STUDENT BODIES (1981) Reviews and overview

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student bodies

’13½ murders + 1423 laughs =’
Student Bodies is a 1981 American comedy horror film written and directed by Mickey Rose, with an uncredited Michael Ritchie co-directing.

A spoof of films such as Halloween, Friday 13th and Prom Night, Student Bodies was the first movie to satirise the thriving slasher film genre. A prominent feature of the film is a body count that is superimposed onscreen whenever a death occurs.


A killer named the Breather terrorises students at a high school. Whenever the killer finds students getting it on, he kills them. The Breather has some severe personality issues. such as his compulsion to make prank calls while talking through a rubber chicken…

student bodies 2

One of the film’s oddest aspects is a character called Malvert, a creepy-looking janitor (a familiar trope in slasher movies). Malvert mumbles does bizarre things like urinate into wastepaper baskets (“Malvert pee red!” being one the film’s more memorable lines), and moves about in a jerky fashion.


Malvert was played by a tall, double-jointed comedian known only as “The Stick,” who made no other films; his only other credit seems to be as a regular on the 1984 TV series Out Of Control. Several online reviews give the film itself a mixed reaction but praise The Stick’s performance. Some sources give The Stick’s real name as Patrick Boone Varnell, born in Corsicana, Texas on January 22, 1941. His death date is given as May 7, 1989, at aged 48.


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“I like to include Student Bodies in my special list of “movies that will make you laugh, whether you like it or not.” For anyone who grew up watching the slasher horror films of the late ’70s and early ’80s, this is a must-see.” DVD Verdict

“The inspiration does run dry about the hour mark, but the cheerfully farcical atmosphere ensures goodwill in the viewer, making this no classic, but one of the best of its kind nevertheless.” The Spinning Image

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Cast and characters:
Kristen Riter … Toby
Matthew Goldsby … Hardy (as Matt Goldsby)
Jerry Belson … The Breather (as Richard Brando)
Joe Flood … Mr Dumpkin
Joe Talarowski … Principal Peters
Mimi Weddell … Miss Mumsley
Carl Jacobs … Dr Sigmund
Peggy Cooper … Ms Van Dyke
Janice E. O’Malley … Nurse Krud
Kevin Mannis … Scott
Sara Eckhardt … Patti
Brian Batytis … Wheels
Cullen G. Chambers … Charles Ray
Joan Browning Jacobs … Mrs Hummers
Angela Bressler … Julie
Kay Ogden … Ms Leclair
Douglas Cotner … Mr Hummers
Charles L. Trotter … Announcer
Jonathan Walling … Al
Keith Singleton … Charlie
Dario O. Jones … Mawamba
Thomas D. Cannon II … Ralph
Oscar James … Football Coach
Robyn Flanery … Joan
Tammie M. Tignor … Dagmar
Anita Taylor … Bertha
Jack Armstrong … Joe
Brenda Maduzia … Punker
Dorothy Rich … Mrs Peters
Anne Bell … Teacher
Kathryn Reve Doster … Sue
Lauren Ritchie … Student
Janice Elaine Berridge … Student
The Stick … Malvert the Janitor
Zeno … Meowing Dog
Casine … Dog Chauffeur

Filming locations:
Houston and Katy, Texas

Technical details:
86 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1


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