Class Reunion Massacre (1978) Review

Class Reunion Massacre is one odd duck. Featuring a man with two thumbs on one hand, a kid who apparently lives in a lake and a life size marionette who carries a blow torch, you’ll be hard pressed to find a film like this in today’s horror world.

Originally titled The Redeemer: Son of Satan, this film contains two separate stories. The main story, taking up the bulk of the running time, holds the not-very-unique premise of six old high school chums meeting up at their old school under the guise there is a reunion taking place. Guess what? It’s all been a clever rouse to get these folks in one place so “The Redeemer” can punish them for their sins. Class Reunion Massacre might have just become just another low-budget (albeit competently made), slasher, but the story that bookends the main plot is something of a mystery itself.

In the beginning we see a boy come out of a lake (fully clothed!) and head to the nearest church. It is here that he bestows a second thumb onto a fire and brimstone priest while he sleeps. Later, some choir kids taunt the boy as we hear the priest’s god-fearing speech about the seven deadly sins. While he lets us know that a woman shall not lay with another woman and debauchery is bad, we’re given a glimpse into the world of the victims-to-be (yup, each
one represents a sin – You’re following this well). In a flashforward, our killer arrives at the school, murders the janitor and makes a mask of his face. Why? Well, that’s probably somewhere on the list of endless questions you’re bound to have while watching.

Class Reunion Massacre is a difficult movie to classify. Made by first-time filmmakers starring first-time actors, quite a bit of it falls flat on its face. But an unrelenting sense of doom permeates the film from beginning to end, enhancing it greatly. There are some effective deaths including a really creepy scene involving the life size arionette and our killer overacting his way through a grizzly version of Phantom of the Opera. Not so surprisingly, Jeanetta Arnette was the only actor able to eke out a film career for themselves. She’s good in her part as the requisite floozy and has since proved her worth in Hollywood (most notably in the haunting Boys Don’t Cry).

In the end, what doesn’t come up short really works and ultimately makes the film something horror fans should check out. Class Reunion Massacre probably won’t become your favorite horror film, but it may give you a few goosebumps. And it’s guaranteed to leave the viewer with a gaggle of questions to discuss in their favorite webgroups. Recommended for fans of the genre looking for something different.

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