SLAUGHTER HIGH (1986)
Five years after the cool clique of Doddsville High graduates, they return to the high school for what they assume to be their class reunion. What they find though is the school shut down and scheduled for demolition. But these kids won't let a little trespassing get in the way, and break into the school. But what they find awaiting them is a banquet of booze and snacks. As the dopey jocks, sex maniacs and class clowns party down, they remember uber-nerd Marty, who they mercilessly picked on as seniors. And when the group begins to drop dead one by one, they fear that perhaps Marty is the one who set all this up, and is now hunting them down as his ultimate revenge. But a little murder won't stop the drinking, the sex, and one dumb decision after another!
Producers Stephen Minasian and Dick Randall reunite after previously producing PIECES and DON'T OPEN 'TIL CHRISTMAS for one last blood bath. By 1986, the slasher genre was wearing out its welcome, and had become a tired cliche with little more to offer its audiences than some retreads of already seen murder set-ups and some gratuitous nudity of a young starlet hoping to break into the movie business. SLAUGHTER HIGH is certainly one of these movies, and if you did not see it back during its release, or are unfamiliar with its Megadeth inspired VHS cover, you probably don't even know this exists.
A trio of first time writers and directors, George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Mackenzie Litten essentially cobble together every high school cardboard stereotype, switch up a few kill scenes just enough to call them their own (okay, there is no mistaking the ALIEN rip-off), and let a shadowed killer that they don't even to hide the identity of roam the halls. They give the audience exactly what they've come for - a high body count, and ludicrous plotline, and boobs. The acting is atrocious, but there are few good effects shots - the best being the stop-motion melting of skin off a skull.
SLAUGHTER HIGH gets not one, but two connections to FRIDAY THE 13th. The first being way-too-obvious joke regarding a hockey mask. This brings in just a few questions of rational for someone looking way too hard at this low-budget time-killer. If the characters are familiar with Jason, his killing ways, and assumedly the conventions of horror, why do they continually split up, voluntarily get left alone, and sneak off for a quick lay? The second connection is composer Harry Manfredini, who gave the world the classic chi-chi-chi-ha-ha-ha. His music here is basically a retread of every music cue from his most famous score except for the aforementioned breathy number, but at least you know you've got at least one competent name attached to the credits.
Horror completists will need to track this down for at least one watch, if for nothing else than to wallow in cinematic cheese at some of its absolute worst. The film offers no scares and little suspense, a few threadbare jokes, and for at the time what must have been to thought of as a clever ending. If you felt burned by APRIL FOOL'S DAY, be prepared for another slap in the face.
Left to rot and essentially be forgotten on the shelves of disappearing video stores, this movie is now available on DVD from Bloodwave. Presented uncut, but unfortunately in full-screen, you'll finally be able to have a digital back up of that nearly worn through VHS tape copy you've been desperately clutching to. And with the original artwork ported over as well, you'll be ready to pop open a Lite and relive a trip to the video store all over again!