MSRP: $14.99

The Pitch

“It’s The Class of 1984 meets Tuff Turf!”

The Humans

Shannon Presby (Diff’rent Strokes), Lori Laughlin (Amityville 3-D, Full House), Eddie Jones (Invasion USA, C.H.U.D.), Eric Stoltz (Killing Zoe, The Fly II), James Spader (Alien Hunter, Mannequin)

The Nutshell

When their parents are killed in a car accident, teen Army brats Loren and Abby (Presby and Laughlin) go to live with their uncle in Florida, living and working on his holiday theme park/gas station. They run into trouble in the new high school in the form of unpleasant Eddie Dutra (a freakishly blond James Spader) and his cadre of hick cronies, who have a bet on who’ll bed Abby first. Eddie takes Abby’s rejection rather personally and trashes her uncle’s carnival, prompting Loren to retaliate. Events continually escalate in a series of vandalism and violence, culminating in deaths by (in no particular order) pit bull, roller coaster and fuel pump.

"Y’know, with all the dirty talk, this isn’t exactly the wood I expected you to give."

The Package

The film is presented in widescreen with decent audio, but outside of the few minutes of screen time we get of Tom “Thrill me” Atkins, there’s a big donut for special features. You do get giant red Spaderface on the cover, though. Which is nice.

The Lowdown

My recollection of The New Kids is that it was one of the first videotapes I rented after upgrading from Betamax. Only in retrospect can I fully recognize just how… 80s it is, from the feathered hair to the training montage. Besides being notable for its somewhat dated aesthetic and a pre-Less Than Zero Spader as a drawling creep, the movie has a horror pedigree in Friday the 13th director Sean S. Cunningham, which might explain the overall exploitation tone.

The Spader hair-drying method took a little longer, but it was the only way to achieve that sculpted look so popular in the day.

Though the story (from Stephen Gyllenhall, who would indeed sire a pair of now-omnipresent actor offspring) is predictable and cliché-bloated, The New Kids is a perfectly watchable B-movie, the kind of revenge flick where you just accept that high school punks are willing to commit murder as a reaction to getting shot down for a date. Actually not that different from the ‘burbs of today, really…

6.0 out of 10