Blood Capsule #13

HELL HIGH (1989)

This one came close to missing the cut. It was originally titled What Do You Want to Do Tonight?, and some of you may have seen it under the alternate handle of Raging Fury (sounds like a feral, brutish "nature runs amok" vehicle). At any rate, Hell High is a preoccupying case with a skewbald history. It was released three years after it wrapped. More calamitous still, it was released two years after the untimely death of its lead. It's a wonder that this exploitative cheapie landed on DVD. Falling somewhere between 80's fluff and 70's sleaze, Hell High follows an obstinate loafer who plots to violate his biology teacher. He wasn't expecting the mousy prig to retaliate in such a warped, barbaric way.

Almost a slasher, almost a rape/revenge manifesto...that's the problem. It never goes far enough in either direction. It's certainly disturbing in spots. The cast is on-point, the visuals are moody and the violence is sufficiently violent. But I didn't buy it. I wasn't invested. For starters, the characters are grating. The even-tempered protagonist is too dull for words, and the central gang of delinquents annoyed the piss out of me. I guess we're supposed to identify with the aforementioned biology teacher, but she's written as a shallow machination whose sole purpose is to counter the bad guys. These hang-ups notwithstanding, Hell High seems to be popular amongst genre fiends. All I can do is shrug my shoulders.

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