Comfortable and Furious

Demolition High

Written and Directed by Jim Wynorski

– Corey Haim as Lenny Slater
– Alan Thicke as Chief Slater
– Jeff Kober as Luther
– Ugly Minorities as the Terrorists

Mike von Hobart goes low…

For the record, I have not seen and suffered through as many shithouse classics as Matt Cale, nor have I ventured as far out on the decrepit limb of bad cinema as Jonny, but I can say with certainty that neither Matt nor Jonny have experienced Demolition High — the worst movie I have ever had the misfortune of being too hung over to turn off. Yet, despite my unending disappointment, I was compelled to watch for nothing more than the chance to see the unforgivably washed-up Corey Haim dispatch terrorists with homemade weapons and kung fu.

The years haven’t been kind to Haim. Like most child actors from the 80s, Hollywood chewed him up and spat him out faster than a can of Skoal at a rodeo. When the baby-face wore off and the casting calls stopped, he quickly turned from teen heartthrob to drug-addled degenerate; unemployed and bankrupt. How he found the money or will to not only star in, but co-produce Demolition High, is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he sold enough of his crank-blackened molars on eBay to finance the project.

I’d like you to imagine, if you would, a twenty-nine year old, pudgy, and out-of-shape Corey Haim playing Lenny Slater, high school loner and ruffian, the kind of non-conformist kid that everyone picks on. Lenny may be unpopular at Mayfield High, but when a band of nuclear terrorists take over the school [Ed Note: What?], he rises from the pit of adolescent scorn and single-handedly murders each and every one of them with makeshift weapons and utterly reprehensible acting. Honestly, I have never laughed, nor cried, as fervently as I did watching Corey Haim run through hallways in a sleeveless flannel shirt, sending heavily armed “terrorists” to their doom.

To make a long and awful story short, the terrorists are bent on launching a stolen missile at the Mayfield nuclear power plant. They set up shop in the school auditorium where they kill the principle and keep the students hostage, all the while negotiating with the bungling FBI and the Mayfield police chief (Alan Thicke), who happens to be Lenny’s father. The plot is so asinine, so full of holes and pointless, that it’s really not worth getting into beyond that. The acting is fucking atrocious and the dialogue is stiffer than Jonny after a Jennifer Connolly flick. The real treat is when we get to see Lenny dispatch the terrorists, 80s Action style!

As time passes, Lenny must devise new and creative ways to eliminate the terrorists. In one scene, he uses a cigarette to blow up the Biology lab and burn one of the terrorists alive. In another, he dumps oil all over the woodshop floor and waits behind a table in the center of the room, wielding a circular power saw. A lone terrorist hears the noise and charges in, slips on the oil, and conveniently slides head first into the saw, spraying brain matter on the walls. In what was probably the most absurd Novelty Death, Lenny packs a fire extinguisher full of craft pens and fires it at the lead female terrorist who, by the way, spends the entire movie walking around with saddlebags so heavy I half expected her to start mule-kicking hostages to death.

However, all of this is overshadowed by Lenny’s climactic fight with Luther, the ringleader. Haim attacks with a flurry of the most lethargic and clumsy kung fu I’ve ever seen; truly hysterical. Haim throws lazy roundhouse kicks and karate chops as if he were under water. Ultimately, he crescent-kicks Luther out of a third story window and disables the gadget that controls the missile, saving Mayfield from nuclear obliteration.

It doesn’t get any worse than this, folks. Demolition High is painfully, disgracefully bad. Yet, despite its ultra low budget B-class status, it does provide frequent and memorable Horghs. I mean, it’s Corey Haim for fuck’s sake, shooting automatic weapons to boot! Haim apparently made a sequel to this movie, aptly called Demolition University, which could very well be worse, although I can’t imagine how. Cale, you up for it?