Traveling by train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, a woman--recently released from psychiatric care--is accused of the murder of a woman found dead in her compartment. Arrested and taken... See full summary »
While trying to understand a frightening reoccurring nightmare, a pledge is coaxed into breaking into her father's department store by her sorority sisters, where a deranged killer targets the girls and their boyfriends.
A group of popular students play a cruel prank on a shy nerd resulting in a terrible accident. Years later a reunion is held where each of the students face a stalker killer who may be the same nerd out for revenge.Written by
Tongue in cheek slasher with a tragically macabre history...
Producers Steve Minasian and Dick Randall certainly had an extreme flirtation with the slasher genre when it was finding its fortune in the peak years. Their credits include perhaps two of the most bizarre and blood-soaked movies of the early eighties, Pieces and Don't open til Christmas. This was their last joint venture into the kingdom of stalk and slash and it was probably their finest hour. Carolin Munro (that name always makes me giggle, I'm not trying to be Marilyn Monroe sir, Honest!) returns to what she does best well, gets most work from! Yes, she was the buxom beauty queen stalked by Joe Spinnell in both Maniac and Fanatic and she also made a somewhat brief appearance in the aforementioned Christmas-set hacker. Having discovered a themed-calendar date that had not yet been knifed/slashed/pickaxed, the movie was initially going to be called April Fools Day. But Frank Manucuso Jnr, the producer most famous for his work with the later Friday the 13ths, must've just beat them to the copyright for his flick of the same title. On the cover this claims that it too was from the makers of the Voorhees series, only I'm not quite sure how much truth can be found in that statement. If Minasian did have any involvement at all, it wasn't credited ANYWHERE, which hardly makes him worthy to call himself the maker'.
The premise is even more archetypal than the category it so lovingly frequents. Marty Rantzen is the school nerd that suffers a constant barrage of bullying from a troupe of (middle-aged!) students, which includes the beautiful Carol (Munro) and the joker of the pack Skip (Carmine Lannacconne). He emphasis the fact by wearing a Jester's mask that we know from the off will reappear later for more sinister reasons! As if you hadn't already guessed, one April fools day they go too far and Marty ends up horrendously disfigured and transferred to a loony bin for lifelong imprisonment. You wanted by the book plotting? Well check this out: Five years later, the culprits are all invited to a reunion on their now abandoned campus, but no one knows who planned it (take a guess!). Almost as soon as they enter, the caretaker is nailed to the door by a nut-nut in the Jester's mask and soon they each find curious reasons to wander off and suffer gory deaths at the hands of the masked maniac
Most of these actors' are as English as the Tower of London, but try to convince us that they're American, which would explain their humorous accents switching between UK and US more times in 85 minutes than British airways do in a year. Cars are given foreign number plates, but there's no disguising the location's obvious English heritage. Ex-Bond babe Munro hasn't improved her characterization since the last time she was stalked by a maniac killer and by 1985, she was looking a little too mature' to be a Hi-school teen. I'd love to know how she managed to wake up early in the morning with perfect hair and make-up too, but hey, I guess we're not supposed to ask questions like that and she did bring some much-needed beauty to the movie. Most of her support were outright first-timers, flat as a punctured tyre with no thread of speech pattern. But Simon Scuddamore and Carmine Lannaccone kept up the camp spirit - if little else. The really obscure thing about Slaughter High was undoubtedly Dick Randall's brief cameo appearance. Surrounded by posters from his previous hits' (hey, there's Pieces!), he proves that his flair for dramatics was even worse than his taste for production.
There's fun to be had in the inventive murders that involve disembowelment by a tractor engine, exploding intestines and death by drowning in a bog of mud! (?) Perhaps the dumbest of the bunch was when one girl decides to take a bath after the blood from her friend's bursting guts sprays all over her face (Well, isn't that exactly what you'd do?) She climbs in the tub and turns on the taps and suddenly the water rushes in to boiling acid. Does she simply step out of the basin to save herself from scalding or does she stay seated until she completely melts into a bloodied skeleton? Yep, you guessed it Perhaps on this occasion the killer actually did her a favour! Director George Dugdale shows very little potential in his directorial debut. His biggest mistake was relinquishing the usually redeeming stalking set pieces for rushed murders that lack any suspense or tension. His efforts at jump-scares were too slowly framed and he lacks the skill shown in the early additions to the series that he so desperately emulates. The ghost-like apparitions that pop-up as the runtime draws to a close were indeed silly and pointless, but if you keep watching they at least give us an explanation for their needless appearance. Harry Manfredini hasn't so much mimicked his score from Friday the 13th as simply cut and pasted it, which is no real mean feat, but at times it felt as if we were watching a (less competent) sequel instead of a completely different movie.
The most macabre thing about Slaughter High, is the fact that actor Simon Scuddamore tragically took his own life soon after it was released. It's a real shame, because he was probably the most talented guy in the picture. The reason(s) for his suicide are unknown, but watching him play the role with his tongue stuck firmly in cheek and clearly disguising the problems that he may/may not have been suffering at the time, makes his performance look far more credible. It also gives the film a somewhat morbid air of mystery as to why he chose to end his life at a time when he should've been celebrating. What is questionable, is why no tribute was added to the closing credits in memory of the deceased star? Perhaps the reason being that it had already been transferred to video when news of his suicide was announced.
Although it lacks the polish of the flicks it obviously wants to be classed alongside, this is still a great deal of fun. The unrated versions give some visually amusing splatter, even if it's nowhere near as gory as the producer's previous bloodstained offerings. The overall campiness spoils any chance of fear and it's a little too under-written even for a slasher flick, but it does manage to keep interests raised without ever becoming boring and it doesn't take itself too seriously. The net result is a movie that succeeds in doing exactly what it set out to. Have some fun and kill a few deserving victims along the way! It's as routine as brushing your teeth, but it gains credibility for accepting with warm embrace the knowledge that it's nothing more than that.
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