HORROR HIGH (1973) Reviews and overview



Horror High is a 1973 American film directed by Larry N. Stouffer (assistant director on Keep My Grave Open) from a screenplay written 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 Pictures.

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).


“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 @ss 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

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” … 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

“I’ll give the movie a little credit for coming up with one surprise; there’s a character moment where we discover that the process of killing off his tormentors is actually making him less shy and more confident, a character touch that is actually sadly disturbing in its insight. This goes to show that in even something this routine…” Fantastic Movie Musing and Ramblings

“There are nuances struggling to get to the surface, but it’s difficult to say if they come from the filmmakers or if they’re inherent in Stevenson’s original story. Perhaps it’s a little of both. Is it a great horror movie? No. But it’s not the worst, and it does have a bit more going on under the surface than some. The problem is it’s just not quite enough.” The Gentlemen’s Blog to Midnite Cinema


“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 

Horror High is buoyed by an earnestness that pays homage nicely to the low-budget teen wolf fare of the 1950s. In the pivotal lead role, Pat Cardi conveys just the appropriate mix of nerdy bewilderment and brooding menace. He’s sympathetic without being cloying or pathetic […] There are some surprisingly fine special effects…” The Terror Trap


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Cast and characters:
Pat Cardi … Vernon Potts
Austin Stoker … Lieutenant Bozeman
Rosie Holotik … Robin Jones
John Niland … Coach McCall
Joye Hash … Miss Grindstaff
Jeff Alexander … Mr Griggs
Mike McHenry … Roger Davis
Nick Felix … Mr Henshaw
Michelle Falerne … Female 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:

Theatrical release:

Horror High premiered in Irving, Texas, on September 20, 1973.

Also released as: 
Cérebro Diabólico (Brazil)
L’ange merrier (France)
Horror gimi (Hungary)
Die Teufelsbestie (Germany)

Fun facts:

Return to Horror High (1987) has no connection and is not a sequel.


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