Pandemonium – Blu-ray review
Director: Alfred Sole
Stars: Tom Smothers, Carol Kane, Tammy Alverson
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
The 1980s were not only a golden time for horror movies in general, but for slasher movies in particular. In the early 80s hardly a weekend went by without a new slasher in the theaters. So great was the glut that they gave birth to a surprising amount of horror spoofs. There was the somewhat well-known Student Bodies and Saturday the 14th from 1981, National Lampoon’s Class Reunion from 1982 along with the lesser known Wacko, the even more obscure Hysterical from 1983, and this one, also from ’82. And the lack of knowledge of this one is surprising, considering the number of stars it has in it, such as Tom Smothers, Carol Kane, Eileen Brennan, David L. Lander, Phil Hartman, Judge Reinhold, Paul (Pee Wee Herman) Reubens, and more. Yet today when you ask most horror fans if they’ve seen Pandemonium, you usually get only blank stares. So three cheers, then, to Vinegar Syndrome for bringing out this forgot funny fright flick, but is it worth remembering today?
A shy girl with psychic powers (a la Carrie) goes to a cursed cheerleader camp where, years earlier, a mass murder of cheerleaders happened. She is joined by a small group of horror clichés, such as the popular girl, the hot girl, the shy guy, a couple of bros, etc. Naturally a homicidal maniac breaks out of the nearby asylum, not to mention a mass murderer breaks out of prison, and both of them are heading straight to the school. Thankfully a nearby Canadian Mountie (despite this taking place in the U.S.) is there to save the day. Hopefully…
Now the movie is nearly 40 years old, so yeah, some of the humor comes off dated and is less than funny now as it was back in the early 80s. However, the more well-versed you are as a horror fan, the more jokes you’ll get, as fright flicks and the tropes they use are often the butt of the jokes here. As such, most of the funny still plays, at least it does for me, but then I’m old, so your mileage may vary.
On to the extras that Vinegar Syndrome gave us for this Blu-ray release. There is an interview with director Alfred Sole that was very informative for a movie with so little information about it. There is a still gallery and…that’s it. So it’s a bit light on goodies, but the fact that it has any at all is surprising for such a forgotten film. The fact that it’s out at all on Blu-ray is a special feature all its own.
If you are a fan of Airplane-like spoofs that deal with early 80s horror movies (and how could you not be?) then you will dig this throwback flick. It deserves to be far more well-known then it is, so help spread the word and pick this up on Blu-ray when it comes out September 29th. Consider it recommended.