Ahh, High School. Parties, babes, booze – the best times of our lives, or at least that’s how it’s portrayed in all those teen comedies from the 80’s. Really, it’s full of cliques: The popular kids, the Jocks, the Preps, the Nerds, the Goths, and a lot of those groups mixed up somewhere in between. Slaughter High plays mostly on the popular kids versus the nerds stereotypes but throws a bit of a horror twist on top for something a little different.
Marty Rantzen (Simon Scuddamore – who interestingly committed suicide shortly after this film was released) is the nerdiest guy in school, and when he gets a little play from school hottie Carol (Caroline Munro), it’s boner time… or so he thinks. Instead, the group of cool kids torment him, by giving him naked swirlies and dragging him around the girl’s locker room. After their little toilet time get’s broken up by the Coach, they all get put into his fitness detention and they get physical. While they do push-ups, Marty gets to work on his Chemistry project.
While Marty is working on his forumulas, he gets stopped by Harrison and Putney, and while they half heartedly apologize, they give Marty a joint to show how sorry they really are. Of course, since they’re major league a-holes, the joint is laced with something that makes Marty sick, and while he’s off in the bathroom puking, Skip – the ringleader of the clique – sets up Marty’s chemistry experiment for failure. When Marty comes back, his project bursts into flames and a huge bottle of nitric acid splashes down onto his face. And to think, it all happened on April Fool’s day, which is coincidentally, also his birthday 🙁
10 years later, the old gang gets back together for a High School reunion at the site of their old, now closed down, High School. When they all gather there, they don’t know who sent the invitations, but decide to go in and relive old times. Instead of a huge party, when they get inside, they start getting picked off one by one by a mysterious killer, and it takes a while before they can put the puzzle together and figure out who could possibly be out for revenge.
I’m going to explain this movie with a little good news, bad news, and the bad news is gonna come first. The acting in one word: bad. Most of these people haven’t been in too much after this film, heck, the one guys killed himself – you have to wonder if this was the reason why. The story isn’t all that great either. With all these different characters, you recognize that most of them are different people, but some of them are so similar that you really can’t tell the difference. Why would you cast actors that actually look alike? And, I’ll tell you what… I don’t feel bad when any single one of them die.
They also go way too overboard on the scare fakeouts. I think there are actually more fakeouts than there are actual scares. A part that doesn’t help with the fakeouts is the music. The music overall is rotten. The same songs are used over and over again, I think Harry Manfredini the “composer” of the music in this film must have borrowed his little brother’s casio keyboard and just banged around on it while it was stuck on the organ preset for easy money. To be fair, he did throw a guitar into the theme song, so he has that going for him.
Now for the good news; the special effects, while low budget, are actually really well done. All the death scenes are pretty original, and they’re all pretty convincing. They’re all fairly inventive too. One chick gets melted in an acid bath, another couple get electrocuted while doing it… all in all not too bad.
There’s not a lot of T&A, which is something I would have expected more of in an 80’s teen film. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Caroline Munro throw hers out for at least a flash. There’s a shower scene at the beginning where she’s holding her arm across her chest – a perfect opportunity to give us all a cheap thrill. Alas, it was not to be, and I was left sad and wanting more.
So while this isn’t one of the better 80’s teen horror movies I’ve seen, it also isn’t a horrible waste of 90 minutes if these types of films are your bag. One other thing, this film also had the working title of “April Fool’s Day”, but it was later changed to Slaughter High once the makers found out that there was another film to be released later that same year by that name.
Slaughter High is available on VHS from Amazon.com