George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten
George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten
Caroline Munro as Carol
Simon Scuddamore as Marty
Carmine Iannaccone as Skip
Donna Yaeger as Stella
Gary Martin as Joe
Billy Hartman as Frank
Mark Saffran as Ted
By Ronnie Angel
Well, as the old adage goes – you can’t spell slaughter without laughter. This definitely seems to ring true with the little cult slasher flick from the 80s, Slaughter High. Love it? Hate it? Love to hate it perhaps? Hate to love it maybe? This one really has me torn in many ways. On one hand, it’s a cool movie to watch if you just try not to think. However, on the other hand when you try thinking about many of the things that happen throughout the film and try to make sense of them, you will be in for a hell of a headache and many unintentional laughs.
Okay, here’s the basic rundown: Marty was the uber nerd back in high school complete with pocket protector and taped glasses, that everyone used to pick on. At the beginning we see the cool kids (actually, it seems they were the ONLY kids at the school…. and I use the term “kid” loosely here) humiliate a naked Marty and give him a swirly, just when the poor kid thought he was gonna get some pie for once.
Their next prank involves the guys trying to make it up to Marty by giving him a joint laced with something. What is it exactly that he smokes? Dog shit like in Return to Sleepaway Camp? Perhaps. After trying to smoke it in the oddest way I have ever seen (and they all smoke like that in the movie!) and getting sick, then trying to put out a fire the other kids started, he accidentally knocks over an open beaker of acid kept on top of a rickety wooden shelf (remember kids, safety first!) which horribly scars him and leads to him living out his days in a hospital bed. Good times!
So, fast forward several years, and we meet the gang again all grown up. They all have received invitations to come to a special April Fool’s Day reunion at the school (and no one thought that as odd?). When they arrive though, it looks as if the school must have shut down the day they graduated, because it is a ghost town. After reuniting, they find their way into the spooky old high school, where lo and behold, they find a party set up for them! Soon enough though, we find that little deformed Marty has gone apeshit crazy over the years and is the one who set up the whole reunion, just so he can merrily slaughter all of his past tormenters. What follows is a pretty standard slasher flick with some really cool innovative things and also…. some real head scratching stupid parts. Maybe I should weigh the pros and cons.
-The mask is awesome. Marty has a creepy jester’s mask that he wears while roaming the dark halls plotting his next move.
-The setup is very cool as is the location. The school has a very dark, creepy vibe to it. There are a few cool fright scenes, like the part with the big picture of Marty in the hallway.
-The kills are very cool and some are pretty innovative. I particularly like the lawnmower death. They are pretty bloody too.
-Loved the creepy music! It’s no shock than Harry Manfreddi is to thank for this awesome score.
-The effects are actually quite good.
-“If we wait til noon, April Fool’s Day will be over and he won’t kill us”…..What? What???
-First death of the group: One of the beers is filled with acid, and after a while of partying, one guy drinks it and dies(death looks cool though). What if that was the first one he grabbed and then everyone ran immediately? Would have been a short movie. What if no one touched that particular beer at all? Hmmm. Marty could still be waiting to this day to start the slaughter.
-After the man explodes, everyone does run…except the girl who thinks it’s a good idea to get naked and take a bath in the creepy dark school right after seeing her friend die. What?
-Hell, even before this…the building is obviously condemned. Why even go in? And how is there electricity and running water and why?
-Two people obviously have to stop when being chased by the killer to have sex in the creepy old place. Makes sense.
-Nobody seems to have aged since the high school days. Oh yes, I must make a point to say that the object of crazy Marty’s affection, genre vet Caroline Munro (Maniac, etc) was 35 at the time of filming. She must have been held back several years!
-The twist ending is one of those ones I just hate. I won’t give it away but I felt it was kind of a slap in the face.
There you have the pros and cons. Interesting side note: Simon Scudamore, who played the killer nerd Marty, sadly committed suicide shortly after the film was released. One has to wonder about life imitating art sometimes. This really makes you see the film differently.
So anyways, I’m still torn on this one. There’s lots of pros and cons to it. There seems to be more cons than pros honestly! Overall, yes, it is a dumb entry into the slasher field. However, there are some very cool things to it as well. I will let you decide. Just try not to think too much when you watch it and don’t say I didn’t warn you.