Oct 19, 2009

Final Girl Film Club - Slaughter High

Note: This post is part of the Final Girl Film Club Series.  She picks 'em and we review 'em.

The 1980's were a wonderful time for the slasher flick. Let me qualify that a little bit. The EARLY 1980's were a wonderful time for the slasher flick. By 1986 we were left with rotten tables scraps that often came in the form of turds like Slaughter High.

By this time the formula was fairly standard.  A misunderstood loner is bullied and pranked upon in High School.  Something goes horribly wrong with the prank and the kid winds up in a straight jacket or a burn ward or both.  Damaged kid returns 10 years later to enact his revenge on his tormentors in vile and disgusting ways.  Usually while wearing a silly/scary mask of some sort.

That's Slaughter High to a T.  Except for a few wonderfully awful flourishes.

This particular slasher flick was filmed in the UK.  A country generally not known for slinking to the depths of depraved slasherlishousness.  Yeah, I just made up that word.  Most of the actors were British as well, donning fake American accents.  But they couldn't be bothered to use the same regional accent.  No...that would have made sense.  Instead we have a bunch of kids who attended the same high school who sound as if they came from the deep South, NYC or, yeah...England.

So dialogue classes obviously weren't in the budget, but would it have been too much to ask for basic acting classes?  There are too many examples of awful acting in this film to mention, but if you glance through the IMDB filmographies of most of the folks in this film you will notice that Slaughter High is either the first or last acting job they ever had.  That is no coincidence.

It also wouldn't have killed the makers of this film to learn a little about the country that it was supposed to take place in.  I mean, after they went through the trouble of learning those accents and all.  The film's main storyline takes place at a 10-year High School reunion.  The 8 people invited apparently haven't kept in touch with any of their other classmates because they don't find it odd at all that they were the only ones to show up.  And it isn't odd at all that the reunion is taking place on April 1st.  The anniversary of the ridiculous prank that had to go wrong all those years ago.  Early April really isn't "reunion time" here in the US, if you know what I mean.  We prefer the summer months for basic humiliation like that.

And the odd "rules" of April Fool's Day (the original title of this film) are clearly borne not of this country.  I sat there scratching my head wondering what they meant when they said that they just had to survive until noon because that's when April Fool's Day ended.  I looked it up afterward and found that there is some truth to that in certain countries like the UK.  Not so much here in the US.  It was little things like that that made this film feel like a washed-out bad dream.

Did somebody say...dream?  Dum-dum-daaaaah!

Sorry, back to the glowing review.

There is certain something, um, captivating about the killer in this one.  A certain Marty Rantzen played by a certain Simon Skuddamore.  For my money, Simon Skuddamore is a much cooler name for a serial killer than Marty Rantzen.  And this Skuddamore character had some of his own bugaboos in real life.  That's right, I said "had".  He died of a drug overdose shortly after this film was released.  Sure, it was bad, but c'mon dude!  Anyways, imagine if life imitated art.  Maybe he isn't dead.  Maybe he faked his death and he will take his demented revenge upon the critics of his one and only opus!

Uh oh...I better say something nice about this film.  Quick!

Caroline Munro is, um, attractive!

Not a scene from Slaughter High, but you probably knew that.

I don't really know what else to say about Slaughter High.  I've covered the awful acting and the re-tread plot.  Well there was also the crappy editing, campy dialogue and shitty special effects.  So it basically had it all.  And by "had it all" I mean kill me now.  Slowly.  While wearing a jester's cap.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. All the film club coolies are doing it.


Stacie Ponder said...

Glad you liked it!


Well, at least you liked Caroline Munro. She's so cool, even when she's terrible in a terrible piece of crap.

Slyde said...

i know ive SEEN it, but i cant say as i really remember it.

For a minute there i thought you were confusing this film with APRIL FOOLS DAY, featuring the always-lovely Amy Steel. i love that film.

Verdant Earl said...

Stacie - She rocked in this one. Well, she didn't really. But she looked good. For a 36 year old playing a high school kid. Phew.

Slyde - The producers changed the name after April Fool's Day was released. And don't worry. It's not you...this film isn't memorable at all.

Hud said...

The Jester mask was pretty creepy though, the only thing that really worked!

Nice review!

Verdant Earl said...

Hud - Heya! Jesters, clowns, fools...they are always creepy.

2abes said...

saw most of these slasher films. for some reason during the teenage years these seemed like good movies. what was i thinking. btw, caroline is OK and has feet.

Verdant Earl said...

2abes - Not having feet might have been a problem for her.

justsomethoughts... said...


very nice.
i like it.