We go from a classic sci-fi movie to the height of the drive-in exploitation era. Today’s movie touches on a subject that is as much a popular subject of porn movies, as it sadly is a common occurrence in real life. I am curious which came first; was it the actual teachers getting caught fooling around with students that inspired movie makers to make movies on the subjects, or did teachers/students see the movies and decide to try it in real life. Either way, this theme constantly pops up in movies, from big budget films to low budget B-movies and especially porn. Today’s movie is one that probably got a lot of play in drive-ins so let’s see if this is as bad as I expect it to be as I watch today’s movie, The Teacher (1974).
The plot: Ralph Gordon is setting up some items at an abandoned warehouse on the docks before driving off and stopping at a across the street from a nearby high school. When class gets out, he stares at one of the teachers, Diane Marshall, as she talks with some of her students, including Ralph’s younger brother Lou. Ralph gets jealous when most of the students leave and Diane focuses her attention on the one remaining student, Sean Roberts, but Sean eventually leaves with Lou and Diane heads home, with Ralph following her and parking down the street so he can watch her house. When Diane leaves the house, Ralph starts following her again but she notices him and pulls over to try and confront him only to have Ralph continue driving past her. Ralph heads to the warehouse and watches as Diane heads to the harbor and gets in her boat, piloting it out onto the ocean, where she starts sunbathing topless. Suddenly, Ralph hears a motorcycle and curses when he sees Lou and Sean show up so he quickly stashes his binoculars in his chest and grabs a bayonet before hiding. Lou and Sean enter the warehouse and Sean is worried that Ralph might catch them there but Lou says not to worry and heads up to the top floor. Heading to his brother’s chest, he grabs the binoculars and looks out at the water to see Diane still topless, heading out onto the nearby fire escape balcony for a better look. As the two boys pass the binoculars between them and talk about their teacher, Ralph approaches them and yells at them, startling the two boys and causing Lou to fall from a hole in the balcony to the street below. Seeing his brother die, the unstable Ralph blames Sean for Lou’s death and attempts to kill him but Sean manages to get away. Later that night, Sean returns home and gets into an argument with his dad, Joe, before heading to his room to get ready for bed. As he is changing, he hears a noise outside and opens his window to find Ralph standing outside. Ralph tells him that the sheriff is on his way and warns him not to say anything or else he will cut out his tongue. When the sheriff arrives, he starts asking Sean some questions about Lou but Sean sees Ralph watching him from some bushes and he lies about being with Lou that afternoon, saying they had argued and Lou had dropped him off outside of town. A couple of days later, Sean rides his bike over to Diane’s house so he can pass along his mother’s, Alice, invitation to lunch and Diane starts flirting with him and invites him inside but Sean gets flustered and says he has to head back home. When he gets home, Sean starts working on his van when Bonnie and Margaret, two other women that Sean’s mother invited, show up followed shortly by Diane. As the women lounge around the pool, with Bonnie going swimming, Diane and Margaret end up getting into an argument regarding Diane’s husband, who had left her a year ago, and Margaret leaves, taking Bonnie with her. Alice has Sean join her and Diane by the pool and Sean and Diane end up goofing off while Alice fixes some lunch. Afterwards, Sean asks if he can borrow his mom’s car to get some parts for his van and when he says he wants to get some paneling, Diane says she has some in her garage that he can use. Sean and Diane head over to her house and when they get there, they see Ralph pull up and tell Sean that he will be waiting for him at the warehouse. When Diane asks what that was about, Sean says that Ralph is crazy and they head inside her house, where Diane offers Sean a beer. As they are talking, Diane asks Sean to kiss her, which he does but he gets flustered afterwards and heads out to look at the paneling. Diane goes to take a shower and when she is finished, she calls out to Sean and after talking with him for a while, she starts kissing him again and ends up seducing him into having sex. As they are laying there afterwards, Diane invites Sean to go out on her boat with her the next day and Sean eagerly agrees. The next day, Ralph sees them heading out on the boat and he dons a wetsuit and swims out to the boat. On the boat, Sean and Diane have sex and when they finish, they prepare to head onto the deck to eat lunch when they see Ralph there with a harpoon but, when he sees Diane, he quickly dives back into the water and swims away. The next day, Sean is working on his van when he keeps seeing Ralph staring at him then disappearing, freaking Sean out. Alice, who had gone over to Diane’s, calls to invite him to lunch with her and Diane but Sean declines, but Diane gets on the phone and invites Sean to dinner, which he accepts. As Sean and Diane head to dinner, Joe argues with Alice at their house about how it looks for Sean to be going out with a married man and Alice tells him that Diane is divorcing her husband and that Sean is 18 and needs to learn how to do things himself. Back at the restaurant, Sean and Diane get into the car and start kissing but as they go to leave, they see Ralph standing in front of the car. Ralph yells out that he just wants Sean and Sean gets out of the car to confront him but when Ralph pulls out the bayonet to try and stab him, Diane screams, startling Ralph enough to allow Sean to push him down and get back in the car so they can leave. When they get back to Sean’s house, Alice and Joe ask what happened to Sean and Diane tells them that Ralph had attacked him. Joe wants to call the sheriff but Sean says to stop, then comes clean about what happened the day Lou died, apologizing to Diane for spying on her. Joe still wants to call the sheriff but Alice says they should wait a day and talk to her brother, who is a lawyer, before calling the police and Joe reluctantly agrees. The next day, Joe and Alice drive off to see Alice’s brother and as soon as they leave, Diane shows up at Sean’s house and ends up convincing him to come back to her place. They drive their in Sean’s van and head out to the pool but while they are in back, Ralph sneaks into Sean’s van to wait for him. Sean and Diane end up having sex and afterwards, admit they love each other and Sean tries to convince Diane to marry him when he is done with college. Hearing the phone ringing and thinking it is his parents, Sean answers the phone only to discover it is Russ, Diane’s husband. Russ talks with Sean for a few minutes, telling him he is coming home in a few days, before Diane gets on the phone with Russ. Feeling dejected, Sean heads out to his van and prepares to head home but Ralph grabs him and holds the bayonet to his throat, then has him drive out to the warehouse. Diane tells Russ that she is divorcing him and hangs up, then goes looking for Sean but when she heads outside, she notices Ralph’s car down the street and quickly gets in her car and heads to the warehouse, fearing the worst. At the warehouse, Ralph puts a collar on Sean, threatening to choke him if he does anything stupid, but when his attention is turned away, Sean manages to get out of Ralph’s grip and head up to Ralph’s chest and grabs Ralph’s rifle. When Ralph approaches him, Sean tries to shoot him but Ralph says the gun is filled with blanks, then chokes Sean to death when he tries to escape. Diane appears at the warehouse and starts calling out to Sean so Ralph disguises his voice and lures her upstairs. When she gets there, Ralph confronts her and says he killed Sean so they could be together. Diane gets him to drop the bayonet and Ralph tries to have sex with her but Diane is able to grab the bayonet and stab him with it. As Ralph bleeds to death, Diane goes looking for Sean and finds his body on the balcony, where she starts crying over the death of her lover.
Yeh, this is about what I expected it to be. The acting was ok, with Anthony James doing a great job playing the creepy Ralph, who was probably suffering from some sort of PTSD, which nobody really talked about back then. Angel Tompkins was pretty good as Diane but Jay North was honestly a little stiff (no pun intended) as Sean. The story was good, mixing the teacher/student romance with the drama of Ralph’s stalking and blaming Sean for Lou’s death. The drama was pretty good but some of the “love-making” scenes were pretty corny, as were some of the setups leading to them. It’s not the worst movie to show up in a drive-in, but not exactly one worth seeing either.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5