Slaughter High

Year:  1986
Director:  George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, Peter Litten
Cast:  Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Donna Yeager, Carmen Iannaccone

A high school geek named Marty is ruthlessly harassed and picked on by the popular kids at the school.  One day, a prank involving a science experiment goes terribly wrong, scarring Marty for life.   Several years later, each of the students involved in the prank get invitations to a high school reunion, only to all show up and find their old high school was closed down years ago and is now abandoned and in squalid condition.   However, the gym is set up for a reunion party, complete with drinks and snacks.   Their decision to stay and party proves fatal as they are each murdered in gruesome ways by a killer disguised in a jester's mask.   Could it be Marty seeking revenge?

If ever a horror film succeeded simply on its atmosphere and quirkiness alone, Slaughter High is it because, in all honesty, it is not a great film in regards to production value, script, and the gallons of questionable acting.  But amazingly enough, it is one of the most memorable and creepy films of the 1980's.   From the opening scene, the movie has several qualities that may make casual horror fans shut it off: the "teens" in the film look like they are in their forties and spout some truly terrible dialogue and behave in very implausible ways.  This continues throughout the movie and some scenes are downright absurd. Why does one girl decide to strip naked and take a bath in a dilapidated bathtub after her classmate's stomach explodes from ingesting acid?  How does one victim die just from falling into the five foot deep well?  Why does a couple decide to have sloppy sex while their friends are being unmercifully slaughtered? Why do all the characters think that April Fools Day ends at noon?  Nevertheless, when the final credits roll, the temptation will arise to watch it all over again, despite the cheesiness and ridiculousness that abounds. It is undeniable that there is something endearing about this film and it definitely contains some effective elements.  For example, the school set that is used is downright very creepy and atmospheric and the jester's mask that the killer wears is chilling. Some great suspense is developed in the final scene where the heroine is on stage behind some curtains trying to elude the killer while he is trying to stab her with a javelin pole is very intense and rings similar to the Gale hiding behind the sound screen scene in Scream 2 . To put it simply, something about this film is very disturbing and knowing specific facts such as Simon Scuddamore, who portrays Marty, killed himself shortly after filming wrapped up fuels this.

Despite this film's massive flaws, it is one of the creepiest, most creative, atmospheric and memorable horror films to come out of the 80's.  For many, though, the flaws will be almost too much to forgive or forget.   

Fright Meter Grade:

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