Plot: What’s it about?
Andrew Norris (Perry King) became a teacher so he could help young people and now, he has the chance to help the worst of the worst. He has taken a position at Lincoln High, where violence is the norm and the students, not the teachers, run the school. He quickly discovers that most of his students have no desire to learn and the man he is replacing, is rumored to have suffered an “accidental” fall down a flight of stairs. A few of his pupils do seem willing to learn however, so he tries to teach, only to be foiled at every turn by the school’s derelicts. He refuses to be pushed around though, staging a musical and continuing to try to teach. But when some of the school’s worst students take offense at his gestures, will Norris be the next one to need a substitute?
Now this is how you “reimagine” a movie, take a classic like The Blackboard Jungle, then turn it punk and soak it in the 1980s. Class of 1984 is a lot of fun if you like the 80s and punk cultures, but this is not all out schlock, which is a shame. Instead, the filmmakers try to have a genuine storyline about a teacher who cares about his students, even the ones who wish to murder him. This is tired and cliched, I’d rather see all out violence, sex, and drug abuse than this. In other words, more Clockwork Orange and less Dangerous Minds. But there is ample violence and mayhem, though more would have been welcome. Roddy McDowall is fun to watch here, while you can also see a young Michael J. Fox on showcase. Anchor Bay’s disc is well handled, with some good extras, so by all means, check out Class of 1984.
Video: How does it look?
Class of 1984 is presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen. While not as impressive as some of Anchor Bay’s 1980s cult cinema treatments, the visuals here look solid all around. As usual for a low budget film from the 80s, you will see grain and some color issues, but overall, the movie looks good. The colors aren’t up to snuff, a little on the dull side, but contrast is on the mark. The grain is thick on the title sequence, but clears up a lot after that point. So while this transfer isn’t an eye opener and suffers from some 80s woes, this is still a good looking overall treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option tries to provide the most active soundtrack possible, but you can only get so much blood from a stone. This is due to the limitations of the original sound design, which hold back the audio in some respects. The depth is rather basic and outside of the musical soundtrack, there isn’t much presence to mention. That is fine however, as the movie still sounds good and doesn’t need a ton of power in order to function as intended. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Mark Lester provides an audio commentary track and while decent, the session lacks the depth or stories I had expected. The featurette included is titled Blood and Blackboards, a piece that more than delivers and makes up the rather unremarkable commentary track. The duration is just over half an hour and a lot of ground is covered, so you will learn a lot about this production. This disc also includes posters & still photo galleries, two tv spots, and the film’s trailer.