Fortress (1986)

Teachers are a special kind of people. They spend all day babysitting other people’s children, while trying to teach them life skills, when they are getting paid peanuts for a middle finger in the form of thanks.

There’s a lot of marking, bureaucracy, politics, and unfortunately a LOT of kids. Good kids, bad kids, bullies, kids with awful home lives, snobby kids, smelly kids, and the worst of them all; kids who have snotty noses all the flipping time.

Get yourself a tissue, or get the hell away from me.

They have to be fair, nice, take on juvenile problems all the live long day, and on top of that, try to make sure they get good grades at the end of the year. It is not a job that many of us would want to do, and not a job that many realise they could do once they get in a classroom in front of a group of blank faced parcels of attitude.

I wasn’t a pleasant child to teach, I’ll freely admit that, and I had some particularly unlikable teachers to really give me my best motive for antagonism, so I’m quite sure I was the target off quite a few violent fantasies involving my murder back in the day. They don’t all do the job properly, or well, and sometimes you get really nasty pieces of work who come into the classroom purely to wield that tiny bit of power that they have over smaller, weaker individuals, because their lives are so pathetic.

After all, they are just humans, and not all humans are worth the skin suit they’re wearing, as we all know.

It’s still sad though, when you see these lovely, bright eyed student teachers coming in full of optimism and plans to change the world, in the end they all end up like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, all mono syllabic and praying for early retirement; because kids, are little vampires that just suck the joy right out of you.

I think I saw that on a Mother’s Day card once …

Fortress is about a teacher of a tiny school in a remote part of Australia, who is kidnapped along with her students by a group of mask wearing nasties, in an attempt at getting a kerching sized ransom. The group end up escaping from their captors and having an extremely violent, Lord of the Flies style standoff as they fight for their survival.

Very loosely based on the Faraday School kidnapping in 1972, Fortress is a very well made, television movie, that is more of a thriller than a horror granted, but it has such tension and chillingly violent scenes that I think horror fans will get a kick out of watching this obscure little budget beauty.

The acting is decent enough, and the kids do an excellent job of portraying the confusion and fear of the abductees, stranded in the outback, their transformation into ruthless killers is just the right amount of wildly horrifying. It’s a simple, well told story, with great special effects and a thought provoking ending, at how easily the human condition can become animals with the right provocation.

And any film with a group of children stabbing a man, while looking like the Lost Boys, is well worth a watch.

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This entry was posted in 80's horror, critique, Eighties Horror, fiction, film and media, horror, murder, opinion, pop culture, revenge, survival horror, True Crime, True Horror, Twist ending, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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