Thursday, September 10, 2009

Films From the Crypt: Episode 8 - The New Kids (1985)

Films From The Crypt: Episode 8 - The New Kids (1985)

Tagline: "The kids learned three things about southern hospitality, blood, sweat and terror!"

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Watch the FILM

Starring: Lori Loughlin, Shannon Presby, James Spader

Sean S. Cunningham is certainly not known for his post-Friday the 13th output. Most people know him as the man that produced Last House on the Left, or the one that directed Friday the 13th. Both are rightful claims to fame, and I'm sure he has no problem being associated with those films, but he has had a career after F13. Notable films - for better or worst - from his later career includ Deep Star Six, Spring Break, and our Film from the Crypt, The New Kids.

The New Kids is a well crafted, very eighties, film that blends a few different genres together to create a taut thriller. There are elements of revenge films, backwoods films, teen romance, even slasher films to be found in The New Kids. Perhaps the best part of the whole thing is that Cunningham allows for his film to stay true to the exploitave elements without shying away when it comes time for the bloodletting. That's not to say it's a gore film by any means, but it's, sometimes, a very mean picture. As an extra bonus, if you watch the film you'll get to see James Spader, Lori Loughlin, and Eric Stoltz as young 'uns!

The picture starts off by showing our two stars - Loren (Shannon Presby) and Abby McWilliams (Lori Loughlin) - doing their early morning work outs with their military man father played by the always superb Tom Atkins. Soon after, the mother and father are killed in a car wreck and the kids are hastily moved down south (to Florida) to live with their aunt and bumbling uncle at their second rate amusement park (Santa's Funland!).

The new kids, used to being moved around as army brats, begin their Florida scholastic career but soon realize that not all is right in their new town. After a few run-ins with the local high school Charles Manson (Eddie Dutra - played by James Spader) and his gang of redneck goons, Loren and Abby decide that they have to fight back. Of course, in doing so, they escalate things even more and we're in for the showdown of the century that naturally makes its way to the amusement park (Bloodbath at Funland!).

The entire movie is played straight. All the kids do their best to pull off their roles and most of them do an admirable job. The script is not exceptionally strong, so the actors and director really had to step up in order to keep the film from sinking. Probably the major attraction here is Spader's Dutra, as dastardly a bad guy as has ever been put on the screen. Spader plays becomes that bleach-blonde bastard with ease and is the only one in the film that is actually able to take it to the next level.

I don't want to give you the false impression that The New Kids is a wonderful film or anything, it's not, but it is solid. It's a good picture with heart. And, as much of a genrephile as I am, that's a rarity with movies like this. If you're in the mood for a fun, dirty picture that you may not have seen before, I recommend you try out The New Kids and see what you've been missing.



venoms5 said...

I first caught this on HBO in 1987 late at night and thought it was really good. There's nothing like a good backwoods revenge movie. I bought the DVD when it came out, but haven't gotten around to opening it up yet unfortunately.

OhDonPiano said...

I thought it was a pretty alright movie.

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