6.2/10
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138 user 106 critic

April Fool's Day (1986)

Nine college students staying at a friend's remote island mansion begin to fall victim to an unseen murderer over the April Fool's Day weekend.

Director:

Fred Walton

Writer:

Danilo Bach
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jay Baker ... Harvey
Pat Barlow Pat Barlow ... Clara
Lloyd Berry ... Ferryman
Deborah Foreman ... Muffy / Buffy
Deborah Goodrich ... Nikki
Tom Heaton ... Constable Potter / Uncle Frank
Leah Pinsent ... Nan (as Leah King Pinsent)
Mike Nomad Mike Nomad ... Buck
Ken Olandt ... Rob
Griffin O'Neal ... Skip
Clayton Rohner ... Chaz
Amy Steel ... Kit
Thomas F. Wilson ... Arch
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Storyline

A group of eight college friends gather together at an island mansion belonging to heiress Muffy St. John to celebrate their final year of school. They soon discover that each has a hidden secret from their past which is revealed, and soon after, they turn up dead. Yet, are they really dead? Or is it just part of some very real and cruel April Fool's jokes? The hostess, Muffy, is the only one who apparently knows what's going on. But then again, is it really her doing the killing? Written by Losman <losman@express-news.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Last one out's... a goner. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El día de los inocentes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,373,779, 30 March 1986, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$12,947,763
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actress Deborah Foreman utilized "Sheryl Lee-like features and facial expressions" according to Allmovie. See more »

Goofs

When Muffy says "I'm never going to forget this weekend as long as I live", Deborah Foreman isn't moving her mouth at all. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Nikki: My name is Mary O'Reilly O'Toole O'Shea. Somewhere out there is the island my friend Muffy owns. It's spring break and she's invited us over there for the weekend and we're waiting for the ferry now to take us there, and... I don't know what else to say.
Chaz: [voice] Why don't you tell us something about yourself?
Nikki: Oh, all right, something about myself. Um, I wanna work with handicapped children, and my parents are my best friends. Oh, and I start convent school next semester... and I ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Swedish version, released on video in 1987, omits all violent scenes to a point of absurdity making characters disapear from the story with no logical explanation. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 'Halloween': A Cut Above the Rest (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Also sprach Zarathustra
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Strauss
Portion hummed by Thomas F. Wilson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well constructed mystery, fun and memorable
14 November 2001 | by hippiedjSee all my reviews

April Fool's Day has just the right smarts about it that it holds up extremely well, even all these years later. While the cast may be youthful, the characters and story set this film way above "teen" slasher or horror flicks. Mainly, because this is really a mystery in the vein of Ten Little Indians.

It's a good thing I saw this film in a theatre when it was first released in 1986 -- because the VHS cover has something on it that would have kept me AWAY if I had not seen the film already: "It's just what you'd expect from the producer who brought you Friday the 13th -- Parts Two, Three, Four, and Five." You just can't put April Fool's Day in the same category as those films! This is far superior in story and intelligence. It's clever, well-written, and has great characters that you like even if they are not so nice! These days it seems it's more important to find the most popular actors, and that is usually distracting and doesn't guarantee a good film. April Fool's Day had lesser known stars for that time (Deborah Foreman, Amy Steel, Clayton Rohner, Griffin O'Neal) and that worked as an advantage.

The basic premise of a group of college students stuck on an island in a big house and one by one they disappear, yes, it's been done in many variations before. But the clever execution of the story, red herrings, and the underrated Deborah Foreman's delightful portrayal of Muffy/Buffy all make for a really fun viewing experience. Foreman has just the right amount of sweetness and can go right into being just plain quirky with such ease. The touch of having dolls on the dinner table, sort of like name tags, will bring a giggle and a smile for sure!

One plus for this film is the fact that it didn't sink into the tiring T & A route. Sure, a few of the characters have sex on the brain but their actions and dialogue never really wander off into the gratuitous area. Guys, if you really want lots of breasts than just go ahead and get some porn or a Playboy video, okay? Let the rest of us enjoy a good story once in a while!

After the body count rises and things escalate into a tense and frenzied chase through the house, you'll be surprised at what happens next. April Fool's Day is one of the few films of this kind that actually had a very surprising reveal and I was even caught off guard, left with my jaw agape at what the whole deal was about. The BIG surprise just happens so...abruptly, that you feel just like the character that runs into the room -- just stuck for a second! After about 90 minutes of mystery, the payoff BETTER be good, and sure enough, this one doesn't disappoint! I'm especially thrilled to have picked up the eerie soundtrack by Charles Bernstein on vinyl when it first came out, and to this day love to give it a spin on the turntable.

Paramount has a vast library of films that just NEED to be given great treatment on DVD, and I'm crossing my fingers that films like April Fool's Day, Let's Scare Jessica To Death, and Polanski's film The Tenant will be given their glory. >


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