Bring on the terror: Three horror moments in teen comedy Bring It On


Horror is a part of life, we can’t avoid dark moments, no matter how we try. All types of films have bits of horror in them even a silly teen comedy.

Horror is everywhere. We can find moments of horror in dozens of unlikely films, from drama to teen comedy, and used sparingly, it can add dimension to the story.

Examples of ‘horror’ jokes can be found in many mainstream films, even the teen classic cheerleading film Bring It On had some crass horror jokes written in it.

Although Bring It On has some problematic jokes (typical of the period), the script was way ahead of its time in 2000, as it featured POC in strong roles, calling out white privilege. It also featured cheerleaders talking in Satanic voices! What?

Here are three horrific moments in Bring It On, currently streaming on HBO, that would be at home in a Joe Bob Brigg’s exploitation film:

Good Christian Girls Fear Satan 

Torrance, the perky, girl-next-door type played by Kirsten Dunst, tells her new friend that she’s cursed. She’s cursed because she dropped the “spirit stick” at the finales the year before, which incurred the wrath of the secret cheerleading demon-world.

In the flashback, the midwest cheerleaders look at Torrance in disbelief after she drops the stupid spirit stick (painted Red, White & Blue) since dropping the stick is a major faux pax. One of the cheerleaders growls at her in a demonic voice, “The person who drops the spirit stick GOES STRAIGHT TO HADES.”

This is a Satanic joke in a teen comedy about cheerleaders — it’s not a horror flick called: ALL CHEERLEADERS GO TO HELL. The jokes in Bring It On aren’t your typical one-liners, some of them are weird…considering that it’s a basic teen flick in the early 2000s.

Bloody Bloody Cheerleader

At the finals, one of the cheerleaders from a competing team has an accident during a combination. We see her friend consoling her and then the camera cuts to her injured face — blood is streaming out of her nose, covering her chin in gore. Her friend says, “uh…now, let’s go find your tooth.”

It’s a gross moment that surprises us: we weren’t expecting to see a perky cheerleader covered in blood. And it’s framed as a joke…a dark joke about how athletic cheerleaders are and the price they pay for flipping upside down.

Vomit Your Guts Out 

More from Horror Movies

Similar to The Exorcist, infamous for pea-soup vomit, a nervous cheerleader in Bring It On blows monster chunks after her coach tells her to smile. When she hears that the most important thing is to remember to smile, she vomits right in her smug coach’s face. She pukes her innards out, drenching the woman in white bile.

It’s a wonderfully nasty moment in a feel-good teen comedy and seemingly out-of-place: why show a cheerleader puking? Aren’t puke close-ups limited to body horror films?

Because there’s something funny about seeing a cheerleader puke, like the nun puking in The Amityville Horror.  In retrospect, it’s making fun of the annoying tendency some people have to tell women to smile.

The two gross-out scenes were placed near the end of the film, when the hero, Torrance is at her wit’s end as the captain of the team, mirroring the hero’s tension and fear of failure.

A good horror film has subtle and/or blatant jokes throughout the story to balance the tone, which is very much like life: we make jokes during tense situations or moments when we are sad or frightened.

So it’s not surprising that a well-written, smart teen comedy like Bring It On (written by Jessica Bendinger) would have moments of horror, here and there, in the script…for what is more horrific than adolescence? Besides clothing style in the early 2000s?

Next. The Conjuring 3 begins shooting. dark

Do you like horror tropes? Do you hate 90s teen films? What cheerleading horror films have you seen? Please let know in the comments below!