The startling U.S. debut of Dutch writer/director Rene Daalder, originally released in 1976, Massacre at Central High is a thriller about a high school transfer student who resorts to murder after being pushed too far by a trio of bullies. When it appears he has freed his fellow classmates from the rule of violent oppressors, the newfound power becomes too much and soon the bullied become the bullies.
For years, Massacre at Central High more or less slipped under the radar. With the exception of Robert Carradine, the cast consisted of actors you might recognize but not know by name. That, coupled with a title that suggests it might be your run-of-the-mill slasher rather than a smart commentary on the power and influence of violence, has resulted in an under-appreciated gem.
Not everyone overlooked the film, however. In an early ’80s episode of Sneak Previews, famed critic Roger Ebert listed Massacre at Central High as one of his guilty pleasures, praising it as “an intelligent and uncompromising allegory about the psychology of violence.” Ebert further elaborated on how the “well-crafted” film does an excellent job showcasing how the “student body is a breeding ground for fascism.” Nearly fifty years later, those themes present in the film are as relevant as ever.
The new release from Synapse features a high-definition 1080p remaster scanned, transferred and supervised by Daalder. The Blu-ray also contains a full course-load of special features including the brand-new documentary Hell in the Hallways: The Making of Massacre at Central High. Massacre at Central High stars Andrew Stevens, Derrel Maury, Kimberly Beck, Rainbeaux Smith, and Robert Carradine.