EDITOR’S NOTE: This movie originally appeared on the site on December 12, 2018 when Mill Creek released it as part of their retro VHS box line.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’d like to watch a super young James Spader with weird looking bleach blonde hair menace a super young looking Lori Loughlin to the point that I worry for her safety?” If so, you’re a maniac. But hey, you’re on our site, so we have to be nice and tell you that this movie exists. It’s Sean Cunningham’s (Friday the 13th) 1985 opus, The New Kids.
No offense to our friends from Horror and Sons, but Florida is the most frightening state in the nation. Just ask Abby (Loughlin, years before she became Aunt Becky or a convicted felon) and Loren McWilliams (Shannon Presby, who quit acting soon after this movie and became a lawyer). Their parents (Tom Atkins is their military hero dad!) have been killed in an accident and they’ve moved to Glenby, a small town that seems way more like hell — and not the happiest place — on Earth. Their Uncle Charlie (Eddie Jones, C.H.U.D., Q the Winged Serpent and Johnathan Kent on TV’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and Aunt Fay (who did American voices for Gamera the Invincible and Godzilla vs. Hedorah) take them in, getting them to help them operate a gas station and amusement park, which is based on Santa Claus. If you’re willing to accept this entire paragraph and still say, “I’d watch that movie,” congratulations. You’re as goofy as me.
The kids do pretty well in their new life, with Loren instantly hitting it off with Karen, the vivacious daughter of the local sheriff. And Abby starts seeing Mark, who is played by Eric Stoltz, who also made Mask and lasted five weeks as Marty McFly in Back to the Future the same year that this movie was made.
What gives us the dramatic reason for watching this movie? Eddie Dutra (Spader) and his gang suddenly intrude and remind us that Flordia may be the home of Disney, but it’s also the nexus for American death metal. These boys just randomly do coke and make bets as to who will have nonconsensual sex with Abby first.
Dutra and his gang gradually grow more and more vicious, keying cars and even throwing Abby’s beloved pet rabbit’s bloody corpse at her while she attempts to take a shower — a scene that reminds you that Cunningham may be working for a major studio here, but he has roots in exploitation.
Finally, there’s a showdown at the amusement park that the kids call home, with Dutra covering Abby in lighter fluid and throwing lit matches at her (!) while his gang holds her down and fights over who gets to molest her.
It all ends with the bad guys attacked by dogs, thrown from the Ferris wheel, electrocuted and beheaded by bumper cars, and finally, Dutra lit ablaze by a gas pump that he has turned into a flamethrower. No, I don’t think that gas pumps work that way, either.
Becca woke up and came downstairs to watch some of my late night viewing of The New Kids and said, “This is one of those movies where they just show you stuff that happens to people and it’s all horrible. In fact, this movie is horrible. Who would even like this kind of movie?”
This is when my wife learned that I’m the kind of person who would like this kind of movie, which confirmed my theory: no one can be that good at being a lunatic without being a lunatic. There’s some dark stuff in Spader’s closet, right? Well, according to this Movie Web article, every year Spader and Stoltz get together to watch The New Kids together.
The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1980s Collection has a ton of great movies at an affordable price. It also has Like Father, Like Son, Vice Versa, Little Nikita, Roxanne, Punchline, Who’s Harry Crumb?, Blue Thunder, Suspect and Band of the Hand. You can get this set from Deep Discount.