HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sputnik
Seducao da Carne
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Giraffe
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
   
 
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
   
 
  Rock 'n' Roll High School Gabba Gabba Hey
Year: 1979
Director: Allan Arkush
Stars: P.J. Soles, Vincent Van Patten, Dey Young, Mary Woronov, Clint Howard, Paul Bartel, Alix Elias, Loren Lester, Daniel Davies, Dick Miller, Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Marky Ramone, Don Steele, Grady Sutton
Genre: Musical, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The pupils of Vince Lombardi High School have trouble on their hands when the new principal arrives. Miss Togar (Mary Woronov) is as strict as she is anti-rock 'n' roll, and sees the relentlessly fun-loving Riff Randall (P.J. Soles) as her greatest rival. All Riff cares about is the Ramones, the punk band from New York City, and she's determined to get to see their next concert when they're in town - will the conniving Miss Togar stop her and the rest of her classmates? She's going to do her very best... or worst.

Was there ever a more perfect marriage of music and film than the Ramones and Rock 'n' Roll High School? Well, maybe - a Roger Corman production originally conceived as a vehicle for Todd Rundgren (imagine!), then considered for various others (such as Devo), this exuberant, daft comedy, written by Richard Whitley, Russ Dvonch and Joseph McBride, is the equivalent of those A.I.P. Beach Party movies of the sixties, with its good natured humour, plentiful breaks for music, and overage teenagers versus adults storyline which sees the pupils take their revenge on the teachers for all that homework they hand out.

As played by the sunny P.J. Soles (fresh from the worldwide success of Halloween where she essayed a victim role), Riff is a walking exercise in obsession, and nothing will get between her and her favourite band. She's even written a song for them (just the one, the title track), and is determined to get it to them so they can perform it. Which they do, because it's that kind of film, but only after a selection of obstacles for our heroine to overcome, including her new enemy, a sort of anti-Riff who is actually a thinly-veiled groupie. Meanwhile, Riff's best friend Kate (Dey Young) is more bookish, and wants a date with the socially inept captain of the football team, Tom (Vincent Van Patten).

It's fair to say that the first half of the film is the funniest, but it balances out because the second half has most of the good music once we reach the concert, significantly one of the better such sequences committed to film in the field of the rock movie. We're treated to witnessing the effects rock 'n' roll music has on mice (it either makes them explode or has their mothers worrying about them), Riff's escalating excuses for missing school to stand in line for concert tickets ("My goldfish died"), and the school's fixer-upper (Clint Howard) demonstrating how to go on a date (with the help of a blow up doll). Well worth waiting for there is that concert itself, which is great, and you can sing along with "Teenage Lobotomy" if you wish - the lyrics are printed on the bottom of the screen.

Perhaps the teachers should have been made more menacing - it's a lot of fun to see Woronov being authoritarian, but she's not nasty enough for a punk rock yarn - look at Derek Jarman's Jubilee or Julien Temple's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle to contrast how the movement was approached on either side of the Pond (though oddly both Jarman and Arkush used Brian Eno music). This was far more cartoonish in execution, and all the funnier for it; we never see the parents except as an anonymous crowd near the end but Paul Bartel's music teacher becomes a diehard convert after seeing Joey and the boys live! But I suppose burning Ramones records would indeed be the last straw for most right-thinking people, hence the explosive finale. The high spirits are catching, and if you don't agree with that school-threatening act of destruction, at least you can sympathise with the sentiment, one which saw the following decade pit the rockers against the establishment like never before: this looks positively friendly in comparison with what rock was accused of later. Not sure what Paul McCartney and Fleetwood Mac are doing on the soundtrack, mind you.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7873 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Allan Arkush  (1948 - )

American television director who got his break working on films for Roger Corman: Hollywood Boulevard (co-directed with Joe Dante), Deathsport and Rock 'n' Roll High School. During the eighties he moved into TV, but directed a few features: Heartbeeps, Get Crazy and Caddyshack II.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: