FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 19, 2009

Day 19: "His mind went berserk...he flipped out real bad!"

Oh, Film Clubbers, I'm guessing that some of you (if not all of you) had a hard time making it through Slaughter High (1986). It's not a great movie by any means, or even good. However, it has a special place in my heart and of this I am not ashamed. I'm not ashamed I tells ya!

Marty Rantzen is a high school nerd who's picked on and humiliated by all the cool kids. An April Fool's joke goes about 50 miles too far, and Marty ends up in the hospital covered in horrible burns. Ten years later, the cool kids all receive invitations to a class reunion...and one by one, they all die die die.

I'm not going to delve into gobs of details recapping the plot, because Slaughter High follows the standard slasher movie formula: a traumatic event breaks someone's brain, then that someone seeks revenge on the perpetrators of said event. The film hit towards the end of the slasher heyday, and it's undoubtedly a fairly lethargic entry in the genre. Still, as I said...I kind of love this movie. Those of you who've seen it may not understand how that's possible, so I'll make with why:
  • The score is by a slumming Harry Manfredini, who utilizes his famous Friday the 13th work for a sting.
  • Slaughter High comes to the world courtesy of the Sultan of Sleaze, producer Dick Randall...who also gave the world a little something called Pieces. That should tell you all you need to know before you even press PLAY! Randall briefly appears in Slaughter High as film agent Manny, who's got a Pieces poster on the wall of his office.
  • The "prank gone awry" in the film is one of the most horrible in all of slasherdom: after being lured into nudity with the promise of sex, Marty is photographed and laughed at by his classmates...then he's subjected to some mild electrocution...then he's given a swirly...then he's given a fake joint that causes him to barf...then he's burned with nitric acid and fire. You can't really blame him for being a little pissed off.
  • This movie features the most egregious use evarrrrr of actors far too old to play high schoolers as high schoolers: Caroline Munro, for example, was 36 here- a couple of decades beyond her school years.
  • Not only are the actors too old for their roles, they're too British. Bad American accents abound, while their native accents peek through from time to time.
  • These characters have got to count amongst the stupidest in all of horror movie history. There's a killer on the loose, but they're constantly separating and spending time having sex and taking baths. Their big escape plan involves riding a fucking tractor to safety- surely the killer could never catch up to a vehicle traveling 5 miles an hour.
  • The sex scene is AWESOME. Stella, who's a leopard print-clad Markie Post-by way of Jersey-type, seduces Frank with this hotness: " I wanna go to bed with you, Frank." It works, and when she asks for a little mid-coital dirty talk, Frank responds with "Uhh...tits...screw...tits..." It's the best sex scene EVER.
  • The aforementioned bath-taker is Shirley, who gives one of my favorite bad line readings of all time when the gang first arrives at the reunion: "C'mon you guys, let's par-deeeeeeee!" I want to make it my ringtone and my unholy life partner. Is that possible?
  • One of the elaborate killings involved a poisoned can of beer, which causes the drinker's guts to burst through his abdomen Alien-style. Never mind trying to figure out what kind of poison could possibly do that- let's try to solve the mystery of how the poison got inside a sealed beer can!
  • Oh yes, the deaths in Slaughter High are indeed elaborate. Running acid through the sewer lines just in case someone decides to take a bath (good thing that panned out!), the poisoned beer, a bed rigged to electrocute whoever's in it just in case someone decides to sleep or have sex (good thing that panned out!)...the set ups are so complicated and impractical that they make Final Destination jealous.
Now, all these bullet points are either going to drive you to the hallowed halls of Slaughter High, or leave you yelling "Fuck that noise!" I suppose it has to do with tolerance levels and the like. Me? I've got a pretty high one. Read on to find out what the rest of the Film Clubbers think...lots of first-timers this month, which is awesometastic. Now let's par-deeeeeeee!

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Hud said...

Oh...they wanted to escape on the tractor, that's why he was fixing it?

Great review Stacie, you sure remembered more than I did! Mercifully.

Jay Clarke said...

Ooohhh, it's the same guy who did Pieces, that makes soooo much more sense now. Nothing says un-abashed love like bullet points. Awesome.

Chuck Conry said...

I seen this when I was a kid, I only remember parts of it but if someone involved with Pieces is involved with this as well I'll need to look it up and watch it.

Jason Adams said...

I just had to chime in on this one, even though it's brief. Love this movie.

Verdant Earl said...

They were a few things that made this film tolerable. Like my buddy yelling at me from across the room because I made him watch it. He was very upset with me. ;)

Anonymous said...

Still, my favorite part of the entire movie?

The theory that April Fools day ends at noon. Yeah, according to the characters in this film, a whole day is twelve hours. Those bastards deserved to die on stupidity alone. :)

Stacie Ponder said...

I think the early end to April Fools Day is a British thing...this was filmed over there and is filled with Brit actors. The film is supposed to take place in the US, though, so in that context it makes no friggin sense! :D

David Robson, Proprietor, House of Sparrows said...

The reason for the 12-hour limit didn't occur to me while watching the thing. I just thought "Marty's not going to observe a damn fool rule like that..." And of course he did not.

Hey! Look Behind You! said...

I forgot about the 12 hour/noon till April Fool's Day was over. I thought it was all apart of the nonsensical of it all.

Bonnie said...

YES! YES YES this is my favorite bad movie of all time! I thought I was the only person who'd ever seen it! I love the characters in this movie; they all act like aliens dressed up as humans, trying to behave the way they think humans would in any given situation. And I love Caroline Munro.

BloodPepsi said...

I don't care what anyone says. I will always love and defend the steaming pile that is Slaughter High!


Sad man said...

I think it's kinda sad and creepy that the guy playing Marty killed himself shortly after shooting "Slaughter High" or during the shoot, don't really remember.

The movie is absolutely terrible, but there are some great highlights. Stella, for example, is one of the most annoying girls ever in a slasher. Best death: Acid tub. Why is there a tub inside the school anyway? And why is she taking a bath instead of just washing off the blood with her clothes on? I love so bad it's good slashers.

slasherfan said...

I also have a soft spot in my heart for this movie! It may be "bad," but it's really fun to watch, and I can really empathize with Marty! ;)

Anonymous said...

Sad Man... the movie was filmed two years before it was released, but I believe his death was right before it was released.

Rhubarb said...

I admit I'm two days late. Sorry about that but here's my review anyway

I'd never have watched this movie if it weren't for you.