Night School

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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Night School (1981, dir: Ken Hughes; script: Ruth Avergon; cast: Rachel Ward, Leonard Mann, Drew Snyder, Joseph R. Sicari, Nick Cairis, Karen MacDonald, Annette Miller, Bill McCann)





A young woman, Eleanor (Rachel Ward), works as a teaching assistant for Judd (Leonard Mann), an anthropology professor. Eleanor loves Judd. She's carrying his baby, and refuses to have an abortion.

Eleanor asks Judd to marry her. He fudges, and has affairs with other students.

Fortunately, Eleanor is knowledgeable about the New Guinea head hunting tribes she and Judd have studied, and she confronts her problem by taking inspiration from these noble savages...

Night School opens with our heroine, dressed in a black leather motorcycle suit approaching one of these young hussies and HACKING off her head!

Later, when Judd smiles at this dead hussy's roommate, Eleanor HACKS off her head!

Then Judd flirts with a not-too-attractive waitress. He didn't mean anything by it, and the waitress is obviously disgusted with him. Still, just to be on the safe side, Eleanor HACKS off her head!

When Judd dumps yet another student he was sleeping with, the lesbian college Dean threatens to fire Judd for seducing students. Then the Dean hypocritically takes advantage of this student's confused state of mind to seduce her. What the hey, Eleanor HACKS off both their heads!

Arriving home, Eleanor explains her actions to Judd, stating "the family unit is sacred, and I will kill anyone who threatens that sanctity. How can you call our society civilized when it doesn't allow a woman to protect herself and those she loves?" Then, ever the dutiful mate, she adds, "You must be hungry. I'll fix you something to eat."

This is what makes Night School thematically interesting. Eleanor is espousing pagan family values. She is challenging Western civilization from perspective that is simultaneously pagan, conservative, and feminist.


Curiously, Night School depicts the Christian West as liberal and modernist, in contrast to the conservative family values of the Third World. Eleanor departs in the middle of a Christian service, and she practices head-hunting cleansing rituals to rid her victims of their evil spiritual force (e.g., she dumps their heads in water).

* See a cook pull the waitress's hair out of a tin of beef soup!

* See a head float through a giant fish tank!

* See the lesbian Dean's head in a toilet!

Still, you gotta love a gal who HACKS a couple of people every night, and still finds time to cook for her family. This is a moving film, a teaching aid to inspire young mothers by Eleanor's uncompromising idealism. And men will enjoy her nude shower scenes!

Just how idealistic is this gal? You decide as you watch the body count mount!



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