Horror High – USA, 1974 – reviews

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Horror High is a 1973 [released 1974] American horror feature film directed by Larry N. Stouffer (assistant director on Keep My Grave Open) from a screenplay by J.D. Feigelson as ‘Jack Fowler’ (Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Cry for the Strangers, Chiller).


The film is also known as Kiss the Teacher… Goodbye! and Twisted BrainThe off-kilter musical score by Don Hulette is distinctive. It was distributed by Crown International PicturesReturn to Horror High (1987) has no connection and is not a sequel.

The movie stars Pat Cardi, Austin Stoker (Abby, Assault on Precinct 13Uninvited), Rosie Holotik (Encounter with the Unknown, Don’t Look in the Basement), John Niland, and Jeff Alexander (Zontar: The Thing from VenusCurse of the Swamp Creature and The House of Seven Corpses).

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The gore is passable if rudimentary, but plentiful and in some instances, brutal and shocking […] In addition, the film frequently features odd camera angles and unusual lighting for added spooky effect.” Cool Ass Cinema

“Some of the reasons for its anonymity could be warranted: it isn’t particularly well-acted, and there’s some sag even at 85 minutes. But – and I can’t stress this enough – that’s never stopped us before from enjoying a film, has it? Especially one that features some really creative kills, plus Austin Stoker (Assault on Precinct 13) as the cop on the case.” Daily Dead

08 vernon mirror

” … an odd mix of intended camp and borderline disturbing displays, Horror High is practically mesmerising and essential 1970s drive-in horror. The overall acting is pretty bad (it’s fun to watch non-actor Niland as the bullish coach and decipher whether he’s plain awful or naturally brilliant) except for former child-star Cardi (who holds the film up quite well and ads pathos to the character) and the always great Stoker…” DVD Drive-In

“If not a lost masterpiece, Horror High delivers enough sleaze, violence and sensitive science geek meanderings to make for an enjoyable watch. It probably helps if you’re predisposed to like low budget seventies cheapies, but even looking at it objectively with that factor removed from the equation, it’s hard to imagine anyone not at least appreciating the entertainment factor…” DVD Talk


“Make no mistake, Horror High is total 70s doom. The music score is an eerie prog-rock sounding thing; it’s more Alice Cooper than Goblin, and it’s not nearly as prevalent as it should have been in the finished product. There’s even a spooky, folky ballad theme song, a hallmark of the 70s Doom genre!” Groovy Doom

“Though it’s kind of a monster movie, it really ought to be considered more of a proto-slasher due to the way Vernon dispatches of his victims. Not only is it fairly graphic for the era, but it’s also quite creative in its use of various implements of death, such as paper cutter blades and sulphuric acid (which is housed in a huge barrel right in the middle of a classroom!).” Oh, the Horror!

” …foreshadows Harry Kaufman’s The Toxic Avenger (1984) in many important ways such as: featuring a bullied nerd gets who superpowers (like hairy forearms) and then runs murderously amok plus, just like many Troma features, this movie was made on a shoe-string budget but was able to engineer some gory and realistic practical effects such as face-melting.” Sleaze Blender 


Buy DVD: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Cast and characters:

  • Pat Cardi … Vernon Potts
  • Austin Stoker … Lieutenant Bozeman
  • Rosie Holotik … Robin Jones
  • John Niland … Coach McCall
  • Joye Hash … Miss Grindstaff (as Joy Hash)
  • Jeff Alexander … Mr Griggs
  • Mike McHenry … Roger Davis
  • Nick Felix … Mr Henshaw
  • Michelle Falerne … Girl-Student
  • Laura Williamson … Nurse
  • Charles Mann … School Principal
  • Abner Haynes … Assistant Coach
  • Steve Kidwell … Assistant Coach
  • Campbell Thomas … Narrator
  • Chuck Beatty … Policeman
  • Calvin Hill … Policeman
  • D.D. Lewis … Policeman
  • Joe Greene … Coach’s Buddy / Policeman
  • Craig Morton … Policeman
  • Robert R. Reedy … Policeman
  • Bill Truax … Policeman

Filming locations:


Also released as: 

Cérebro Diabólico
L’ange merrier (France)
Horror gimi (Hungary)
Die Teufelsbestie (Germany)

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7 Comments on “Horror High – USA, 1974 – reviews”

  1. Interesting and disturbing little known early 70’s horror film that everyone can relate to: the nerd who discovers a secret serum and becomes a hideous and hulking maniac to reek revenge on the bullies who tormented him. It’s available in a number of 50 film Multi-Packs by Mill Creek Entertainment, but alas, not the best of prints. Pat Cardi later became one of the principal founders of MovieFone. Definitely worth a look if you can find it.

  2. I remember seeing it in the theater when I was 17. It was fairly well known locally (north Texas area) because a few of the Dallas Cowboys at the time were in it, including John Niland as the coach.

  3. Saw It last nite. It was majestic…the reviews do not do it justice. The camera angles and scary FX make it worth watching it. It is ahead of its time and the storyline does not note you to death like some other schlock movies of the 1970s. The soundtrack is really dark and scary and “Vernon’s Theme” is a cool ballad to be remembered. Overall, 10/10 kudos.

  4. Something else worth noting which the author of this review failed to acknowledge; The theme of this flick sort of prefigures later movies like Christine and Revenge of the Nerds.

  5. Saw this one when I was 5 or 6 (Television showing). Didn’t see it again till I purchased the DVD. Amazed at how much I remembered it. I so miss movies like this.

    1. Same situation as David Fullam, I saw this movie when I was a little kid, and have been looking for it for over 35 years! When I saw it again, I was surprised at how well the movie still holds up, and how much I remembered. This is the perfect classic example of a 70s B horror movie, it is absolutely great!

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