Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Here's the f*cking beef!: Slaughter High (1986)

Slaughter High (AKA "April Fools Day") (1986)
starring: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore and Carmine Iannaccone

There's no denying my love for this bad cheese. The moment I watched it from beginning to end, the moment I saw the kills and the deserving shmuckos in this avenging tale of a wronged nerd was definitely my prime cut. Bad in everyway, but deliciously guilty of pleasure, Slaughter High gets an A for Absurdity and Feisty Gouda!

Marty Rantzen (Simon Scuddamore in his last and only acting role before his death by drug O.D. God rest him.) is the king of nerds at Doddsville High, everything from straight As, thick glasses, bad hair, and zero sense of style. Worse? His birthday falls on April 1. So when he thinks he finally stroked luck in its pelvis and getting a piece of his sexy classmate, Carol Manning (Caroline Munro, in her 30s and playing a teenager... ), it went off shamefully at him when, as Marty, butt-naked, finds himself pranked by his class, who repeatedly shout ‘Where’s the beef?’, electrocutes him and dunked his head into the toilet bowl.

The caper wasn't gone unnoticed, however, when the school coach caught them and decided to call all responsible for this into the gym for punishment, giving the grateful nerd his one shred of decency some time with himself and his experiments. As if it's Marty's fault, two degenerates decided to pull one last joke on him as revenge; After giving Marty a fake roll of weed that had him running to the toilet to throw up, one of the pranksters sneaks into the lab and pours a powder into one of Marty's experiments, thereof placed on a burner. The beaker explodes upon Marty's return, a fire erupts, causing the poor chap to hit a shelf, knocking down a bottle of Nitric Acid from  atop and into the table, spilling the contents to his face and rendering him flammable. The rest of the class arrive in time to see him surrounding by flames and screaming in pain. After being taken to a stretcher, with his burnt face covered in bandages, they never saw him again...

Ten years later , a high school reunion is held at the abandoned campus, with suspiciously only those who were responsible for the prank invited. Finding a single room lit, with streamers and beer, in all the dust and cobwebs and your old old lockers stuffed with high school memorabilia may not be as inviting as it is, but when guts explode open and a psycho in a jester mask (the same one the bullies wore on that fateful day) began to crucify mysteriously present janitors, it could only mean that Marty has come back for revenge! (Hallelujah!)

Slaughter High is probably the most basic example of what a slasher film is, only pushed up to the max with over-the-top gore, crazy nudity and the dumbest victims to ever picked off one-by-one. They're more deserving to die as it is, being bullies to begin with, the cast, save Munro, felt no sympathy whatsoever to poor Marty. Even when they grew up, they ho-hum their responsibilities to the accident and, curiously, wasn't exactly fazed from the fact that they're starting to die, one by one! (Just because you got dirty from all the splattered blood from your friend's exploding gut, or that the killer's not seen for a while, that doesn't mean you have to take a shower soon after, or have sex! Why would you even have sex when you're trapped in a dusty abandoend campus with a killer on the loose?! You dumb shmucks!!!!)

This could be the very reason why this film is so loved and hated; depending on how seriously you could take a film, Slaughter High falls between straight slasher to poking fun at the cliches of the sub-genre itself. The acting is atrocious beyond sympathy, plot resembles the creative writing of a five year old and a production that looked cheap and amateruish, with Harry Manfredini, who worked on Friday the 13ths as the film's scorer, providing familiar sounding tunes that winks at us Jason fans. Nevertheless, Slaughter High proves to be enjoyable enough that it can be forgiven for its shortcomings. It even has one of the better villains to come out of the sub-genre, wearing a creepy old man's face with a jester hat on top with his bells jingling in each step, the killer nerd Marty speaks to us at some way as both a troubled youth and a powerful monster that warns bullies not to dish it to the little. His only flaw, however, is that he's guilty enough to suffer some serious brain damage, making him a rather pathetic, but sympathetic killer behind the mask and cheese. The remaining half of the film gave a good run at everything that an open-minded, or to least, an easily satisfied, fan could enjoy. If the messy kills aren't enough to bring you delight, then the workable cat-and-mouse chase scene at the near end maybe your cup of tea.

It also features one of the most confusing endings; open to interpretations, it's not as bad as one might believe it would be if yer willing to flex some brain power.

Slaughter High's all about taste: for some, it's that little stain you wished was gone in the world, while for some, it's the very slasher film itself. You will either love or hate it, a horror film with that much cheese can't be all that bad! Let lose and go crazy!

1 male had his nape pierced into coat hook, crucified
1 male ingests acid, guts explodes
1 male javelin through chest
1 female bathe in acid, melted to the bones
1 male shredded with tractor blades
1 male and 1 female electrocuted while copulating
1 female drowned in sewage
1 female found dead, hanging upside down
1 male accidentally hit in the face with hatchet
1 female javelin to chest
1 female killed (method not seen)
1 male syringe to eye
total: 13

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