[note: This review is part of a "White Elephant" blogathon coordinated by Philip Tatler of the Diary of a Country Pickpocket blog, in which bloggers/critics are assigned by another participant an oddball film (cult, curio, bad but interesting, etc.) to write about. Check out links to all the White Elephant pieces here.]
The New Kids is one of those '80s relics that you want to dismiss and laugh off but can't quite shake off either.
With script and story by Stephen Gyllenhaal--Jake and Maggie's dad, but also a lengthy, solid career as a TV director (Homicide, Felicity, Numb3rs)--and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, most renowned for launching a successful little horror franchise known as Friday the 13th, The New Kids is very much of the era, and flawed as well as discomfiting enough where you can see why it failed in 1985. But both the casting and an effective exploitation plot that gets your blood pumping make it a worthy cult film.
It stars a young and sweetly appealing Lori Loughlin, who'd later become most famous for co-starring (as John Stamos' wife) on the hugely popular (and hugely insipid) long-running ABC sitcom Full House, and many other TV roles over the years--certainly nothing as dark as this. Her brother in the film was played by Shannon Presby, who would only act for a short time in the '80s (including a "very special" 2-part episode of Diff'rent Strokes that oddly foreshadowed this film in its plot about school bullies.)