Pump Up the Volume is a 1990 teen drama film written and directed by Allan Moyle (Empire Records, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Times Square, and The Rubber Gun). It was produced by Sara Risher (A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Alone in the Dark, Critters, My Demon Lover, Hairspray, Surf Ninjas, Blink, Last Man Standing, and Wrongfully Accused). John Cusack was the original choice for the lead but he turned down the role. It was nominated and won several awards including the Golden Space Needle Award for best film. It grossed $11.5 million in the states during it’s theatrical run.
Mark Hunter (played by: Christian Slater from Mr. Robot, True Romance, Heathers, Very Bad Things, Young Guns II, Tales from the Dark Side, The Legend of Billie Jean, and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay), a high school student in Arizona starts an FM pirate radio station that broadcasts from the basement of his parents’ house. Mark is a loner and an outsider in real life but on his his unauthorized radio station he becomes a complete different person as the DJ under the name “Hard Harry” or “Happy Harry Hard-on”. His station theme song is “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen and it gets his show started every night when he comes on air. He plays a variety of hip and outlandish variety of music while giving his controversial views on life to his teenage audience. His the true identity is a mystery until fellow student Nora Diniro (played by: Samantha Mathis from Broken Arrow, Super Mario Bros, American Psycho, The Strain, and The Thing Called Love) tracks him down at school and confronts him about regular listener Malcolm’s (played by: Anthony Lucero from Coldfire, Boy Wonders, Molder of Dreams, and Cowboy Up) suicide after threatening it on the air with him the night before.
This causes chaos in the community between the kids, the parents, and faculty at the school lead by principal Loretta Creswood (played by: Annie Ross from Basket Case 2/3, Witchery, Superman 3, and Short Cuts). Mark starts to doubt his inspiration on today’s youth and considers ending his popular radio show. Popular student and high achieving student Paige Woodward (played by: Cheryl Pollak from My Best Friend Is a Vampire, The Dark Side of the Sun, and Melrose Place) does her own demonstration after being inspired by Mark’s show. Everyone else starts to follow that and it gets dangerous for the mysterious radio personality. Mark Hunter decides to let Nora Diniro into his secretive life and everything changes for him. Will he stop his freedom or speech? or Will his words inspire more madness in his community????Pump Up the Volume is one of the best teen films from the 90’s. It’s full of freedom of speech and teenage angst. The script is one of the better movies from that time when it came to a younger audience. It really made you think and it created some important debates when it came to the youth of the nation. It has a great balance of humor, drama, and a little suspense. Christian Slater is one of my all time favorite actors and this is one of his most iconic roles in his entire career. Not sure if I would call this his best performance of all time but it’s definitely in his top 3 no matter what. It’s one of the most impressive teen portrayals when it comes to cinema, Slater has so much charisma here.
I really appreciate his dual performance in this because honestly Mark Hunter and the DJ are two completely different people in Pump Up the Volume. I fall in love with Samantha Mathis every time that I watch this, she is great in this and she really pushes Mark to become his real self after hiding out all that time. It has a good supporting cast with a few familiar faces in it like Annie Ross, Seth Green (IT), Lin Shaye (There’s Something About Mary), Scott Paulin (Teen Wolf), and Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors). It has an awesome dark high school atmosphere to it and the soundtrack is top notch. I still think about this film every time I hear most of them on the radio. This one is very fun and beyond entertaining, it has amazing replay value to it. Thanks to the great folks at Warner Archive, it’s finally available on blu ray. It belongs in everyone’s collection, it’s a must own. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from the Warner Archive Collection! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is a huge upgrade compared to the older DVD and VHS home video releases. It’s the best that Pump Up the Volume has ever looked anywhere. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is top notch and it’s a massive improvement over all the past home video releases. The amazing soundtrack is the true highlight here and it sounds awesome on this blu ray. All of the dialogue is very clean and the high school madness is elevated here. It has English SDH subtitles. The only extra on the disc is the “Theatrical Trailer”. It’s available everywhere next week including at MovieZyng.com, CHECK IT OUT!!!!Buy it right now @ https://www.moviezyng.com/pump-up-the-volume-bd50-dvd-christian-slater/883929737116