Bad teen film unredeemed by aspirations toward significance. Alienated Mark Hunter (Christian Slater) is a legend in his Arizona hometown as a result of a ham-operated pirate radio program he broadcasts each night. Calling himself "Hard Harry," Mark entertains his listeners by aurally
simulating masturbation. In between orgasms, he serves as a kind of combination Dr. Joyce Brothers/Timothy Leary to classmates oppressed by burgeoning gonads and the crazed machinations of their ruthless principal, Mrs. Cresswood (Annie Ross). Eventually, Mark's inflammatory broadcasts send the
entire burg into an uproar that becomes a media circus.
PUMP UP THE VOLUME has a smarmy, laboriously "with it" aura that betrays its creators' cynicism. Mark's improbable sermons are hysterical, empty rants that pander to narcissistic teenage anomie, and a homosexual's suicide is wrung shamelessly for cheap pathos. Walt Lloyd's photography puts an MTV
gloss over everything, as does the uninspired rock music score. Any visual rhythm that might have transpired from the use of songs by Bad Brains, Cowboy Junkies, Henry Rollins, Peter Murphy, or the Pixies is shattered by Mark's constant, abrupt interruption of the music to pontificate. leave a comment