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Review: Girls School Screamers (1986)

Girls School Screamers is nowhere as good as the various posters (funny that for a DTV 80s horror jam). The Vinegar Syndrome disc has 3 different options and while they technically show imagery from the film, they are selling something different from what we get. This is especially unsurprising when you find out it was originally called The Portrait and was clearly aiming for a more meditative haunted school vibe until Lloyd Kayfman and TROMA got their hands on it, changing the title and adding some flashy gore.

But despite the fact it’s pulling in two different directions, GSS is surprisingly well made (weird editing choices aside) with a likeable cast who are clearly having fun. The weird but welcome pivot from haunted school flick to slasher in the last stretch that picks things up but its too little too late.

It’s very slow moving for an 80s horror romp but it does have some cool moments, a good score and a disturbing plot point that the Italians would be proud of. In fact it feels a lot like an 80s Italian film that does that classic ‘rip off three different popular films’ thing.

I think if it had kept The Portrait as a title and had been marketed as a ghost story, it could’ve ended up as a surprising cult classic. Instead it’s relegated to the ‘it’s okay but not as good as the cover art’ pile, like many films of that time.

3.5 wormy severed hands out of 5

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