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CUTTING CLASS (director: Rospo Pallenberg; screenwriter: Steve Slavkin; cinematographer: Avi Karpick; editors: Bill Butler/Natan Zahavi; music: Jill Fraser; cast: Donovan Leitch (Brian Woods), Jill Schoelen (Paula Carson), Brad Pitt (Dwight Ingalls), Martin Mull (William Carson III), Roddy McDowall (Mr. Dante), Mark Barnet (Gary), Eric Boles (Mr. Glynn), Robert Glaudini (Shultz), Tom Ligon (Mr. Ingalls), Dirk Blocker (Coach Harris), Nancy Fish (Mrs. Knocht); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Rudy Cohen/Donald R. Beck; Republic; 1989)
Probably best appreciated by stoners and former truants.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Debut film of Brad Pitt. Dirk Blocker, Dan’s son, plays a high school coach. The teen slasher film plays out as mostly an idiotic tongue-in-cheek comedy. Its theme, if you will, is that getting through school can sometimes be a bitch. Rospo Pallenbergdirects. Steve Slavkin writes. Wall of Voodoo provides the music.

Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch, son of the Scottish folk singer) returns to high school from a stay at the insane asylum for killing his father supposedly by cutting his car brakes five years ago. The principal (Roddy McDowall) is a cross-dresser, who drools over a hottie co-ed cheerleader. Paula Carson (Jill Schoelen) is the all-American straight A co-ed with a great ass, whom the male teachers can’t keep their eyes off. Dwight Ingalls (Brad Pitts) is cheerleader Paula’s jerky dumb-ass jock boyfriend. His main rival for Paula’s heart is Brian.

Upon Brian’s return teachers and students start getting killed off by axes to the head and various other ways. An art teacher is baked in his kiln during class, a head is crushed in a vise, there’s a photocopy death by a Xerox machine and, my favorite, a gym teacher is impaled by a flag while doing body flops on the school trampoline. Martin Mull plays Paula’s dutiful wealthy DA father, who while hunting one day takes an arrow in the chest and spends the rest of his film time trying to get home. He was the first vic upon Brian’s return.

Brian is the prime suspect in all this. But when Dwight tells Paula: “I am a murder. Not as prestigious as a lawyer or a doctor, but the hours are good,” she has second thoughts. The finale has an absurd power tools brawl. Another suspect is the pot smoking and trash talking school custodian (Robert Glaudini), who endears himself to this horror film with many bad one-liners.

Probably best appreciated by stoners and former truants.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”