Slaughter High (1986)

Slaughter High (1986)

Take a trip through the halls of horror!

Eight people are invited to a ten-year high school reunion at their now closed-down school. There, a former student, severely disfigured from a prank that they played on him, plans to extract his revenge on them all one-by-one.


Originally titled April Fool’s Day (but hey, didn’t someone do that already?) Slaughter High is another mid-80s slasher which unfortunately allows a high level of campiness and cheese to ruin any sort of fear, suspense or atmosphere that the film should have been trying to aim for. The story, about a prank gone wrong, is one of the genre’s most overused clichés but you’re not going to be too worried about that because Slaughter High is so goofy and daft, that it’s hard to see anything else.

Like the majority of the mid-80s slashers which played out more for laughs and gore than serious scares, Slaughter High is full of the silly splatter which sent this genre into free fall. Deaths here include disembowelment by tractor engine, a couple die having sex on an electrified bed, a melting in an acid bath and some unlucky guy has his stomach and intestines explode when he drinks from a booby-trapped beer. If you’re a fan of over-the-top kills, then Slaughter High should satisfy your demand but some of them are just too daft to enjoy, not to mention some of the make-up effects are a bit on the tacky side. There’s no real set-up to the deaths either. Marty doesn’t do a whole lot of stalking. He simply allows the characters to split up and spread out before picking them off. The jester outfit he wears would probably have been intimidating had he been confined to the shadows until the finale but we constantly see him in broad daylight, thus eliminating any potential the costume had. He’s hardly the most imposing killer either but seems to have grown superhuman strength and resilience since the prank back in high school!

Tragically, the actor who played Marty, Simon Scuddamore, took his own life soon after it was released. It’s a pity because even though the role is cartoonish and he hams it up in every scene, there was potential for a trashy sequel as the character has something about him. The film could have done without his full frontal shots though! Fresh from being stalked in Maniac, Caroline Munro stars. Not really known for her acting ability but her stunning looks, Munro is way too old to be taken seriously as a high school student in the beginning (she was in her mid-thirties when this was made!) but thankfully the film shifts forward ten years to allow her real age to better reflect the character. Despite the fact that her character was involved in the prank and broke his heart (come on, as if he believed he ever had a chance with the hottest piece of ass in school!), the script at least allows her a chance to show some compassion for Marty. But in reality, this is a film which gets the audience to side with the killer. Despite the horrific revenge he commits on each of the perpetrators, you never once feel remorse for them. Marty is the hero of the piece and the audience relishes every drop of blood that is spilled from his victims, though how over-complicated some of his set-ups are bears no scrutiny on closer inspection (like the girl who takes a bath in an abandoned school for instance – could he really have seen that coming?). The rest of the cast are downright awful in their roles and most of them are interchangeable so it doesn’t really matter which male or female gets killed off first because you’re never really sure of the differences between them.


Slaughter High is a daft entry in the slasher cannon. Despite the dreadful acting, lack of true thrills and suspense, overly elaborate death scenes and a real whiff of stale cheese, it’s not the worst one out there and is a solid example of how childish the sub-genre had become by this time. A real 80s horror film if ever there was a definition.





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