Cutting Class – ‘The Slasher with Brad Pitt’ – 30 Years Later


Like Johnny Depp before him, Brad Pitt once cut his teeth on a little known slasher film called Cutting Class.

At this point in his career, Pitt was mainly doing television work, including the Nightmare on Elm Street spinoff series Freddy’s Nightmares in the same year.

Casting Pitt was also tricky as Producer Rudy Cohen didn’t want him in the role but was Pallenberg found a number of girls who pointed to the young stars sex appeal as a good selling point for the film which ultimately convinced the producer to cast him.

Ironically Pitt and co-star Jill Schoelen actually became lovers after meeting on-set, getting engaged but never tying the knot.

At the time Schoelen did not want to be part of the film and repeatedly rejected until being talked around by her agent, due to the involvement of writer Rospo Pallenberg (who also worked on 1981’s Excalibur).

Schoelen was also convinced due to the involvement of Roddy McDowell (Fright Night 1&2). She did have a difficult time on-set though finding Pallenberg’s style of directing quite militant and unwelcoming and has since distanced herself from talking about Cutting Class.

Schoelen would go on to star in the excellent slasher Popcorn (1991) and When a Stranger Calls Back in 1993.

On the flipside to Schoelen, Donovan Leitch Jr. was desperate to Cutting Class, given the opportunity to work with Pallenberg, who wrote a treatment for one of his favourite films; Deliverance.

Cutting Class very much has its tongue firmly in its cheek, having been released at a time when slashers were dying out, which means that it leans on comedy sometimes over horror.

There are some unintentional laughs too, including the death of the sports coach who is randomly bouncing up and down on the trampoline before being impaled with the American flag.

The death of the vice-principal also raises some good laughs too as she has her head impaled whilst being photocopied.

None is better though than Paula’s father William, who is shot during a hunting trip earlier on by an unknown assailant but is then left for dead and subsequently ignored whilst passed out in the middle of the swamp by a load of the kids on a nature hike, despite calling out (although this is mistaken by the teacher as a wild animal).

The award for best performance has to go to Robert Glaudini who plays janitor Shultz, whose wooden delivery of lines and generally creepiness add some more humour to Cutting Class.

Another area where Cutting Class is elevated is the whodunnit element of the plot which works quite well until the final reveal; with a red herring thrown in for good measure.

So 30 years on is Cutting Class still got top grades? You bet your ass it has!




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