‘Hair High’


Less a send-up of Gothic melodrama than of late-’50s/early-’60s–style teen-death songs, Hair High starts from a simple enough story: Boy meets girl, boy and girl are murdered by girl’s jealous boyfriend, boy and girl return as ghosts for some Prom-night revenge. Veteran animator Bill Plympton scored the second of his two Oscar nominations a few years back with his animated short Guard Dog, which delved into the disturbed mind of a paranoid canine (the Pioneer program includes both that film and its sequel, Guide Dog), and Hair High is peppered with the earlier film’s off-kilter angles, candy-colored backgrounds, and abrupt bursts of music that seem to mock the very idea of a punchline. Plympton has an eye for the grotesque and a taste for gross-out humor—in one scene a chain-smoking biology teacher literally pukes his guts out. Too glib to qualify as satire, Hair High nails the high school experience—never more so than in a fit of expressionism that finds a new student walking to his desk, his classmates transformed into prying pairs of giant eyeballs.

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