review for The Class Reunion Massacre on AllMovie

The Class Reunion Massacre (1977)
by Fred Beldin review

This genuinely disturbing proto-slasher is guilty of the same gaping plot holes and cardboard characterizations as any other, but a good cast, creepy ambiance, and swift pace make it an obscure gem. Filmed in the years before Halloween and Friday the 13th would ensure slavish devotion to the time-honored "ten little Indians" template, Class Reunion Massacre embellishes the basic body count plot with a half-baked supernatural backstory, tacking on a befuddling prologue and epilogue that add a welcome absurdity. Whether concerning a mystical child rising out of a lake, a third thumb, divinely inspired slayings, or a bloodthirsty fire-and-brimstone minister, nothing is ever adequately developed or explained, so the film becomes memorable for its opacity alone. Luckily, the cast don't over play what are essentially stock horror victims (avaricious attorney, good-hearted party girl, sensible lesbian, etc.), so there's real tension during the murder setpieces, particularly the brutal ladies' room drowning featuring Jeanetta Arnette and scene-chewing psycho T.G. Finkbinder. The special effects splatter nicely, and an eerie tone plants the queasy suggestion that the filmmakers were sympathetic to the religiously-motivated maniac's horrible deeds.