Friday, October 4, 2013

Rare Flix: Slaughter High

There is no Rock & Roll in this High School!  Today's film is Slaughter High, a film that has become easier to find in the last few years.  Before that, however, it wasn't exactly all that big.  My DVD (the set with C.H.U.D. II and Ghoulies III) has a pretty low-resolution version that just screams 'VHS Transfer.'  I wonder how nice the Blu-Ray release looks.  Why the issues?  Well, the film has a number of 'issues' related to it.  For one, it was originally going to be called April Fool's Day (a more fitting title, really), but changed the title to avoid confusion with the film...April Fool's Day, released earlier that year.  It apparently retained that title in Japan, since, well, it's Japan.  Second, the film's Star committed suicide shortly after the release of the film.  It puts him in a weird group of people that did something like this, alongside Manos' John Reynolds (Torgo) and the Director of A Bell From Hell Claudio Guerin.  Something was obviously troubling them and, due to what they did, we will never quite know the full extent of it.  Lastly, there's some odd chronology about the film that I'm still not clear on.  It's Star died in 1984, but the film's copyright says 1985.  On top of that, the film is listed as coming out in 1986 according to IMDB!  Oh and it's supposedly related to Cutting Class (a Slasher Parody made by other people) to boot!  So yeah, I'm confused.  However, the film stars Caroline Munro, so I'm willing to ignore all of that.  To see more of this once 'Lost' Horror film, read on...
The film begins with evil 'teenager' Caroline Munro (who was 36!) setting up this nerdy guy for something.  Is this all because it is April Fool's Day (and his birthday)?
They embarrass the guy and humiliate him.  They REALLY seem to have it out for him.

Seriously, what is their problem?!?  It's never explained.  They're one step below those creeps from Evilspeak.
After they get caught, they pull ANOTHER prank on the guy.  They end up setting him ablaze and scarring half of his body (a la Two-Face).  Do they face punishment?  Nope.
Without a Time Card, the film jumps ahead 10 Years (apparently) and the bullies are invited to a Reunion.

Oh and this guy is Munro's agent...and the film's Producer Dick Randall.  He's done this a few times, like in Ninja Strikes Back.  See if you can spot the subtle plug for his previous Slasher film Pieces...
They all break into the School (which, as part of the plot, seems odd) and decide to 'partake.'  This just reminds me of School Killer (who's title still boggles me)...which is not necessarily good.
The guy- Marty- finally starts killing people, including the Caretaker (who have been doomed since The Shining).  He poisons their beer, since they poisoned a joint as part of the prank X years ago.

I'm no Doctor, but maybe pulling your stomach open like that *isn't* helping.
After a lot of chasing, meandering and murder, all of the group is killed by Marty.  To be fair, they were all morons.

Case in point: Munro 'kills' Marty and dumps the Javelin she used to fend him off.  Yeah, he uses it to kill her.  Dumb, dumb lady.
However, as an '80s Slasher film, it must have a silly, twist Ending.  It turns out that all of this bizarre, convoluted revenge (including a pit of tar set up on the lawn) was all in his head.  Marty is just crazy.
It doesn't end there, however, as he kills the Nurse and Doctor to go get his revenge.

Hey look- I found an example of The Dark Knight ripping a film off and NOT the other way around.  Go me!  The End.
It's better than it should be, but not as good as it could be.  That make any sense?  The premise is pretty-straightforward.  In fact, it already was a movie- The Burning.  According to those nerds over at IMDB, this film shares a similar plot with a film called The Redeemer: Son of Satan.  In that film, a bunch of people are trapped in a School by a Satanic killer and chased around.  So this is the combination of a fairly-notable film (more now for its future Stars) and an obscure one.  It would be like if you made a film that was a combination of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Rawhead Rex.  Actually, that sounds kind of neat.  Quick- nobody make that first!  As for this film, it is a weird mix of Comedy and Horror.  There's a wacky theme-song (with a slightly-sinister edge), goofy characters and a scarred maniac trying to kill them.  They don't exactly mix well.  On top of that, it's not good Comedy.  Case in point: on the way to the Reunion, one of the Jerks meets up with another (who's hitchhiking).  His beat-up Bug is defended by him and almost immediately dies.  Another of the Jerks shows up and says that he can 'fix' it.  If you didn't guess that they were just going to tow it, then you *really* need to see more Comedy.  The whole thing just feels weird, what with the odd tone, the Brits playing Americans, Munro (who's still hot, mind you) playing 17 and a crazed killer.  Given what we find out, *some* of that is explained.  It's worth checking out, but you should decide for yourself whether it is worth owning.  As for me, I'm still trying to figure out how/why Marty made a blown-up picture of himself just for this one attack!
Next up, there's still another film in this pack that I haven't covered.  If it's Unholy, it's for me.  Stay tuned...

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