TRIP WITH THE TEACHER (1975) Blu-ray/DVD combo
Director: Earl Barton
Vinegar Syndrome

A TRIP WITH THE TEACHER makes a deadly detour in Vinegar Syndrome's Blu-ray/DVD combo of this Crown International favorite.

When their parents chip in to get rid of them for the weekend, bad girl Bobbie (Dina Ousley, NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN), sassy Julie (Cathy Worthington, THE GAMBLER), virginal Tina (Jill Voight, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2), and snobby Pam (Susan Russell) board a school bus with teacher Miss Tenny (Brenda Fogarty, SUMMER CAMP) and driver Marvin (Jack Driscoll, GARDEN OF THE DEAD) for an educational weekend field trip. On the road, the flirting girls catch the attention of biking brothers Pete (Robert Porter, THE JESUS TRIP) and Al (Zalman King, BLUE SUNSHINE) – along with fellow biker Jay (Richard Gribbin, DON'T GO NEAR THE PARK) who stopped to help Pete fix a flat – who follow them to their final rest stop at a gas station. Pete and Jay flirt with the girls while tense Al antagonizes the gas station attendant (David Villa) until protective Marvin and Miss Tenny round the girls back up. Pete and Jay are eager to catch up with them, and they get back on the road after disrespected Al kills the attendant without the other two knowing. When the bus breaks down, Pete hits upon the idea to tow it with their bikes to a farm they remembered stopping at the last time they were on the same stretch of road only to discover it now abandoned. Miss Tenny presses a reluctant Al to get help, and a fight ensues when he offends her with a proposition. Marvin and Jay come to the teacher's defense and the two brothers mount their bikes to terrorize the bus driver but accidentally kill him. Paranoid about going back to prison, Al convinces Pete that they cannot let the others escape. With Jay subdued and the girls trapped in the farm's derelict shack, Bobbie decides to use her sex appeal to distract the guys but is unprepared for level of psychosis and brutality Al is about to unleash upon them.

Although released in 1975 by Crown International as an in-name-only follow-up to Howard Avedis' THE TEACHER, TRIP WITH THE TEACHER was actually produced in 1973; yet, it's rape and captivity scenario does not seem to have been inspired by the drive-in success of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. The scenes of brutality directed against the women are unpleasant but not as graphically portrayed onscreen, with the intensity of the situation conveyed by the terror of the actresses and King's typically over-the-top performance (you know he's insane from the first moment he is onscreen wearing riding goggles that give his face an insectoid look), and the resolve of the abused female characters come through in their continuing concern for the safety and well-being of the other members of their group. The film was a one-off directorial effort for Earl Barton who had been a dancer in Hollywood musicals and served as choreographer in films like ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK and the TV movie adaptation of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. The score is credited to Igo Kantor (later Film Ventures' in-house composer/music supervisor) and features cues from his library along with a couple Stu Phillips' cues from THE NAME OF THE GAME IS KILL that had already popped up in a couple other films like SISTERS OF DEATH, VENUS IN FURS, and THE SAVAGE INTRUDER.

Previously released on home video as DEADLY FIELD TRIP by Monarch Home Video, TRIP WITH THE TEACHER was one of the Crown International titles not to be released by Rhino Home Video when they had the library, although it did hit DVD from Code Red on a double bill with JAILBAIT BABYSITTER and another double bill from BCI with MALIBU HIGH, followed by multi-film collection editions from BCI and Mill Creek. Derived from the original 16mm A/B roll negative, Vinegar Syndrome's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 widescreen transfer gets off to a rough start with presumably 35mm-derived opening credits (the final shot and the closing credits are in similarly rough shape). The 16mm film shot in available light with no reflectors is harshly grainy at times and never attractive, but close-ups and the stable set-ups of the shack interior scenes look reasonably crisp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono track is clean, with clear dialogue and the library music cues having more presence over a rather minimalist effects track. Optional English SDH subtitles are also provided.

Extras include a new audio commentary by director Barton and actresses Worthington & Ousley hosted by Joe Rubin. Barton discusses the improvisational nature of the script, which was not inspired by any of his past work so much as motivated by the low budget of $31,000 (a credit is given to the owner of the parking lot who allowed the cast to park there to be escorted to the location on the school bus itself), while the actresses discuss how they got involved in the film and their experiences during the thirteen day shoot, working with King who was instrumental in getting Fox-contracted Porter to work on the film, and the work schedule determined by the amount of daylight that was left. Barton is happy to recall how he was a virtual one-man crew apart from a couple days when jack-of-all-trades camera guy Joseph Bardo (ALICE IN WONDERLAND: AN X-RATED FANTASY) was available to operate a second camera – the Bardo association is presumably why IMDb believes that cinematographer/editor "Erwin Jay Barer" was Ray Dennis Steckler (BLOOD SHACK) rather than Barton himself who operated the camera and cut the work print and mixed the soundtrack by hand; at the same time, when the actresses compliment him on a flattering or creative shot, he says things along the lines of "I was just running around picking up shots where I could." Crown International was the only company he approached with the film and they paid for the 35mm blow-up internegative and made all of their money back before he saw a dime.

In "Taking the Trip" (14:29), actress Fogarty recalls touring the world as a showgirl before returning to the states and taking acting classes when she learned that Barton's film was casting down the street. She was the last to audition and recalls that Barton told her "You are Miss Tenny!" She touches upon her subsequent film work before turning to real estate, although she has written over a hundred and fifty monologues and performed them on video and life (including at a cast reunion attended by the commentary participants who also allude to other reunions). A still gallery (2:24), the film's theatrical trailer (3:24), and two TV spots (0:30 and 0:56) are also included. The disc comes with a reversible cover featuring alternate vintage artwork. (Eric Cotenas)