Movie Adaptation of a “Best-Selling Graphic Novel” I’ve Never Heard Of

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy

I got a press release for the upcoming thriller Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, out digitally and “in select theaters” on January 13, 2017. I don’t normally pay attention to thriller press, because I’m squeamish and can’t watch movies based around people trying to kill each other in gruesome ways, but this one caught my eye because of the prominent line “based on the best-selling graphic novel series”. I was somewhat surprised that there was a “best-selling graphic novel series” I’ve never heard of — but hey, we’re living in the era of media over-saturation, and I guess no one can keep up with all the comics any more.

A little research shows that this is actually a sequel to the 2012 movie Bad Kids Go to Hell, which was based on a 2009 comic miniseries from Antarctic Press (which would explain why I’d never heard of it — their marketing is pretty non-existent and their publications usually not of interest to me). The series was written by Matthew Spradlin and Barry Wernick and illustrated by Anthony Vargas. Spradlin and Wernick also wrote the first movie, with Spradlin directing. Judd Nelson starred. It was described as The Breakfast Club, but horror.

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy

Not surprisingly, the writers wanted it to be a movie all along, but during the writers’ strike, they decided to make a comic instead. Gotta love those folks who see the comic medium as just a stepping stone to what they really want to do! The collected edition seems to be out of print. So today’s lesson is that anyone can apparently use the term “best-selling” without bothering to define it or it even being true.

Anyway, so, this sequel. Originally called Bad Kids Go 2 Hell (cute but confusing), the comic was successfully Kickstarted in 2014. The movie, renamed Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, replaces Judd Nelson with Sean Astin as Headmaster Nash. Sammi Hanratty plays the lead. Other cast members you may have heard of include Gina Gershon, Drake Bell, and Ben Browder (Farscape), returning from the first film. He also directed.

Spradlin is apparently no longer involved, with Wernick co-writing the screenplay with James R. Hallam. Here’s the description and trailer:

A group of spoiled “bad kids” have been placed in Saturday detention at the prestigious Crestview Academy. After one of the kids locks away their teacher, they find themselves trapped in school with no way out, wondering who (or what) set them up. Their ranks quickly dwindle as each falls victim to a gruesome “accident” while trying to escape.

This all looks like the kind of thing you would have found going direct to videotape years ago, but with all the new distribution methods, good for them.

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