The 1980s Comedy Slasher Way Better Than Scary Movie, Stream Now With No Netflix Subscription

By Brian Myers | Updated

The late 1970s and early 80s experienced an influx of slasher horror films that vaulted into the mainstream from the massive successes of John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween. While Michael Myers certainly wasn’t the first slasher on the big screen, he was the first one to become a staple of mainstream audiences. Where success exists, there will be an inevitable run of copycats and, like the film Student Bodies, the occasional spoof.

Arrived During An Upswing In Horror

When Student Bodies was produced, horror fans had already been subjected to two different Friday the 13th installments, 1980’s Prom Night, and was gearing up for Halloween 2. Over the previous five years, moviegoers were showing studios that they had more than just a taste for horror. The Shining, Carrie, and The Amityville Horror helped to propel the genre, laying the footwork for the next decade being oversaturated.

20 Years Before Scary Movie

Where Student Bodies is unique is in its direct approach to being a parody film. Horror comedies weren’t out of the norm, as Young Frankenstein, Love at First Bite, and many others in the same vein were produced in the 70s. But an actual horror parody was a concept that the brains behind Student Bodies were able to pull off several years before Return of the Living Dead hit the screen and two decades before the popular Scary Movie film or any of its sequels were released.

Bizarre Characters In Familiar Situations

Student Bodies takes several horror tropes and exposes their laughability. The film follows a killer known as “The Breather,” who watches, stalks, and kills college students for having sex. The “creepy janitor” is a suspect, the “this was all just a dream” trope was employed, and countless nods to previous horror films were written into the script and visible on the set. The situations the characters find themselves in are perfect mockeries of Halloween, Black Christmas, When a Stranger Calls, Carnival of Souls, and more.

There’s One Name You’ll Recognize

Student Bodies was filmed with a cast of unknown actors, most of whom never appeared on screen again. One exception was the voice behind “The Breather,” who was comedian/actor Richard Belzer. Lead actor Cullin Chambers also experienced some moderate successes after the 1981 film, earning some screen credits for small parts and as a body double for Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker.

Breaks The Fourth Wall

Student Bodies broke down the fourth wall with a hilarious cutaway at the 26-minute mark. At this point, there is a break in the action, and the camera shows a man seated behind a desk. After explaining that the MPAA won’t give an “R” rating without sex, profanity, or violence, he tells the viewers that the producers have asked him to say “F*** you,” prompting the MPAA rating of “R” popping onto the screen for a few moments before the horror parody continues.

An Overlooked Parody That Still Somehow Works Today


As a parody film, Student Bodies hits the mark. Of course, there would be bigger production parodies, shot on giant budgets and full of familiar faces. But without this obscure 1981 pioneering concept, the world of horror parodies would look starkly different. The acting is abysmal, and the script is absolutely absurd, but the tongue-in-cheek approach and the style it implemented to mock popular horror films make it worthy of watching.

You can stream Student Bodies on Pluto.