The thing I remembered most about the 1987 slasher Return to Horror High from when I originally saw it in the 80s was that Marsha Brady played a cop. That sentence pretty much sums up why it needs to be in my collection: 80s, slasher, Marsha Brady.
Having said that, Return to Horror High pretty much sucks. It attempts to be a spoof of slasher films. It’s about a film crew (already) slaughtered while making a movie about a massacre that took place 5 years before (1982!) in the very same high school in which they were filming before they were hacked up. There’s something very Scream Trilogy about it. Sadly, the horror, the humor, and the sex are all terribly paced, so you get drudged through a lot of confusing and extremely unentertaining scenes and dialogue to find the few worthy moments.
Oh. There’s another big problem. See, the killer from 5 years ago was never found. As the film begins, Marsha Brady and the lead detective are trying to piece together how the film crew was massacred by talking to the screen writer, the only one who survived. He begins to recount what happened during the making of their film. In this flashback, several people who were actually witness to the massacre 5 years before are on set, including a janitor, the principal, and a real cop who was cast in the film they were making. Within the writer’s flashbacks of the new massacre, we get flashbacks from the cop as he tells the lead actress what happened during the first massacre. We get flashbacks of the new massacre, flashbacks of the massacre 5 years before, and scenes that are nothing more than footage from the movie they were making—all three of which feature the same actress as the lead girl, as well as several characters who were at the scenes of both massacres. Confused? Now you know how I felt.
Having said that, there’s a very important role Return to Horror High plays in the world of useless pop culture trivia: 6 degrees of The Facts of Life and The Golden Girls. This movie was MADE for me. Where do I even begin?
Okay, let’s try this. One of the main actors in this movie is the man who played Jo’s father on The Facts of Life. Another actor in the movie is Philip McKeon, none other than the brother of Nancy McKeon, who played Jo on The Facts of Life. Of course, Philip was also on Alice, which featured the character Flo, played by Polly Holliday, who appeared as Rose’s blind sister on The Golden Girls!
Also in a small role at the beginning of this film is George Clooney, who had a role on The Facts of Life the second time it jumped the shark—Blair and Jo had graduated and they all moved into Edna’s Edibles, and then that burned down and they opened a novelty shop with the annoying kid who lived next store and the hunky handyman, played by…George Clooney. In George’s first episode on the show another actor appears…who happens to be in this movie as well. Then there’s an appearance in this movie by the kid who played Duane on a season of Fame, who also happened to appear in an episode of none other than The Facts of Life!
George Clooney and Michael Zbornak
Amazingly, some of the cast of characters in the 6 degrees of The Facts of Life trivia play into the 6 degrees of The Golden Girls trivia.
For starters, Jo’s father appeared in an episode of The Golden Girls as a gym teacher with whom Dorothy was having an affair (his character would reappear in another episode, recast with the man who played Baby’s father in Dirty Dancing).
George Clooney appeared in an episode of The Golden Girls as a young cop. And to top it all off, the guy who plays the director of the film in this movie is the actor who played Dorothy’s son Michael in several episodes of The Golden Girls. WHAT are the chances? Then there’s a guy in this movie who later appeared in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot with Estelle Getty, who plays Sophia on The Golden Girls.
Other 80s sightings include the security guard Mr. Garrett (no relation to Edna) from Halloween II. Another actor appeared in a 1981 slasher called…wait for it…Scream. One guy appeared in CHUD II: Bud the CHUD. A Latin guy wearing an awesome gay 80s wardrobe in this film, including a head band, wore pretty much the same outfit in Tuff Turf. He also appeared on an episode of Different Strokes, the show from which The Facts of Life was spun-off. One chick was in Friday the 13th Part VI and the movie For Keeps, which starred Molly Ringwald, who starred in the first season of The Facts of Life (this is getting freaky).
But there are even more reasons to watch Return to Horror High; Marsha Brady getting off on rubbing blood all over her cleavage, Marsha Brady getting off on eating a chili dog, and Marsha Brady in a horror movie; exploding tits; a classic closing credits 80s track called “Scary Movies” by Pleasant Company (nope, they don’t have an album. I checked. I so want this song for my Halloween playlist); a lead girl who looks very much like Sarah Michelle Gellar—and her name in the film is Sarah (or is that her name in the film within a film? Or is it the flashbacks of the actual massacre?); and a man-eating sand box in the auto mechanic shop.
But, by far the best part of the film? When the lead female character asks Philip McKeon, “Would you care to walk around with your schlong hanging out? Or in your case, your schlort.”