This guest review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Brian of Hard Ticket To Home Video. Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Brian! Let’s hear his thoughts on National Lampoon’s Class Reunion. 🙂
National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)
Starring: Gerrit Graham, Stephen Furst, Miriam Flynn, Zane Buzby, Fred McCarren, Blackie Dammett
Directed by: Michael Miller (Danielle Steel’s A Perfect Stranger; Danielle Steel’s Heartbeat; Danielle Steel’s Daddy; Danielle Steel’s Palomino; World’s Deadliest Volcanoes)
Written by: John Hughes (Baby’s Day Out; Curly Sue; Dutch; Dennis the Menace; Flubber)
Synopsis: It’s 10-year reunion time at Lizzie Borden High, but the merriment turns deadly as one psycho classmate terrorizes the Class of ’72 in his frenzy for revenge!
Best part: The one time my throat made a slight chuckling noise was when Egon, the vampire classmate (only so they could shoehorn in some random vampire jokes), was putting the moves on a woman, and she told him it was that time of the month, and he turned to the camera and licked his chops. Very stupid, but it’s still the funniest thing that happens in this dumb movie.
Worst part: It’s great to see Anne Ramsey in a fight scene, but there was really no reason at all for Walter to murder the old lunch lady, especially when he doesn’t murder anyone else after that (unless he murdered the adulterous couple, I don’t know, they’re never mentioned again). I know he’s nuts, but he’s really shitty at getting revenge on his classmates.
Best line: Hubert Downs: [Walter is threatening to stab Meredith] “Walter, can we see her naked before you kill her?”
Nudity: One slide of bare boobs.
Worst part: Blackie Dammett plays the killer, Walter Baylor. Blackie’s real name is John Kiedis, and he’s the father of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Overall: This is one I’ve been meaning to watch for the “What Were We Thinking?” section of our website because I recall watching this several times as a kid and loving it. I don’t know why. I probably thought the killer’s mask was neat-looking. Watching it now, this movie is just dull and stupid. I know it’s supposed to be an outrageous spoof comedy, but even outrageous spoof comedies need to make sense. For example, the killer padlocks the front doors (one chain, one padlock) and none of the dozens of people can find a way to break one padlock, or one wooden door. Later on, Gary (the class zero) gets an axe from the wood shop, and manages to break the door down with it, but not until much later. Nobody thought to just go grab the axe right from the beginning? Then in a later scene, the devil-possessed woman shoots fire out of her mouth and blasts a hole in the wall. She couldn’t have done that to the front door? And it goes on and on. Characters are forgotten about, the killer has some sort of perfect human mask-making machine, etc.
Anyway, since this is the second National Lampoon movie and came out a few years after the classic Animal House, people must have been SORELY disappointed in this, especially if they saw Stephen Furst and the words “Class Reunion” and thought it may have been a reunion of the Animal House guys. This movie is probably only slightly better than the National Lampoon dregs they crap out today.
So what’s positive? The sets aren’t bad I guess. There’s kind of a Clue vibe going on throughout, except Clue is good. In Class Reunion, 98% of the jokes are flatter than Silly Putty after Kevin Smith sat on it. But it has a good cast. Gerrit Graham is a legend, that goes without saying, and Stephen Furst makes a great slimeball, and Zane Buzby is a pretty underrated, freaky-looking actress. I suppose if you have to have a totally random devil-possessed girl in your movie she’s an excellent casting choice.
But overall, this movie is just boring and a bit of a chore to sit through in parts. It’s not completely unwatchable, but it’s not really worth watching. John Hughes stated that he regretted how this movie turned out, and it’s easy to understand why. Fortunately, his next screenwriting effort was much better (Vacation) and eventually he would write Baby’s Day Out, which some consider to be the finest film ever released to cinemas.
Score: 4 handjobs from your twin sister (out of 10)
**Over at Hard Ticket To Home Video, they’re running the hilarious “You Dumb Kids” in which people write about movie misconceptions they had as a kid. You can read my (rather embarrassing) entry HERE. Thanks for letting me join in & embarrass myself, guys! 🙂