There was a period of time in high school when part of my
daily routine was to come home from school and immediately watch The Breakfast Club. Only after watching
that movie could I deal with homework or conversations with my parents. I
suppose we all go through a period like that. I would guess the creators of Bad Kids Go To Hell might have gone through such a phase.
Bad Kids Go To Hell
is a strange sort of horror film that takes the premise of The Breakfast Club and twists it into its own odd shapes. It opens
with the police busting into a school, and surrounding a kid who’s holding a
bloody axe, just as a headless body collapses behind him. It then cuts to eight
hours earlier, and the events that lead to this scene.
It is a Saturday, and there are five names on the list of
those serving detention, just as in The
Breakfast Club. However, three are girls, and two are boys, which is the
opposite of The Breakfast Club. Matt
Clark (Cameron Deane Stewart) is not on the list, but shows up to offer to do
detention in the hope that that might keep him from being expelled. “I’m
here because I want to make things right,” he tells Dr. Day (Jeffrey
As in The Breakfast
Club, we see each of the kids being dropped off by parents or arriving on
their own. Tricia (Ali Faulkner) is the princess character; Craig (Roger
Edwards) is the jock; Veronica (Augie Duke) is the Judd Nelson character,
arriving on her own and walking in front of a car; Megan (Amanda Alch) is…well,
I guess the Ally Sheedy character; and Tarek (Marc Donato) is the Anthony
Michael Hall character. During the character introductions we get voice
over of Dr. Day talking to Max (Ben Browder), the janitor, about teenagers.
He says, “Honestly, Max, it’s a miracle
they don’t all kill each other.”
They have detention in the library, in a room set up in a
similar fashion to that in The Breakfast
Club (with the two levels). But with a crazy snake sculpture. As in The Breakfast Club, the kids are
assigned an essay to write while serving detention. The topic is the history of
Crestview Academy. Dr. Day confiscates their cell phones and tells them the
doors will be locked until after lunch (and yes, he has them use the bathrooms
first). By the way, his mug says,
“Everyone’s A Complete Disappointment.” Perfect.
Tricia right away makes a speech, basically saying this
is not The Breakfast Club: “And this is not the fucking feel-good ‘80s
movie of the year, where for seven hours we put aside our diffs and, through
commiserating about our mutually dysfunctional family lives or how lonely or
alienated we each feel, we find some sort of common ground and end up as BFFs.”
Throughout the film we get a series of flashbacks that
show what brought each of the kids to detention. And look, there’s Judd Nelson
as the headmaster of the school. (By the way, Matt crawls in the air duct, like
Judd Nelson did in The Breakfast Club.)
There is also a bit of Carrie in one
of the flashbacks.
The library is possibly haunted by a dead Indian. They
hold a séance to find out if the place is really haunted, and sure enough,
things get weird. There is also a serious bug problem at this school. And we
learn that these students are connected through some stuff related to their
The film certainly attacks its subject with a sense of
humor. For example, there are several jokes about how people whip out cell
phones and film everything rather than helping someone out. And I can’t help but
laugh when Judd Nelson refers to a wheelchair-bound student as “retarded.” One
thing this film lacks, however, is the great music of The Breakfast Club (though I dig the song in the cafeteria scene).
The DVD has several special features, including three
photo galleries. The galleries play through, so you don’t need to hit the arrow
button. They are Comic Book Art by Anthony Vargos, Behind The Scenes, and FX
Makeup, and the three total more than twenty-five minutes.
There is also The
Making Of Bad Kids Go To Hell, which is divided into two parts: “Kids
Introductions” and “Craig Vs. Ghost.” The first part is basically editor Justin
Wilson doing a commentary over the scene where each of the kids is introduced
arriving at the school. And the second part has Justin Wilson commenting on the
scene when Craig is freaking out, firing his gun. So this isn’t really a
There is also a feature-length commentary track by
director/co-writer Matthew Spradlin and producer/co-writer Barry Wernick.
Interestingly, it turns out that the nipples in the strip scene are CG. Also,
they used a skateboard as a dolly.
The special features include “Visual FX Breakdowns,”
showing how various shots were layered and so on. We see shots like the
headless body dropping, and the roaches rushing through the air duct. The
license plate that says “DR DAY” was actually changed in post, which is surprising.
And of course there is the trailer.
Bad Kids Go To Hell
was directed by Matthew Spradlin, and is based on a graphic novel by Matthew
Spradlin and Barry Wernick. The DVD was released on April 9, 2013.