Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trip with the Teacher (1975)

The 70's obviously were THE years of exploitation movies that didn't fear anything. Whether it's gore, nudity or rape, most of' 'em showed it all. In 1975 Earl Barton directed 'Trip with the Teacher', an interesting movie that was clearly inspired by The Last House on the Left (1972).

A pretty young teacher and four of her pretty students take a minibus to some Navajo ruins, little suspecting another kind of ruin awaits. A trio of bikers begin to flirt with the gals, and when their bus breaks down, they helpfully tow the vehicle to a deserted shack. The chief biker, Al, chews up the scenery, kills folks, and rips off the teacher's clothes before raping her. The poor schoolgirls are also in for their share of abuse.

The tagline ''How far should a teacher go to protect her students?'' sounds promising and should make for a good movie. In Trip with the Teacher this subject unfortunately isn't fully exploited altough it does play around with the idea every now and then during the movie.

The movie has got a pretty quiet build up though it strangely enough does feel kind of tense. This is because of the bikers who are a little too obsessed with the schoolbus filled with teenage chicks. When the bus breaks down on a dirt road it's the bikers who pass by and 'help'. This is the point from which the tension starts to rise. 

The most psychologically unstable guy of the group is Al. Zalman King manages to portray the creepy, insane, unpredictable Al amazingly. Soon Al and his brother Pete murder the busdriver. Only then do they realise they now have to kill the remaining passengers, who eye witnessed the murder, too. What follows are multiple murders and mildly shown rape (although the build up to the rape of the teacher was pretty hard and a little shocking). 

Eventhough I thought Trip with the Teacher is a strong, convincing movie, there still are some things that are implausible. Take for example the house where Al and Pete keep the girls. It's an old house with busted windows. You'd think multiple escapes through the shattered windows would follow, still only one girl actually manages to escape that way. The worst thing is the return of Jay to kill the hostage takes though. Just hours before his rescue Jay drove his bike off of a cliff and landed on the rocks. Still a couple of hours later he shows up without even a scratch on his face, let alone multiple bone fractures. For that matter you have to take Trip with the Teacher a little lightly at some points.

Overall Trip with the Teacher is a good little movie. It has got a threatning vibe, some murder, rape and above all an amazing acting job by Zalman King. I do wish they made it a little bit more of a shocker though. It's still a bit tame for a 70's exploitation movie.

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