Director: Earl Barton
Writer: Earl Barton
From: Cult Cinema
A group of young women on a road trip are held captive by a pair of sadistic bikers.
Tthe “teacher” (she’s not their teacher, more like a slightly older woman in the community that put together this “educational” summer trip) is taking four young women to interesting sites in the American Southwest. The bus they’ve rented passes a trio of bikers—two brothers and a hobbyest who looks like Micky from the Monkees that stopped fix their flat—who notice the girls and follow them to a gas station. After the bus leaves, the psycho brother, Al, kills the attendant for insulting him.
The bus breaks down, the bikers catch up, flirt with the girls, then tow the bus to an abandoned lot in the middle of nowhere. To make that sound less calculated, it was a farm the brothers had passed the year before where a guy had been working on a tractor and they thought they could find help. When they arrive, it’s no longer in use. The bus driver insults Al, Al kills him, and everyone realizes the situation has escalated. As Micky tells one of the girls, Al and his brother will either have to kill all of them or try to outrun the cops.
Can you guess what happens? Which blog are you reading? They sit in the abandoned shack and not a whole lot happens—both to the good and the bad. Micky noted that if one of them gets away, as far as the brothers are concerned, they may have all gotten away. They just need to wait for their moment.
In an order that I can’t remember, Al rapes the teacher, Micky escapes but is driven off the road by the brother, and one of the other girls escapes only to be caught and killed by Al. The next day, Micky returns and kills the brother. He faces off with Al, but the teacher runs Al through with a piece of pipe. After everyone gets cleaned up, Micky leaves on his bike promising to return with help to fix the bus. THE END.
Considering the kinds of movies on these sets, and that the film has sexual assault, it’s not as uncomfortable as what I initially thought it was going to be which was some ill-conceived sex comedy about a teacher hooking up with his students.
Hey, I didn’t say it was good, I said it wasn’t as bad as I feared it could be.
A lot of the movie is sitting around waiting and, it feels strange to say this, I wanted more violence. None of the women are tied up and there are periods where four of them are alone with Al when he’s unarmed and having some strange scenery-chewing episode. I kept thinking, just start beating him. It’s four-on-one; you’re going to fuck him up. Instead, they sit and wait. Enough happens to keep the movie from being excruciatingly dull, but not quite enough is going on to keep the tension running.
The sexual violence in the movie has to be mentioned as well. Again, it’s not as bad as it could be, but is bad enough. One of the girls tries to seduce Al to get him into the other room so that maybe the rest could overpower his brother. To make that less uncomfortable, she’s the girl who was flirting with him before everything went bad. Rather than go into the next room, though, Al tells her to strip in front of everyone. She does, but with her back to us. The audience doesn’t see her nudity, which is a good thing. Exploitation is always walking that thin line between titillation and horror, but you want to maintain that line. Nudity in the context of fun sexy times? Fantastic. Nudity in the context of someone’s suffering? No. So I was willing to give the movie credit for making that choice.
And then the scene of the teacher being sexually assaulted immediately follows and it’s the only nudity in the movie.
“Oh, hey! You got it… wrong. You got it completely wrong. You almost had it right, and then got it completely wrong.”
There’s another incident of forced sex later in the movie and, again, damning with faint praise, the way the film chooses to do it is not the terrible way I thought it was going to. Earlier in the movie, the girls get into a fight because it’s that kind of movie. They’re talking about sex and one reveals that she’s a virgin and calls another a “horny little bitch.” I was dreading a terrible Chekov’s Gun situation where, since this woman said she was a virgin, we were going to see her get sexually assaulted. And we don’t. It’s just a regularly uncomfortable scene of sexual assault.
So it’s not a recommend on a whole host of levels. If the sexual assault isn’t a deal-breaker, it’s also just not that interesting. To the film’s credit, it never tries to portray the assaults as anything but unpleasant, as things that the audience is supposed to be horrified by instead of enjoying on some level. However, there’s just a paucity of imagination here. In many respects, it’s a less-ambitious version of The Sadist starring Arch Hall, Jr. And, let me tell you, it’s a rare day where I can say something’s a poor version of an Arch Hall, Jr. vehicle. Trip With the Teacher, though, felt like it only had the keywords for a story, the genre checklist without any of the additional material to make it a complete movie. Even the title feels like a half-assed attempt to suggest the content instead of actually reflecting the content of the movie. Doesn’t Trip With the Teacher sound like it’d be a racy exploitation film? Then there’s no need to make one, the title does it all. Give it a pass, it’s not worth your time.