Friday, December 9, 2011

Spanish Fly: School Killer

SORRY, Paul.  Today's film is a 2001 thriller called School Killer.  Sadly, this isn't a Japanese movie about a mad bomber using flying squids to blow up schools, since he had a rough time in High School.  Don't you wish that this movie was real though?  Instead, it is about a bunch of people who go to an abandoned school for a vacation.  Why do they go?  Well, there is a reason for it...but I'll get to that later.  If the movie takes forty-plus minutes to get there, I can wait too.  The only real notable thing about this movie is that it features Paul Naschy in the twilight years of his career.  It's almost a rare one, as he's not playing a werewolf.  He is, however, playing his second/third favorite character: a ghost.  Maybe he's not.  More on that confusion later, as well.  An important thing to note is that this movie hits on the most popular tropes of the last several years- people going off to party, only to get killed.  This one does it in 2001, years before Hostel, the film that helped popularize it (although it existed before that).  Does this film make it worthwhile?  To find out, read on...
The gang spends their Spanish holiday in a school that's been abandoned for 30 years.  Nothing says 'good time' like Abestos!
The group wanders around for a bit, making sure to name drop every horror film ever.  Scream?  Check.  A Nightmare on Elm Street?  Check.
Why is Paul Naschy walking around in the school?  Well, I'll get around to this after this shot of Paul- the only good part of the movie so far...
Thirty-odd years ago, the lead's father and his friends did the same thing.  Things went horribly awry, but the father- who died a few years previous- detailed it all in a journal...even the stuff he couldn't have seen.  Logic- you're not welcome here!
Naschy's security guard starts killing off the group for daring to party in his house.  Yes, the school was closed, but he still controlled it...dammit.
In fairly quick fashion, he takes out nearly all of the group.  Oddly, he saves one girl and leaves her tied up...only to kill her a few minutes later.  Pointless torture- check!
Our hero's father manages to take out Naschy within seconds, rendering that whole preceding sequence a bit silly.  Back in the present, our hero has no good excuse for taking his friends to the school.  He just utterly fails.  Of course, we're talking about a film that has ghosts time-traveling, so you shouldn't expect much.
With time running out, our heroes get whittled down to three.  The whole finale is a bit confusing, as it seems to imply that Naschy isn't actually a ghost...or something.  The radio turns on in the car and they're going to die...I guess.  The End.
Ghost...killer?  The plot of this movie sounded like it could be good.  Ghost Paul Naschy- that's not eerie, is it?- killing stupid teenagers in an abandoned school building- that could be interesting.  However, the execution is way off!  The first half of the movie is the group wandering around, being annoying and seeing random ghost appearances.  To the film's credit, all of these appearances are explained- somewhat- in the second half.  This means, however, that you have to wait for about half of the film's run-time for anything to really happen!  The second half, in turn, is paced incredibly-oddly.  Naschy spends some time on certain kills, while killing (or disposing of) others in seconds.  The 'slights' that offend him and the subsequent punishments are pretty silly too.  Turn on the lights without his permission- you get decapitated.  The film is full of a number of unexplained/impossible to explain events.  The least of these is when a middle-aged Paul Naschy appears to teleport in order to get ahead of a girl running full-speed away from him!  Why do these ghosts appear?  If Naschy isn't a ghost, how come he hasn't aged in 30 years?  If he is a ghost, what was the point of the finale? If you can deal with odd pacing and vague answers to the film's questions, the film has some good gore and scares.
Next up, a look at a crazy, Japanese movie.  That doesn't narrow it down much, does it?  Stay tuned...

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