Night School (or as it was known in the United Kingdom Terror Eyes) is a 1981 American slasher film that was directed by Ken Hughes and features Rachel Ward in her feature film debut. The story centers around a series of gruesome decapitation murders that targeted mostly college coeds in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The film was originally set to be directed by Alfred Sole, but he ended up passing on the project. Then Hughes was ultimately brought in to direct and Night School was his final film. The films musical score was composed by Brad Fiedel.
Making its initial premier at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in 1981, it was later released theatrically in the United States on September 11, 1981. It was heavily denounced by film critics upon its release, and in England became a video nasty. Since its released, it has developed a small cult following among slasher fans, and in 2011, it was given its first DVD release by Warner Archive with a remastered transfer.
According to the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Night School has an overall audience score of 22% with an average rating of 2.7 out of 5.
The Film Itself (3/5):
It had been quite some time since I had last seen Night School, but I do remember it vaguely from my teenage years. While the film itself isn’t necessarily the greatest of its genre, it’s definitely not one of the worst. The overall gore aspect of the film is very minimal, which is great for those who aren’t as desensitized as others. The story that we’re given with this movie is one that starts off really well with its solid foundation, and is kept up really nicely as the movie moves onward. While my wife and I watched it last night, we didn’t really see anything fall flat on its face in terms of storyline, however she was able to predict the identity of the killer before they revealed themselves.
Picture Quality (4.5/5):
Personally speaking, I’ve always been rather impressed by the visual experience that Warner Archive puts into their Blu-ray releases. And Night School is no exception to that. Offering an all new restored look into the lives of those involved, as the seemingly unknown killer goes after his victims one by one. The overall visual experience of this film was a lot cleaner than the earlier releases of this film, however as a result of the original source material, the folks over at Warner Archive were able to allow for this new release to maintain that overall sense of originality that the earlier releases had. There isn’t any issues, from what I could see, with the increase in resolution ruining the movie and with their work at keeping that feeling that was provided to audiences of the early 80s is most certainly appreciated.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 audio track, Night School not only offers an all new audible experience for those who are watching this Blu-ray release, but making sure to make every effort to retain the original feel that audiences experienced over thirty years ago. Making sure to keep the overall experience itself clean and clear, allowing those watching to be able to hear everything as the story progresses without having to manually adjust the volume levels on their receiver is a nice aspect to this release.
The Packaging (3/5):
Night School comes packaged in your standard single disc Blu-ray amaray case. Within that case is the standard Blu-ray copy of the film. The disc does feature a piece of artwork that is relative to the film and slightly differs from that of the case art. There is no DVD copy of the film included, nor are there any digital copy redemption pamphlets. There is no slipcover available for this release.
Special Features (1/5):
Much like any other release from Warner Archive, Night School is considerably barebones when it comes to additional content. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that explores the making or the work that went into making this film, nor are there any pieces that allow for a further exploration into the characters of the film. There is the theatrical trailer for the movie that is included on the disc though.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC (32.00 Mbps)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Original Film: 89 minutes
Overall, I’m really happy to see that Night School is now available for purchase on Blu-ray. It had been many years since I’d last seen it, and the option to revisit it in higher definition really is a great option. The story of the film, while it’s not necessarily the best, it’s really not bad at all. There are definitely worse films out there that lie within this genre. But, that all aside, the visual and audible presentation of this Blu-ray release was nicely done. Offering a cleaner, yet retaining that original feeling that it had from years ago; you can definitely tell that the people over at Warner Archive put in a good amount of work into this release. Unfortunately, just like other Warner Archive releases, there isn’t much of anything that’s available in terms of additional content. Audiences are able to see the films original theatrical trailer. If you’re like myself, and had seen this film during your youth, I’d definitely recommend picking it up. But, only if you enjoyed it then because, while it isn’t the greatest, it definitely has held up over the years.
As a side note, I should note that my Samsung UBD-K8500 player that’s in my living room did have issues reading the disc. Most, if not all, Warner Archive releases are “made on demand” and this could be a result of their pressing routines. Despite the issues that this player ran into, we were able to watch it with my XBOX One without any issues whatsoever.