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.
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