Night #20: Slaughter High (1986)

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Ever try it under the shower before?”

So what have we today? Well, it’s back to slasher-town (for some reason) with the largely and perhaps rightly forgotten, SLASHER HIGH.

We start, as so many of these things do, with the tried and tested prank-gone-wrong caper. Marty, the resident high school geek, is about to get lucky with one of the other ‘students’ played by former bond girl Caroline Monroe. First of all this is amusing because for one thing, it’s Caroline Monroe and for another, Monroe was thirty-six years old at the time of filming. Is this the record for the biggest gap between an actor playing a teen? I think it has to be up there. Turns out that it’s April Fool’s Day and we’re all in for one hilarious prank. The jolly japesters have set up a camera to catch Marty in the nude* and proceed to dunk his head in the toilet and get pretty cruel about it. Then, when they get caught, they have the audacity to blame the poor kid.

 

*Here’s a little tip: If you’re in the high school in the middle of the day and an insanely attractive student takes you to the showers and asks you to undress totally alone then you’re probably being pranked.

 

The fun isn’t over though as, while they’re all in some form of detention (It should go without saying that these really are the only students in this place), they play another trick on Marty by giving him a bad joint and setting off a chain of events that ends with him getting doused in acid and scarring him for good.

 

Jump ahead a few years and it’s time for a class reunion (Ah, that’s why all the actors are so old then). We meet the group as they’re on their way to a high school that looks suspiciously like it’s in the middle of nowhere, only to find that all the doors are locked and that they’re the only people to turn up. Not to be deterred though, they just sit outside until it’s dark and then decide to break in. These kids are pugnacious, to say the least.

Only they’re not the only ones there of course. Marty (Obviously) is there, wearing a jesters mask for some reason. I guess the idea is that it’s around April Fool’s Day, though it feels like quite a few of the references to it have been cut, probably because there was already a flick called, appropriately enough, APRIL FOOL’S DAY. The group find some food and drink laid out for them, which everyone believes is down to one of their group and…well listen, I’m not one to blame the victim when it comes to these things, but these kids are real dumb. They’re also not supposed to be kids by this point, which is arguably worse. They’re all still written as kids and when one character reasonably suggests going into town and sharing old stories I was about ready to wave goodbye to them, but instead, they sit around in a shitty room drinking beers and taking some drugs in what honestly looks like the worst party I’ve ever seen.

To be fair when the killing does start it’s kind of inventive. One of the beers is loaded with something so when one character chugs it, his stomach explodes for instance. Or there’s death by lawnmower. Bizarrely, after witnessing the death of her friend and getting some blood on her one character runs a bath(!). The water turns to acid and instead of jumping out with minimal damage, the character sort of flounders around in an effort to turn the tap off and then just gives up. Like I said I’m not victim blaming, but…

So a weird thing happened. First of all it was the thought that this high school was a bit remote but I waved that away as it was just a filming location that was available and these things happen. Then it was the fact that occasionally I would hear one of the cast slip into an English accent. Amusing but not unexpected. But then there’s Caroline Monroe, who is also English. It’s ok, she’s been in American productions loads of times. But, unbelievably there was something else that bugged me the whole time.  See there’s this minor actor in there, not a face you would really recognise, but I did. I couldn’t think where I had seen him before, something low-budget no doubt. I usually try to cast things like that from my mind because I’ve seen so much B, sometimes C-Grade stuff that I could be there all night. It wasn’t until the end that it clicked that this cat was from EMMERDALE FARM, not even EMMERDALE.

terry

So I did a little digging and it turns out that this was an English production. It was a cheap attempt to jump on the slasher craze (while it was dying) and was put together for a few grand. Unbelievable. Amusingly, there’s a plot point in the movie that if they can make it until midday then Marty will have to stop killing them because it’s bad luck, which is placing a staggering amount of faith into a madman. Oh and spoiler alert, this doesn’t stop him. Just to add to it, this whole stopping at midday thing is just a British tradition, so the plot was lost on any Americans watching.

Can I recommend this one? Yeah I can if you want to see something with just the right amount of cheese and sleaze as well as to revel in its weird production quirks (Something I really didn’t notice is that all the cars have British license plates). Special note goes to Harry Manfiredi for his score. I don’t know how much they paid the FRIDAY THE 13TH guy to do their theme but it was too much because man his score is a synth shocker with a genuinely awful theme that I feel like might be sung by the lead actor, in character. Listen:

See.

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