I almost turned this one off during the April Fool’s Day flashback prologue, when the popular kids prank “that stupid dork Marty” (Simon Scuddamore) by making him think he’s gonna lose his virginity to the hot girl Carol (Caroline Munro, THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, CAPTAIN KRONOS – VAMPIRE HUNTER, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MANIAC) in the girls locker room showers. Instead he finds himself naked in front of ten popular kids filming him, poking his ass with a pool stick, electrically shocking him, chanting “Where’s the beef?” and having two dudes pick him up by his thighs and dunk his head in the toilet. Real Abu Ghraib shit.
Since the coach breaks it up they come after him again when he’s staying late in the chemistry lab. They trick him into smoking a bad joint and mix up his chemicals so that they explode, which ends up causing a fire and dumping a big jar of acid (unwisely left open on the edge of a high shelf) on his face. All that is fine except the acting (especially by the nerd) is Troma-broad, without the content being as crazy, and if they’re not gonna take this at least half serious I’m not sure it’s worth my time. But when we skip to the present day it straightens up and starts acting like it’s a real horror movie, so I stuck with it.
The same group of kids show up for their 10 year high school reunion, apparently not noticing it’s odd that it’s happening on March 31st instead of around graduation time. When they get there and it’s only their group of friends that have shown up and the school is abandoned and locked up they start thinking one of them is playing a joke. But they break in and hang out, then find themselves locked in and murdered one by one in elaborate ways by Marty (or somebody) wearing a dumb looking Halloween mask and jester hat.
Although he probly didn’t quite finish high school he was an advanced chemistry student, and he seems to still enjoy it as a hobby. Or maybe he’s just a terrible at home brewing. At any rate, the beer he slips them causes this:
And then those guts explode and sprays blood all over everybody’s faces like a chestburster. Also Marty gets a bath tub to pour some type of acid that turns a girl into a burnt up skeleton like Luke Skywalker’s Aunt and Uncle. Hats off to that scene because they have a stop motion face melting shot:
Kinda crude and hand-made like the shots in THE EVIL DEAD, but that is not a criticism. This is 1 or 2 seconds that almost make the movie. Few movies wouldn’t be improved by one quick stop motion face melting shot.
It’s weird that there’s a bath tub in a school, isn’t it? I also wasn’t totally sure why there was a bed, which the killer cleverly equips for a double orgasm electrocution.
I guess maybe the groundskeeper guy lives in this room and uses that bath tub? Or he did live there, before Marty hung him up on the wall like a wreath.
Another really horrible death is when a guy is underneath a tractor trying to fix it, Marty drops it on him and turns it on, the guy is holding it up trying not to get chopped up by the spinning blade and then Marty starts slashing at his wrists. Just a mean bastard. I know they were horrible to him, but jesus. You know what, I just don’t even want to be friends with anybody who went to Slaughter High. Nobody good came out of that fucking school in my opinion. I’m glad it closed.
Carol is kinda the Final Girl, it seems like she’s supposed to be a good guy because she’s the only one who gets a scene between the prologue and the reunion. We find out that she’s a semi-famous sex symbol actress. And since she wakes up from a nightmare we know she at least has some kind of shame and/or guilt about what happened. But otherwise she’s not much of a character.
Munro was about 37 when this was filmed. It’s funny how many of them look too old to be having their 10 year high school reunion, yet they also had to pretend to be teens in the prologue. And one of them is just acting too old, she talks like some 50-something casualty of Hollywood, a burnt out Katharine Hepburn wannabe or something.
When the reunion starts and they’re wondering if it’s a joke they say that it’s not April Fool’s Day until midnight. But then when a few of them make it through the night they mention a couple times that April Fool’s Day ends at noon. I thought the writer/director trio of George Dugdale, Mark Ezra & Peter Mackenzie Litten were just making shit up to make their movie shorter, but then I looked it up and found out that that used to be the custom in England. And, upon further analysis, I realized that this was actually filmed in England with fake American accents. And they would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for nobody in the U.S. would ever stop playing cruel and dangerous pranks just because it was “midday.” Also, they wouldn’t use the word “midday.” Or have the nerd wearing a letterman’s jacket (the coats normally worn by jocks to show off their sports achievements). Or think a jester hat was cool. Unless they were a juggalo.
Wow, come to think of it this movie is kind of a kick in the balls when you realize it’s a foreign country’s idea of what Americans were like in the mid ’80s.
One thing that almost kind of somewhat redeems the movie is a pretty unusual ending. The wronged party has achieved his violent revenge, so it could be treated as some kind of gruesome justice. Instead he’s haunted by undead versions of all the people he just killed, like he will never escape the guilt of what he’s done. (But then they go for another twist ending after that that’s not as good.)
The score is by Henry Manfredini. The kinda cutesy keyboard theme is not the best but most of it is high quality and makes the stalking scenes seem more legit than they probly deserve. Also it’s kinda cool because when they do the ol’ “guy jumps out wearing a hockey mask to frighten his friends” routine he’s able to quote his own score for FRIDAY THE 13TH.
In recent years this was repackaged as part of a “Lost Collection” of ’80s movies that didn’t catch on such as MORGAN STEWART’S COMING HOME, HOMER AND EDDIE, THE NIGHT BEFORE and REPOSSESSED. I was afraid to watch it with the trivia track, which is the only real extra. The cover has a cartoon hipster mascot saying “All bow to my favorite slasher flick.” He has terrible taste. I would classify this as a bad one, but at least it’s got enough elaborate kills to not seem like a total waste.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.