Oh Slaughter High, how I love you. You copy many of the slasher movies that were ahead of you, but for some reason, you still hold a special place in my horror movie heart and mind. Yeah, it’s true – you’re pretty awful, but that’s what makes you so endearing and what makes me view you at least once every 10 years (trust me, it’s more than enough). Ok, for those of you who are not Slaughter High aficionados, let IMDB break down a quick synopsis for you: A group of popular students play a cruel prank on a shy nerd resulting in a terrible accident. Years later a reunion is held where each of the students face a stalker killer who may be the same nerd out for revenge.
Now I could sit here and give you a review spotlighting the acting, directing, or storyline, but who are we kidding? It’s all pretty much down the toilet like poor Marty’s head up there. The redeeming qualities of this slasher movie lie in the absurdity of it all. Granted, there were a lot of bad horror movies and copy cats coming out at that time, but this one held it’s limp head up high and is recognized today (good or bad) because of that.
Once called April Fool’s Day, it had to change it’s name to Slaughter High because there was already a movie called April Fool’s Day out (another guilty pleasure of mine). Another not so fun fact regarding this movie is that Simon Scuddamore (Marty) committed suicide shortly before the movie was released, so that adds a bit of creepiness to it given the cliche “bullied/revenge” storyline involved.
So let’s get to the fun shall we? Do you like overlong 17 minute setups in movies? You do?! Well you’re in for a treat because it takes that long to even get to the point where poor Marty is humiliated with full frontal nudity and minor electrocution, then sustaining an acid burning on his face after a plot to make him smoke an exploding joint backfires (couldn’t make this stuff up people). The highlight for me, besides the token black guy janitor/caretaker Digby, is the music. Henry Manfredi composed it and it’s one of the worst/best soundtracks ever, bringing on the full synth attack and giving us some of the best high school gym push up punishment music ever! Unfortunately he recycles some of his Friday The 13th music here, but like many involved in this movie, he clearly could care less.
And can I just say – I want to know what these kids’ beauty secrets are. Because at the beginning of the movie, it takes place in 1976 (no indication that it’s the 70’s btw) and then 10 years later at the reunion, it’s 1986 and all of the students look exactly the same! Amazing! Not to mention that they originally looked like they were 35 years old in high school. Speaking of the school – one of our ill fated bullies, Shirley (who has an amazing “let’s party!” line btw), decides to take a bath at one point at the reunion. Why is there a bathtub at a high school? Especially a condemned, run down one? Anyway, she takes an acid bath and turns to a skeleton, so that was the end of her. And speaking of the deaths: they’re pretty fun and creative, with the highlight being of course, “The Gut Buster”.
I think we’re pretty much done here. Bottom line is that Slaughter High is bad. But it’s bad in a good way, especially if you’re a slasher fan. It came out at a time when the slasher movie was the flavor of the month, and to this day, it still somewhat surprisingly sticks out among the crop of the bad ones. I’ve even seen Halloween masks based off of the jester mask that Marty wore to exact his revenge in the movie. So the next time you’re kicking back on a Saturday night with nothing to do, crack open a beer, light up a doobie, pop in Slaughter High, and groove to the soundtrack and enjoy bad horror at it’s finest.