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Mike's Strange Cinema Cavalcade - THE NEW KIDS

the new kids 1985 review
A young James Spader gets up to no good.


Review by Mike Vaughn

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham

Starring: Lori Loughlin, James Spader, Shannon Presby, Eric Stoltz, Tom Atkins, Vince Grant

the new kids 1985 blu-ray

Horror fans will most likely know Sean S. Cunningham from creating Friday the 13th in 1980 and with it ushering in a new phase in not only the slasher age, but kicking off the decade of excess in terms of ultra over the top violence. Five years later he released The New Kids to much less fanfare.

the new kids 1985 review


After the tragic death of their parents, Loren (Shannon Presby) and his sister Abby (Lori Loughlin) go to live with their aunt and uncle. They soon discover a street gang, headed up by Dutra (James Spader), that is out to make their lives a living hell. The kids must step up and fight this head on.

The New Kids is marketed as a horror film when in reality it's more of a teen-age drama that violently veers into thriller territory. You cant really blame the marketing people though, because by the time this movie came out, Cunningham’s Friday the 13th had spawned a whopping four sequels, bringing it firmly into the pop culture zeitgeist.

the new kids 1985 review


Following The New Kids' release on Blu-Ray, I saw an out-pouring of love for this title. As someone who came late to this movie, I found it to be just alright. As a thriller, it's perfectly serviceable, with enjoyable crazy moments, but nothing you haven’t seen before in many other movies. I think the key to loving this movie is its ultra '80s charm/cheese, which it has loads of. Also, I think the name value and nostalgia that Cunningham brings also helps hide some of its more glaring flaws.

The film sets up themes it never seems interested in exploring or pushing further. I also felt the finale could have been amped up more. Casting wise, The New Kids is interesting, with a young Spader pouring on the creep to 11 complete with a hilarious accent. Future Full House star Loughlin (currently embroiled in a College scandal) and Eric Stoltz also do a decent job. Cult icon Tom Atkins is woefully underused, appearing for only a few minutes -and let's not even get started with why he remarks on his daughter’s body (as he smacks her butt) while wearing only his robe.

the new kids 1985 review


Bottom line, I didn’t hate this movie; I just thought it was alright. Your mileage may vary but if '80s cheese is something that gets you excited you will no doubt enjoy The New Kids as a mindless bit of fun. If not, you may find it a tepid teen-drama/thriller that's a bit middle of the road. Mill Creek Entertainment thankfully has transferred the film to Blu-Ray at great value (under 10 bucks), but sadly, no extras are included.

The New Kids is on blu-ray now from Mill Creek Entertainment.



Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”


His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @castle_anger.





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