13 Goregirl-friendly School-themed Horror Films

It is back to school time! Back to pencils, back to books, back to teacher’s dirty looks! In honour of higher learning here are 13 school-themed horror films that’ll teach ya a lesson but good…

LA RESIDENCIA (1969)

Directed By: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador

La Residencia takes place in a French boarding school for troubled girls. Naughtiness is definitely of the PG variety but its beautiful Hammer-inspired sets and costumes and its wacky Gialloesque plot stole my heart. Despite the PG-ness La Residencia does have a few meaty scenes to admire. I absolutely loved La Residencia’s wackadoodle reveal! It has a great cast of horror regulars including Cristina Galbó, Maribel Martín, Mary Maude and especially Lilli Palmer who plays Headmistress Fourneau with such graceful severity.

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HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1983)

Directed By: Mark Rosman

The House on Sorority Row takes place in…you guessed it…a sorority house. Seven sorority sisters pull a prank on their house mother that goes terribly wrong. It isn’t long before the septet of sisters begins getting picked off one by one. A relatively typical slasher but I found the plot meatier, the filming more stylish, and the acting better than many of its peers. It does have some minor pacing issues and isn’t as graphic as others but worry not, there are a few gory surprises to discover and it has a great finale.

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STACY: ATTACK OF THE SCHOOLGIRL ZOMBIES (2001)

Directed By: Naoyuki Tomomatsu

Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies takes place everywhere. The school tie-in being simply the film is called Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies and there are copious Japanese schoolgirls aged 15 – 17 dressed in schoolgirl uniforms. Girls are experiencing a euphoric happiness before dying and becoming zombies. Experts call it “Near Death Happiness”. There is only one way to eliminate the deathly-adorable menace and that is a “repeat kill” which involves chopping her up into 160ish odd pieces! It is also a love story. A gory horror-comedy of the first order, but it also has a message. Seriously.

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NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)

Directed By: Fred Dekker

Night of the Creeps takes place in and around the campus of Corman University. A horror comedy that smooshes together the alien, slasher and zombie genres into one big delicious ball of entertaining! Alien slugs jumping from zombie heads…how can you not love that? The opening flashback scene is a brilliant beginning and there is plenty of action and laughs right up to the finale. The two leads played by Jason Lively and Steve Marshall are likable enough but the highlight here is the great Tom Atkins who gives a top notch performance as Detective Ray Cameron. Pledge week is a real bitch in this seriously fun campy classic from the 80s!

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TORSO (1973)

Directed By: Sergio Martino

Torso takes place on a college campus where two women and a man have been murdered; strangled to death by a black and red scarf. A female student recognizes the scarf and along with a group of friends becomes the target of the killer. Officially, a chunky section of the film takes place off campus in the beautiful Italian countryside. Visually Torso is a lovely polished film and is directed by one of my very favourite Giallo masters Sergio Martino. Torso has nudity, gore, a great soundtrack, a balaclava-wearing killer and an exciting and suspenseful finale.

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BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

Directed By: Bob Clark

Black Christmas takes place in a sorority house during Christmas vacation. The sorority sisters are disturbed by a series of creepy threatening phone calls which inevitably result in their deaths. Black Christmas is a well made suspenseful slasher that has some great moments of intensity and a bit of humour and commentary thrown in for good measure. I was especially impressed by the point of view shots of the killer from various cramped spaces. The performances are decent from a solid cast including Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon and Art Hindle. It wins extra points for being filmed in Canada!

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WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972)

Directed By: Massimo Dallamano

What Have You Done to Solange? takes place at St. Mary’s Catholic College for Girls. Gymnastics teacher Enrico Rosseni is having an affair with one of his students. The two are frolicking in a nearby park when they learn a student of the college has been murdered nearby. Soon other girls in the school are turning up dead and the frisky teacher is looking like a suspect. An intriguing puzzle and a well laid out plot that makes for a plausible and extremely satisfying reveal. What Have You Done to Solange? is visually pleasing and packed full of lost innocence and sexuality; it also has a fantastic soundtrack!

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SUICIDE CLUB (2001)

Directed By: Shion Sono

Suicide Club takes place in numerous locations that do include a high school. This is really a borderline choice for this list but I’m quite fond of this movie and it does begin with 54 Japanese schoolgirls joining hands and throwing themselves in front of a train! Suicide Club is full of commentary on popular culture, youth, family, love and suicide amoung other themes. Although the music makes me a bit nuts it is very clever how key plot elements are sung rather than spoken. It also has some great gore and some wonderfully strange and surreal moments.

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THE LOVES ONES (2009)

Directed By: Sean Byrne

The Loved Ones takes place at both the local high school and the home of Lola Stone. Lola is broken-hearted after Brent declines her invitation to the prom. Lola’s daddy makes everything right again by kidnapping Brent and bringing him back to their home for a prom night he will never forget. Lola is one of the most wonderfully eccentric and utterly mad female characters I’ve seen in a horror movie for a while. Brent is a very empathetic character and I rooted for his survival. I even enjoyed the gore-less subplot involving Brent’s best friend and his goth date. An all around entertaining flick that is well-executed, funny, gory and intense.

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PIECES (1982)

Directed By: Juan Piquer Simón

Pieces takes place on a college campus somewhere in Boston where women are being gruesomely murdered. Pieces is gory fun from its insane flashback opening scene right through to its nutty finale. It has a ton of unintentional laughs, a crazy plot and some spotty acting and it is absolutely one of my favourite 80s slashers! Just look at the gooey mess in the picture I included. It also has one of my very favourite bits of bad acting of all time which I also included for your enjoyment. Who is this lousy bastard and why does he keep a piece of each woman?!!

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CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (1986)

Directed By: Richard W. Haines & Lloyd Kaufman

Class of Nuke ‘Em High takes place at Tromaville High School, which is conveniently located next to a nuclear power plant. Needless to say nuclear nuttiness ensues! Classic Troma full of odd-ball characters, bodily fluids, off color humor and gratuitous gore. There is nigh a serious moment in Class of Nuke ‘Em High along with a ton of over-the-top shenanigans, bizarre twists, plenty o’action and one of the looniest endings ever. No one makes a film quite like Troma makes a film. If you are unfamiliar with Troma I recommend checking out their Wikipedia page here.

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SUSPIRIA (1977)

Directed By: Dario Argento

Suspira takes place in a prestigious dance academy in Freiburg Germany. The plot revolves around Suzy a new student at the academy. After a fainting spell Suzy, who had planned to live off campus with another student is involuntarily moved into a dormitory room. Peculiar incidents occur including murder most fowl and Suzy learns the school is run by a coven of witches. Suspiria without a doubt is one of the most beautifully and inventively filmed horror entries of all time. Not to mention its impressively staged death scenes, its excellent cast or its epic soundtrack. Suspiria is a bonafide masterpiece of the macabre.

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CARRIE (1976)

Directed By: Brian De Palma

Carrie takes place at Bates High School a week before prom. Carrie’s life is a living hell; she is abused at home by a fanatically religious mother and terrorized at school. Several students are caught mocking and taunting Carrie in the shower and are given a week’s long detention. One of the girls takes pity on Carrie and asks her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom. Meanwhile a cruel prank is being planned for Carrie’s special night. Carrie’s iconic prom massacre is simply the result of one young woman’s nightmarish existence. Well…that and some serious telekinetic powers! The films best asset is Sissy Spacek’s stellar performance in the titular role. And Piper Laurie kicks some serious bad ass as Carrie’s hideous mother. A great looking film with perfect atmosphere and beautifully executed scenes of intensity not to mention a top notch soundtrack.

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23 Responses to “13 Goregirl-friendly School-themed Horror Films”

  1. This is a great list, although I am ashamed to admit I’ve only seen about half of the selections! … looks like I am going to have to add a few of these to the collection. The original Prom Night is fun, and I believe I remember Cheerleader Camp being pretty cool too; oh, and the first Scream (even if a lot of horror fans hate it, I don’t know, haha).

    • I actually watched Cheerleader Camp again recently and had a good laugh at it, but I couldn’t put in on a list of anything I consider a favourite. I often forget about Scream, it gets buried in a sea of loathing I have for the 90s fare that followed of the Valentine and I know What You Did Last Summer variety. Scream is a fun movie…probably should have made the list.

      • Yeah, Cheerleader Camp’s one of those that’s just so delightfully bad that it’s good. I’ve always been a fan of the first Scream (not the sequels, however) as it really shows Craven’s ability to move with the times whilst not losing his aptitude for the intensity he’s known; the first scene, in fact, illustrates this quite well.

        Haha, the I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer I believe it’s called) is easily one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, it’s absolutely terrible in every way imaginable.

  2. Night of the Creeps is ONLY one of my favorite movies! I am so glad it made the cut!

    • I had this on VHS but never replaced it on DVD…I actually rented it from the library! I forgot how much fun it was! My friend Scott contributed an excellent review back in 2010 here.

  3. Nice collection. Black Christmas comes on television every so often but I have never watched it. Suicide Club is the best film on this list!!!

    You forgot Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl!

    • If I was a gambler I would have put money on that being your favourite of the list. Yeah, Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl would have been a good choice also…

  4. Rather coincidentally I recently bought a School Horror collection including Memento Mori, Wishing Stairs, Whispering Corridors and The Voice. Mostly K-horror and probably soft but I got a good bargain on it because it shot up in price by £20. I have kept hearing about these titles ever since venturing into Korean films so I’m kind of excited.

    • I’ve seen the Whispering Corridors trilogy…I believe I have a review for Memento Mori on this blog somewhere (I am just putting together an easily accessible archive list which is LONG past due). Was not a huge fan of the trilogy to be honest…it was okay.

  5. Oh man, Night of the Creeps is a total trip. I’m so glad to see it here. I’m really excited about seeing The Loved Ones, and it looks like it’s going to get a wider release soon. I’ve been hearing good stuff about it ever since it first came out.

    As usual, there are a lot of great recommendations here. I can’t even keep up with the recs I find in these articles.

    • Night of the Creeps is one of the best horror-comedies of the 80s…a real underappreciated classic! The Loved Ones is excellent…I am rather sorry I did a video review for this instead of a proper written review like it deserves.

      These lists are a bit of a cheat really; it is a way for me to yack about flicks I enjoyed without doing a full-on review. I admittedly watch far more horror films than I have time to review. For every film I see, there are 3 more added to the queue!

  6. Torso had some great suspense scenes that felt like, and probably infuenced, later US slasher films, Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc… It’s one of my fave films on this list! (Black Christmas and Carrie, too)

    • I think the 60s & 70s Italian stuff was a lot more influential than it is usually given credit for. I do occassionally see Bava’s Bay of Blood and Martino’s Torso cited as being an influence for the American slasher genre; but it’s rare.

  7. Fun list! I’ve seen 10 of the 13,and enjoy each of them. I have a special fondness for Night of the Creeps,Black Christmas,La Residencia,What Have You Done To Solange,Suspiria,Pieces,and Torso. I agree completely that the 1960’s and 70’s Italian films were very influential yet rarely get credit.

    • Thanks Conrad! I watched this 3 hour long BBC Doc not long ago hosted by Mark Gattis about the history of horror. It was actually pretty good…BUT…he makes only a single reference to an Italian horror film and that was Bava’s Black Sunday. They played a little clip of music from Suspiria going into a commercial and didn’t mention Argento or his beautiful film! I did watch it on YouTube but it didn’t appear to be missing a section. They really only covered US and UK films. By the way…I have some Italian stuff coming up!

  8. Great list! Torso is a favorite, and obviously Suspiria too. Have you seen Summer School? It’s a weird, nightmarish anthology from ’06, and IMO one of the best B-movies of the 00s.

    • I have never even heard of Summer School! “Weird” “Nightmarish”… I’m sold! I have A LOT of Films from the “2000s” still to explore.

  9. I’ve been wanting to see The Loved Ones since I first saw the trailer. Nice to see it on this list!

    • I’m not sure we see eye to eye on new horror but I freaking loved The Loved Ones! Could not recommend it more highly. Lola is an absolute scream!!

      • I’m always looking for good new horror, for me it’s been few and far between. What 5 or 10 would you suggest? I need some good stuff 🙂

        • I am probably the wrong person to ask that question of…I do not brave new films too often. I might be mistaken here, but I thought I had read an unfavourable review of The Woman on your site. The Woman has definitely been a favourite of the new batch of horror films without a doubt! I loved it and gave it a perfect score. Off the top of my head; Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, Calvaire, Troll Hunter, Long Pigs, Martyrs, The Skin I Live In and Antichrist are a few I’ve really enjoyed from the 2000s. I prefer the old stuff when it comes right down to it though.

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