Bluray Review: CLASS OF 1984

unnamed (19)Mark L. Lester’s 1982 cautionary tale, CLASS OF 1984, makes its Bluray debut and takes the cake as far as Scream Factory’s recent releases go, easily being the most entertaining and definitely a must-own for any collectors of not only cult cinema but great films in general. Not only does the teachers vs. students classic look absolutely gorgeous in HD, but is also given the SF treatment, with brand new interviews filled to the brim with stories and entertaining docs.


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THE FILM:

What makes CLASS OF 1984 so entertaining, is not only its entertainment value, but also how dead on the film was about the condition of schools and events that would eventually become a reality. Telling the tale of Perry King’s Andy Norris character, an idealistic teacher still in love with teaching music to students, the film starts on Andy’s first day as a teacher at Lincoln High. A school filled to the absolute brim with violence and drug-peddling, mostly at the hands of a small group of punk rock hooligans, Norris gets an instant rude awakening, quickly becoming the target of said gang and starting a full on war against the gang. It’s a story that we’ve seen a dozen times by now, but CLASS OF 1984 does it so well, making us actually care about its characters, and even making the film’s antagonists appealing, making the teacher vs. student angle a fun one, and filling the movie with more than its share of memorable scenes. What starts as a small time feud quickly turns into a bloody and very life-threatening all out battle, and we’re given some of the most interesting teen villains around to watch be taken down by what is easily one of King’s best characters and performances of his career.

Aside from the very entertaining and thrilling film itself, CLASS OF 1984 also features a very early performance by BACK TO THE FUTURE‘s Michael J. Fox, as you guessed it, a wise-cracking smart ass who we as viewers feel for. Timothy Van Patten’s Peter Stegmen is also a standout, with Van Patten giving one of the most badass performances as the gang’s leader and one who ends up being a good opponent to Perry King’s Andy Norris. It’s a film full of impressive youngsters giving performances that rival the more established actors (King and also Roddy McDowall in a memorable role) and being the perfect cautionary tale, but without ever being overly preachy.

The film’s transfer looks wonderful, with being cleaned up enough to look great on HD, but with enough grain to still give off that great ’80s vibe. If only we didn’t have to hear Alice Cooper’s “I Am The Future” over the opening credits, it’d be a perfect film, but hey, very few films are. Even with that awful song, CLASS OF 1984 is a surefire hit when it comes to cult ’80s films, but also ends up being somewhat of an important film, dealing with a fantasy that ended up being a reality: school violence.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

While SF’s recent CARRIE/THE RAGE: CARRIE 2 release might have been absent of any real special features, that’s definitely not the case with CLASS OF 1984. Boasting a very impressive amount of supplemental material, the disc features brand new interviews from Director Mark L. Lester, Lisa Langlois and Erin Noble (playing one of the punk rock kids and one of the music students) and a very in depth and entertaining one from Perry King, who gives insight into the film, his role in it and doesn’t leave a single stone unturned.

Combined with previous special features from the film’s deluxe DVD release a few years back, such as commentaries and another making of doc, this Scream Factory disc is one of the best releases for the company in a while, and being one that you REALLY shouldn’t pass up.

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