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Friday, May 31

Class of 1999, my first VHS movie

Ladies and gentlemen, it brings back great joy and such fond memories to be talking about the first movie I watched on VHS, back in 1991: Class of 1999. Who would have known that my love for films was to be shaped by this apocalyptic B-movie? There must have been something enjoyable about it, since Class of 1999 (1990) gave birth to an undying passion and an ever-lasting admiration for The Seventh Art. And as this is a very personal post, I must thank my movie-loving father who had the boldness to spend the family savings on a VHS (Video Home System, for novices) rather than on a car.

This picture is worth a million happy memories: begging for money from mom and dad, to go to the street corner rental shop and get used, smelly, colourful video tapes, for which you got a free of charge, five-minute review from the shop assistant. And Irina Margareta Nistor's childlike voice and her great, vivid translations that were to remain imprinted on my memory and shape my career. Those were the days, my friends!
Back to the movie itself, Class of 1999 is a sci-fi picture about the gloomy face of education in a futuristic, apocalyptic America. Kennedy High, the worst high school in Seattle, is chosen by Dr. Bob Forrest (Stacy Keach, who is an albino with a strange haircut) from Megatech, the leading designer in military robotics/weapons defence, as the right place for the three teachers/robots (Pam Grier, Patrick Kilpatrick and John P. Ryan) to try to straighten up the students. You can't help loving the strangely dressed kids, the special effects or the bullet-fuelled madness. The school bus is in flames, the robots go insane and start killing the disobedient students and motorcycles run wild within the school premises. Anyway, the teenage hero, Cody Culp (Bradley Gregg) and his girlfriend and Principal's daughter, Christie (Traci Lind) save the day and smash the robots. 
Not only was I taken by the special effects, especially by the robots' green kind of blood, but I also liked the way their arms turned into machine guns and their cold wickedness. Given the age, I enjoyed Cody's rebellious temper and digged his girlfriend trendy turban; I didn't care much about the message of the film, the dialogues or the way it had been directed. Still in the accumulative phase, right? Today, despite the poor quality of the movie, Class of 1999 remains a dear reminiscence of the way we were back then and the beginning of my long and beautiful friendship with movies.
This trip down the memory lane is dedicated to my partner in crime, Catalin and to my intelligent, movie buff of a father. I can't wait to hear what you think of the movie and whether any of you remember Class of 1999.