The middle of September is not historically a time of the year in which movies with lasting resonance are released. The year 1976 was different. A film was officially released in the middle of September that did not become a big hit at the time nor became a big hit thanks to the magic of HBO, VHS and DVD. Nevertheless, that movie has informed much of the American consciousness in a way that few other film released in the middle of September have since.
"Massacre at Central High" is deserving of a remake not because the original did not get the job done. The original more than got the job done. But it remains hidden among the jetsam and flotsam of genuinely remarkably filmmaking in a way that "Peeping Tom" did for several decades until it was brought to the attention of the mainstream courtesy of Martin Scorsese and other big fans whose work was heavily influenced by that forgotten masterpiece.
Is "Massacre at Central High" in the same league as "Peeping Tom"? Probably not. Not as an example of the art of cinema. But "Massacre at Central High" foretold the real life massacre at Columbine High and a clearly significant influence on the making of the far better known, but exceptionally less profound "Heathers." What "Massacre at Central High" is not is the slasher film its title would naturally lead you to suspect it is. What "Massacre at Central High" is is a film that examines the nature of oppression from extremes of the Right and Left as the titular high school becomes a metaphorical location for tension and contradictions that exist between intellectuals, the proletariat, the bourgeois and the mass of students leading lives of internal tension and contradiction.
Mr. Romney's recent posturing against entitlement while living a life that entitles him to take tax cuts by shunting his monied holdings offshore brings to mind the bullying of the haves against the have-nots that results in Central High's microcosmic existence becoming the epicenter of an ideological massacre. Find it, Watch it, Understand it. And, if you have what it takes, remake it in a way that fills all the minor holes in your enjoyment caused by the budgetary lapse that, not coincidentally, speaks directly to the message of the film.
- Arts & Entertainment