|Directed by||Mark Ezra|
|Produced by||Dick Randall|
|Written by||Mark Ezra|
|Music by||Harry Manfredini|
|Edited by||Jim Connock|
|Spectacular Trading International|
|Distributed by||Vestron Pictures|
|Release date(s)||*November 14, 1986 (United States)|
|Running time||91 minutes|
Title: Slaughter High (AKA 'April Fool's Day')
Release Date: November 14th, 1986
Tagline: "Marty majored in cutting classmates."
Slaughter High (1986) is an english/american slasher film. Eight different people are invited to their 10-year high school reunion at their now-closed down high school where a former student, disfigured from a prank gone wrong, is there to seek revenge.
The day begins with a popular student, Carol Manning (Caroline Munro), jokingly asking Marty Rantzen (Simon Scuddamore), the school nerd, to have sex with her in the women's locker room. After he removes his clothes, Marty is surprisingly exposed to a group of students who tease him in several ways, including jabbing at his crotch with a javelin, giving him an electric shock and dunking his head into a toilet bowl. This prank ends when the students' coach comes in to find out what is happening.
The students are forced to perform a vigorous workout in the gymnasium. Still, two students give Marty a marijuana joint laced with poison, which he smokes in the science lab where he is working on a chemistry project. The joint makes him so sick he runs to the men's room to vomit. While he is gone, Skip, one of the popular kids, rigs the experiment to explode in Marty's face.
Upon Marty's return, the set-up works, causing Marty to panic, and a great fire to erupt in the lab after he knocks over a Bunsen burner. In the struggle, Marty accidentally bumps into a shelf where a precariously placed jug of acid sits, causing the jug to fall and break, which splashes acid on Marty's face, leaving him horribly disfigured. The sound attracts the attention of the students, who stand by the door in shock. As Marty is taken away on a stretcher into an ambulance, Carol approaches Marty on the stretcher to apologize, but Marty grabs her by the neck. She screams and wakes up in bed.
It is suddenly 10 years later, Carol, now a rich and successful actress, gets a phone call from Manny her agent who tries to convince her to appear in another movie. Susan (Sally Cross) visits Carol and tells her that the she recently engaged and will try to make it for the class reunion later. Soon, everyone behind the prank are invited back to the school for a reunion. Upon arriving, they discover that the campus was shuttered years ago and the building is in disrepair, awaiting demolition. They begin to think that one of the former students was behind the invitations, but everyone denies it.
They decide to break into the school to hang out and drink alcohol, and come across a room containing their old school lockers, which to their surprise are filled with their old belongings. They notice Marty's old locker, and the alumni begin questioning what happened to him after the prank-gone-awry. Skip tells them that Marty is doing fine and probably forgot all about what happened. He has supposedly been in a mental institution.
The first victim is the caretaker, his head impaled on a coat peg and his arm nailed to a door by a mysterious killer dressed like a jester. Meanwhile, Carl tells Ted to show everyone how to "sink a beer" and Ted demonstrates. Suddenly, Ted gets sick, his stomach pops wide open and some of his innards are exposed. The "beer" is actually a lethal acid. Everyone screams and runs away except Shirley who stands in shock with some of Teds blood splashed onto her face. After Ted's death, Carl goes to activate Carol's car to go find help, however the Jester kills Carl by impaling him through the driver's seat. Back in the school building, Shirley goes to the locker room and gets in a tub to wash off the blood she has on her. When she turns on the faucet for water, acid fills the tub instead and she screams. Several people run in and find Shirley's skeleton in the tub, realizing that Marty has returned, bent on revenge from the accidental prank.
Afterwards, Susan arrives for being late for the reunion and she walks in through the front door which is unlocked and sees a life-size picture of Marty at the end of the hallway. Soon, hands punch through the poster and she appears off-screen. Inside, Joe finds a tractor and works on it, in hopes to escape the school by plowing through the doors and begins to work on it. Soon, the Jester visits Joe, as Joe is underneath the tractor. The Jester kicks the jack away and starts up the tractor as Joe is still underneath while the tractor's running blades being to run underneath. Seeing Joe under the tractor, Joe tries to hold up the tractor, but the Jester cuts Joe's arms with a folding knife and soon, the tractor falls on Joe and Joe is killed by the tractor's running blades. After Joe's demise, the Jester goes to where Stella and Frank are at, while having sex and the Jester electrocutes them both by hooking cables to the bed.
Later on, Nancy goes to check on Joe and finding him dead, and runs off to tell Skip and Carol. They also find Stella and Frank dead and Skip screams out into the hallways for Marty to show himself. Nancy becomes upset, blaming Skip and Carol for everything that has led to Marty's accident, and Carol calms her down. As morning arrives, Skip wakes up and heads into the hallway, where he is grabbed. Despite not knowing where Skip went, Carol explains to Nancy that if Marty is behind all of the occurring murders, they just have to wait until April 1 which ends at noon which is the time Marty is disfigured and they only need one hour. Meanwhile, Skip wakes up and find himself hanging from a rope. He tries to shake himself free until the rope comes loose and he falls. Carol and Nancy look around and realize that all the corpses are gone. The hear a noise and walk into a room with a video playing of the shower prank. Nancy sees her photograph marked out in a nearby yearbook and she runs. Nancy then falls in a cesspit and tries to use a metal pipe to pull herself up, but the Jester knocks her back into the cesspit and the Jester leaves.
Back in the building, Carol finds the caretaker dead and hides in the girls locker room and hears a noise. She finds blood in one of the toilets and she flushes it, only to have it overflow. She picks up a baseball bat and during the process, she finds Susan's body, hanged and having her throat slit. She runs in the hallway, only for the Jester to bust through the life-sized poster of Marty and Carol manages to beat down the Jester with the baseball bat. Soon, the Jester picks up the bat and searches in the hallways for Carol. As Carol continues to run downstairs to the auditorium and hides onstage, the Jester exchanges the baseball bat for the javelin and heads to the onstage and the Jester shoves his javelin through the curtain, which nearly misses Carol.
Carol runs into a room, where she finds a hatchet and she hides in the room, as the Jester still continues into the hallways to find Carol. Hearing footsteps, Carol swings the hatchet, mistakenly slamming the hatchet in Skip's face, which also reveals that Skip survived his hanging. After having the Jester punching through a hallway glass window to grab her, Carol runs into a hallway, where the Jester tries to grab her again, but pushing the Jester through a window and landing in a gym floor. Carol thinking the Jester is dead, she throws his javelin to him and soon escapes. Seeing that it is now noon, the Jester gets back up with the javelin and proceeds his searching.
As Carol proceeds into another hallway, Carol continues to run as the Jester runs at her with the javelin. Having to flee from the Jester, she escapes into the girl's locker room, inside the stall where the prank all started in. The Jester breaks in and finds Carol in the shower stall and pulls aside the curtain. The Jester is finally revealed to be indeed only, but Marty himself, revealing his disfigured face and all deranged and bent on revenge. Laughing, Marty impales Carol with the javelin through her stomach, finally completing his revenge.
After taking off all of the Jester clothing that he had during his killings, Marty relaxes for completing his revenge and walks in the hallway until he begins to hear voices calling his name. Marty then sees all of his murdered victims in the forms of revenants and all of the victims chase after him chanting his name over and over again as they chase and corner him in the auditorium.
Marty screams and finds Marty waking up in a mental hospital, restrained to a bed and wearing bandages on his face, having in fact dreamed the events of the reunion massacre and that Marty had out of wishing revenge against all those who caused his disfigurement. As a doctor arrives into Marty's hospital room, the nurse turns around, only to shock that Marty is wearing the nurse's clothing while the nurse is laying dead in the bed. Marty then shoves the syringe into the doctor's eye, killing him and the film ends with Marty then tears off half of his face with his bandages as well and he escapes the hospital, vowing to find and kill those who caused his disfigurement as the screen fades to black. - (from wiki)
- Simon Scuddamore, who plays the film's killer, committed suicide shortly after production of the film.
- The film was shot in England, and many of the actors use fake American accents.
- Producers initially intended to call the film April Fool's Day, but renamed it after learning of Paramount Pictures's slasher film of the same title scheduled for release the same year.
- The score was composed by Harry Manfredini, of Friday the 13th fame.
- Much of the gore was cut prior to release to obtain an R rating. For its video premiere, the distributor Vestron Video released both the censored theatrical version and an unrated version that contained the excised violence.
- Holds a 5.0/10.0 rating on imdb (as of summer 2014)
Simon Scuddamore as Marty Rantzen
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.
- RareSlashersReviewed from London 23 February 2004
Cast & CreditsEdit
- Caroline Munro as Carol Manning
- Simon Scuddamore as Marty Rantzen
- Carmine Iannaconne as Skip Pollack
- Donna Yeager as Stella
- Gary Martin as Joe
- Billy Hartman as Frank
- Michael Saffran as Ted Harrison
- John Segal as Carl Putney
- Kelly Baker as Nancy
- Sally Cross as Susan
- Josephine Scandi as Shirley
- Marc Smith as Coach
- Dick Randall as Manny
- Jon Clark as Digby