An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
After a high school track runner, named Laura, suddenly dies from a heart attack after finishing a 30-second 200-meter race, a killer wearing a sweat suit and a fencing mask begins killing off her friends on the school track team one by one. The suspects include the track coach Michaels, Laura's sister Anne who arrives in town for the funeral, the creepy school principal Mr. Guglione, and Laura's strange boyfriend Kevin. Written by
If you love late seventies and early eighties horror/terror/thriller/slasher flicks, this one is a must see. It is in the same league as "Prom Night" and "Hell Night". "Graduation Day" captures a feeling, a mood, a place in time that only exists in the imagination. The music, the acting, the camera work, the characters are a way we can remember 1981. Movies simply don't have the qualities of "Graduation Day" anymore. There are rough edges here. There are simple characters and characters that are not fully developed. Is Ann, the victim's sister, a lesbian? This is only touched on a little during the story. Why doesn't the police office who investigates the disappearance of the victims dislike schools? How did the principal and his secretary begin their affair and what keeps it going? A scene in which a beheading takes place is intercut with a girl rollerskating who likes a lot like the Alice character from "Friday the 13th". As the initiated know, Alice beheaded Mrs. Voorhees. Was this scene a nod to "Friday the 13th"? Has anyone noticed this scene? What happened to Kevin's parents? Does he live alone with his crazy grandmother? They really don't make them like this anymore. I'm not sure if anyone even tries. "Scream" was said to have paid homage to "Graduation Day" and several other movies of that era. I am going to watch it again while keeping that statement in mind. "Graduation Day" is the real deal. Of all the "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" clones it is one of the highest caliber. Christopher George, Patch McKenzie and the guy from "Fame" (I think) lend star quality. Today's independent films try to capture the spirit of movies like this.
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