Very Special Movie: Death of a Cheerleader

First of all, this is based on a true story and while I’m sure that the actual events were tragic–I’d like to completely forget that this has any element of reality so that we can all laugh with abandon at Tori Spelling in this harrowing role of doomed-cheerleader. Also, Wikipedia tells me that this was the highest rated TV-Move of 1994.

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This movie starts with Tori Spelling sweetly asking to use a phone at some random suburban home because her “friend got a little weird.” When no one answers at her house, the man from the suburban home drives her to her house. When Tori’s parents aren’t home, she decides to go next door. The random man whose car she’s gotten into is all like “I’ll wait until you get inside.” He watches her through the rearview mirror. When she’s out of sight, he turns to look through the back windshield. That’s when he sees an altercation between Kellie Martin (from The Face on the Milk Carton–another classic) and Tori Spelling. Then Kellie Martin stabs her to death. See, this is why you always drive people all the way to the door. You can’t do much good watching someone through a rearview mirror.

Then we flash back to a happier time. But just a heads up you’re about to hate Tori Spelling’s guts and totally fall in love with her friendly murderer. And if you’re anything like me at fifteen (when I first caught this movie on Lifetime) you’re going to have a total crisis of conscience and feel like a horrible person for sympathizing with a murderer because this is a TRUE story, right??? But like ultimately this is a Lifetime movie and not a documentary, so try not to have a crisis of conscience over it.

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Anyway, Tori Spelling is the Queen Bee of the 10th grade. And Kellie Martin is cute and friendly and really wants to be popular and “the best.” It’s pretty obvious almost immediately that Tori Spelling is a colossal bitch, who just tortures people emotionally for no reason. But Kellie Martin still wants to hang out with her because she is “cool.” So really like Kellie Martin probably sucks too. Much to Kellie’s chagrin, Tori thinks she’s “weird.”5410146838_f0aedae755

Anyway, the cool thing at this high school is to be a Meadow Lark. The Meadow Larks are a service club. You have to like be selected for this club and then you have to be initiated. It’s a freaking sorority. Anyway, Kellie and Tori are both selected to pledge the Larks.

Then they both try out for cheerleading. Being a cheerleader here is an even bigger deal than being a cheerleader in your average school. There are four new cheerleaders selected at the end of the school year to replace the graduating seniors. They winners all announced at an assembly and then they get to come up on stage and receive flowers. Barf. Tori makes the squad but Kellie does not.

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So then she shirks her morals and gets drunk with her friend Jill. Jill invites her to a party with this guy she knows. Kellie decides to invite Tori to the party so that Tori will be her friend. Actually, that’s pretty awful and social-climb-y. I think Kellie and Tori BOTH suck and I was just like feeling bad for Kellie being socially awkward back when I was fifteen.

Omg this is turning into a 2000 word essay, but stick with me! So Kellie calls Tori’s house when Tori is at cheerleading camp. Kellie says that they’re having a surprise dinner for all of the Larks and to have Tori be read at 9 pm for her to pick her up. (She doesn’t say who she is.) So Tori meets up with Kellie but doesn’t really expect to see her.

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Oh yeah, there’s a knife in the car because sometimes Kellie’s sister “makes lunch in the car” ?? What?? And it’s like a no-joke knife/the future murder weapon. So then Tori presses Kellie about the party and finds out that Kellie was not directly invited. Then Tori is all like I REFUSE TO CRASH A PARTY. And Kellie is like WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN? And then Kellie goes all Single White Female and is like obsessing over how pretty Tori is and how cool she is. So yeah. They’re both horrifying.

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So then Kellie kills Tori to essentially protect her rep. Like wtf. This is some freaking gang violence shit right here. She’s got to keep up that street cred. But honestly, this is horrifying. Unlike fifteen year-old in a terror-shock combo, I’m twenty-five and sipping my hot cocoa while giving both Kellie and Tori major side-eye.

Anyway, the cops have a few good leads. First, there was that call to Tori’s house about the Larks. Secondly, they have eye witness accounts of the car that Kellie was driving. But mostly, no one has suspected Kellie because she’s so “sweet.” Everyone thinks it was this girl at school who is kind of gothic. Meanwhile, Kellie really, really guilt-ridden. So she’s been getting more involved in the community. And then like she kind of starts getting popular. She’s elected to a leadership position in the Larks and she gets asked out on a date.
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Kellie takes a polygraph and she fails. So then the police really start zeroing in on her. Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince reads her the psychological profile of the killer and it’s basically her exactly. Also, like what is up with them questioning minors without parents present?? I know in this case that this person is actually a killer but still.

So then Kellie finally decides to confess by writing her mother a note. In the letter she feels like really awful and she asks her parents to still love her and to come meet her at the school so she can turn herself in. So like that’s actually really heart-wrenching and I’m sorry that I forgot this movie is actually really depressing. But I’ve written so much that I’m going to publish this anyway. But please remember that Tori Spelling was ridiculous and funny in this movie. And please, is this not a campy promo photo?

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Very Special Lesson: Omg there are so many lessons here: Don’t hang out with Tori Spelling in high school unless that high school is West Beverly High School. Oh also, if someone is really really mean to you, then don’t hang out with them. Don’t try to make that person your friend or spend anymore time with them than you have to. It won’t work and you will end up bat-shit crazy. Also, don’t make lunch in your car, especially not with sharp knives.

Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?

Mother_May_I_Sleep_With_Danger_NR_HD_230x322_poThis movie fades in from white, so you know it’s gonna be intense. There’s also some ominous David Lynch style music and some dude watching a house from his car. I wish I could scream at the nondescript blonde female, “Don’t undress in front of your window! You don’t know who is out there!” But alas, I cannot get this TV movie character to hear me. I must helplessly watch the sad tragedy unfold.

The super creepy dude is actually the blonde girl’s boyfriend. He flips out when he notices that the pictures and poems that he gave her are all boxed up. She explains that she is having her room painted. But even if she were lying that, is no reason to straight up murder her, which is what he does less than five into this movie.

Next, we meet Laurel, a college student played by Tori Spelling. Laurel is trying to move up in the track team, but her mother calls her coach and says that Laurel has an eating disorder. Concerned that Laurel is over-training, the coach cuts her from the team. This is clearly a devastating blow, but Laurel is excited about her new boyfriend, so she forgives her mother’s meddling and they plan an introductory dinner.

OH MY GOSH THE NEW BOYFRIEND IS THE MURDERER! His name is Kevin but it may as well be Danger. It turns out that Kevin lost his parents in a helicopter-skiing accident (he says, “they died doing what they love”), but I can’t help but wonder if he murdered them. He’s already planning how he and Laurel can work at the same place and “never be apart”…

Kevin ends up in a major depressive episode when Laurel tells him she needs to study and can’t hang out. The next day, he sends her flowers and she decides he is not so bad. Kevin also does this weird serial killer hand twitch thing when he talks about his abandonment issues or stalks his girlfriends. He is doing it while talking about how he was worried that Laurel would leave him forever and she’s all like “aw you’re so sweet and not at all scary, let me have sex with you.” And it’s just like, Tori Spelling, NO! Did you learn nothing from that time you had the abusive boyfriend on 90210?

VertigoBut she has not learned cross-film and so she has to learn that lesson again as a different person in a different television feature. Kevin convinces Laurel to dye her hair blonde. He’s Kim-Novack-ing her Vertigo-style. She now has the exact haircut and color of the girl he murdered at the beginning of this movie.

But he’s also kind of Kim-Novack-ing himself. It turns out that he has stolen the identity of the dude who his original girlfriend was hanging out with on the day that he murdered her. (Right? I know. It’s so intense).

Billy (fake Kevin’s real name) then stalks the real Kevin (who has resurfaced and applied to the same college that Billy is attending as Kevin). He follows Kevin and pretends to work at Kevin’s hotel–under the guise of catching up with an old high school acquaintance–and murders him Psycho style in the hotel bathroom. This movie has a lot of Hitchcock references.

Billy’s next move is to isolate Laurel in a cabin. He then attempts to drive a wedge between Laurel and her mother by telling Laurel that her mom says Laurel needs to be put in an institution because of her eating disorder. He promises her that he won’t let that happen and they make out vigorously. Their passion knocks over a bottle of red wine and it oozes ominously over the floor, foreshadowing the bloodshed yet to come.

Laurel catches onto the situation when Billy sabotages her car and she has to walk two miles to a pay phone. A male friend picks her up (which stalker Billy sees and does not like) and stays with her while she calls the phone company. When she discovers that Billy never placed an order to have their phone line setup, she knows that he is trying to isolate and control her.

StalkerMeanwhile, Laurel’s mom has no idea where Laurel is, so she starts to investigate the conflicting information Billy has given while spinning his web of lies. In a police station, she notices a missing person’s picture that she recognizes from Kevin/Billy’s apartment (which she broke into). She also notices the eerie resemblance the missing girl bears to her post-makeover daughter. Then a detective sends her a copy of the real Kevin’s driver’s license because cops just hand that stuff out to inquiring mothers. Laurel’s mom tells the detective that he is not Kevin and they begin to investigate Billy Jones (!) whom the detective was suspicious of in the original case.

Laurel tries to move out, but Billy catches her and is totally going to murder her. Laurel manages to get away from him and decides that the best choice in her self-protection is to go dancing. We already know that Billy is an expert stalker, so he finds her and assaults her male friend. Frankly, I find it remarkable that Laurel is still alive. Billy has obviously gained a modicum of self-control since he murdered that other girl at the beginning of the movie.

si-pres-du-danger_201933_16924In the last twenty-minutes of the movie we get a creep shot of Billy getting on his motorcycle at the cabin in the woods. Now he is the one being stalked. But who is his stalker? It appears to be Laurel attempting to retrieve the rest of her things. Why, Laurel?? She leaves the house only to find him sitting on her car. You cannot out stalk this guy. You just can’t!

He tells her he wants to make one last toast, so they can leave as friends. Laurel, why did you drink that tainted wine? Why, Laurel, why?? Luckily, Laurel’s mom is hot on the trail and she confirms that Billy Jones is Laurel’s boyfriend. She discovers that “Laurel” a.k.a. Billy has just used her AAA card on the way to her cabin.

mothermayiIsolated in her mother’s cabin, Laurel must once again try to escape. Billy chases her with an ax. When her mom shows up, he roundhouse kicks her in the face. Laurel attempts to escape in a rowboat. This is not the most effective means of escape. She probably should just swim for it–like Billy who capsizes her rowboat from beneath the water. Then he attempts to murder them both on the dock with the ax. There’s less than 2 minutes left in the movie now. Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.49.59 PM

Omg. Tori Spelling uses her mom has a human shield. This is so wrong. Oh wait, at the last minute she throws her mom out of the way and hits Billy in the head with an oar. Billy drowns. Mother and daughter walk off arm in arm. Woah.

Oh crap. Billy isn’t dead. He shows up at the end of the movie with another blonde co-ed and he’s looking oddly like Adrian Grenier.

Very Special Lesson: Don’t date anyone ever. This person will stalk you and ruin your college education.