slaughter high | george dugdale | mark ezra | peter mackenzie litten | caroline munro | simon scuddamore | carmine iannaccone | slasher | united kingdom | thriller | harry manfredini | donna yeager | gary martin | billy hartman | michael safran | john segal
Film: Slaughter High
Director: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Mackenzie Litten
Writer: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Mackenzie Litten
Starring: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore and Carmine Iannaccone
This was a movie that I feel like I saw the cover at the one of the local video stores, but for whatever reason I never checked out. It really took podcasts to hear about it. I will admit though, it wasn’t one that really stuck with me though as I came in pretty blind. It was on my list of films to see and decided to check it out as part of Side Quest Podcast. The synopsis is eight people are invited to their old high school for their ten-year reunion where a fellow former student, disfigured from a prank gone wrong, is out to seek revenge.
We start by seeing the outside of a high school. There’s a track meet that is about to start and we cut inside. Marty (Simon Scuddamore) is a nerd who believes that he’s going to hook up with the gorgeous Carol (Caroline Munro). She takes him to the girl’s locker room and he’s leery about going in for fear of getting in trouble. She does convince him though. After he strips naked, he learns that it is a prank. It seems to be led by Skip (Carmine Iannaccone), but helping out is Stella (Donna Yeager), Joe (Gary Martin), Frank (Billy Hartman), Ted (Michael Safran), Carl (John Segal), Nancy (Kelly Baker) and Susan (Sally Cross). They’re interrupted though by a coach, Marc Smith, who punishes them with detention.
They’re quite upset about this, but aren’t done yet. A joint is given to Marty to make up for what happened. It seems like there’s seeds in it. I’ve never experienced what he is, but I’m assuming that is what is happening. It pops and causes him to go into a coughing fit. He leaves the room and Skip sneaks away. Marty is doing a chemistry experiment where Skip puts some drops of something into a mixture he’s made. It ends in disaster as an explosion happens with Marty being burned by fire as well as by nitric acid.
We then shift 10 years into the future. Carol is now an actress and her agent wants her to be in a horror movie. She declines and states she would rather go to her high school reunion. She isn’t the only one that is coming back for it. The whole gang gets back together and goes to the school like the invitation states. The problem is that the school looks condemned. It doesn’t stop them from breaking in though.
Things seem quite weird though when they find a room is set up for the crew to party. No one else from the class showed up though. They do find their old lockers have been moved into the room and inside, items of theirs that have gone missing. They also notice that Marty’s locker is there as well. As they decide to just party the night out, it takes a dark turn when they start to be killed off. It then becomes a night of terror as they try to figure out what is happening and who is doing this? Is Marty back for revenge?
That’s where I want to leave off my recap of this movie and I will say, this is a pretty fun slasher film if I’m going to be honest. It has an interesting concept that Marty was pranked on April Fools’ Day. I didn’t realize until reading trivia about this movie, it was all filmed in the United Kingdom, but pretending to be the United States. Over there, they stop celebrating at noon which explains a plot point here that I didn’t know as we celebrate the holiday all day.
Much like other slasher films, it is a bit slow to start off. We get to see what happens to Marty which I felt horrible for him, to the point where I kind of side with him if he decided to get his revenge. I like though that Skip claims that he’s been in a hospital, raving about getting his revenge since it happened. It makes me wonder if Marty is back or is it someone else doing this. We get a reveal at the end that at first I was like okay, but they try to do a twist with it. That I wasn’t the biggest fan of as it really just kind of cheapens the movie if I’m going to be honest. It feels like a troupe that was used in something like Nightmare City.
Something that I did like was the back-story, to an extent, of our characters. Carol, who is the lovely Caroline Munro, went on to be an actress. I do like that her agent wants her to be in a horror movie and she rejects it. The reason I find that funny, she is in a horror movie, but did a bunch of them throughout her career. There is an interesting little meta aspect here. None of the characters have amounted to much aside from her and Carl, who is in law school. It really seems like they were cool then, but that was their peak.
This movie though is really back-loaded with the action. It is interesting that a group chat I’m in, someone brought up how slashers aren’t that different from slow-burns. We get the initial event, but then really nothing until around the one hour mark. From there it is action packed until it ends. It is also kind of difficult to differentiate who the different characters are as well which is a bit problematic for me when it comes to slashers. They don’t do the greatest at making them distinct in my eyes. It really makes it hard when you want to write something like this as they’re going off the idea that in slashers, we want to see the kills. The greatest job isn’t done in fleshing out and making us connect with the characters, except for me where I’m rooting for the killer if he is Marty.
That’s not to say I hated the acting. Even though she was a bit old to be playing a high school student or even the age of the character, I can let it slide with Munro. This is a problem across the board is that everyone looks the same age during the high school scenes to the ‘present day’. Anyways, Scuddamore does well at playing his role of the nerd and what we see later in the movie. Iannaccone is solid as well as that jerk character who is just bullying Marty to do it. It might be interesting to flesh him out as maybe give him a reason. I understand why we don’t, as to not connect with him or the rest of the characters. They’re all fine in their own way, but it is just hard to differentiate. I really didn’t have any issues with the acting in general.
That will take me to the best part of the movie, the effects. I think they really did a solid job at putting the time and effort into what was used. They were practical and it feels like they built the movie around what they knew they could do. There’s an acid bath scene that was solid, but doesn’t make sense as to the set up. An electrocution scene which is really good and it is funny in its build up as well as some stabbings to name a few. I was surprised how well they looked to be honest. Aside from that, the cinematography was solid as well.
The last thing to go over would be the soundtrack. I was shocked to see Harry Manfredini’s name. As the movie was going on, I realized that so many of the songs are taken straight from Friday the 13th and that includes musical cues. He did seem to do an original song as the theme here. I like what was used in the movie, but I can’t give too much credit since it was just rehashed from the other movie.
Now with that said, this isn’t a great slasher film, but I did have fun with it. I like incorporating a holiday into this with April Fools’ Day and that would have been the title if not for April Fool’s Day getting the rights to the name first. This has a bit of unrealistic concept, but I can let that slide. It doesn’t do the greatest job in fleshing out the characters. The acting though was fine. The real bright spot would be the effects though. I did like they had Manfredini, but I’m bummed he really just reused music from a past movie here. I don’t think this will appear as one of my tops in the genre, but still a lesser known one that doesn’t get talked about a lot in my opinion. My rating here would be just over average.
My Rating: 6 out of 10