames and shit.

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