Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Marty is a classic school nerd; meaning, he is forced to suffer for having a superior intellect. Luckily for him, the lovely Caroline Munro is using the April Fool’s holiday as an opportunity to have naughty bathroom sex with the biggest geek in school, another classic example of festive holiday emotions overriding the intellect, or, specifically in this case, the reptilian part of the brain that disseminates high school cliques.

 THOSE are boots

After some verbal flirtation, he waits for her in a shower stall, noticing that somebody wrote “Marty sucks!” on the wall. Realizing that his life is finally on the upswing, what with love on the horizon, he slyly uses a pen to turn it into a “Marty fucks!” message, perhaps counting his beavers before they are properly burrowed. Sure enough, while Caroline continues to distract him with sexy talk, an entire film/prank crew sneak in. Marty, now bareassed naked, gets sprayed with a fire extinguisher, and then gets his head repeatedly dunked in the toilet. All in all, a pretty rocky start to his first meaningful human relationship. 

Thankfully, a coach catches these hooligans and forces them to do push ups, as that is the only form of punishment that coaches understand (filmed as a retread of a similar scene in Carrie, especially with the music). Marty is now by himself in the science lab, lighting a joint with a bunsen burner, looking to 70’s high school burnout culture for inspiration in his newfound quest for cool. He’s also making some mysterious potion, presumably for revenge purposes, but some asshole sneaks some powder into his beaker when his back is turned. The combo proves explosive, setting the lab on fire and causing a jar of acid to explode in Marty’s face. Well, at least now he has a legitimate excuse to get out of gym class. 

Whatta ya know, Caroline Munro awakens, and apparently everything before was a dream sequence…or maybe a flashback. Whatever. Anyway, she is now a struggling actress with a shoddy American accent, and her agent is trash producer extraordinaire Dick Randall, but even his slimy charms can’t convince her to do some sleazy exploitation movie. During the phone conversation, she mentions that her ten year high school reunion is coming up, providing contextual chronology and forward plot thrust with mere telephonic exposition. 

Caroline shows up at the high school reunion along with all of the assholes from the opening scene, but the decrepit and abandoned school is locked up. Naturally, they hang out and get drunk until it gets dark, and then break in and stay the night. They find lockers that correspond to each respective asshole, including relics from the Marty prank and resulting “accident”. This memory refresher prompts them to stand around and discuss what happened to Marty after that fateful day. Apparently, he went completely bonkers and his face never recovered. No longer “fit for human company”, he got a job working for IBM (I guess the movie was written by an Apple user), which is where the hardcore nerds usually end up, assuming they survive high school. There is also some guy in a jester mask roaming the hallway, which may or may not factor into this somehow. 

Of course, they start doing what a typical 28-year-old would do in 1986: snort cocaine. They bump into the token black caretaker, who used to be the token black janitor during their high school days. Being that he’s black and superfluous, the joker immediately impales his head on a coat rack. Admittedly, I should’ve seen that one coming. 

The biggest douche in the group, Skip, thankfully gets a trick played on him. He has to drop a quarter off his forehead and into a funnel stuck down his pants. Of course, somebody sneaks some cold water into the funnel, freezing his crotch. Another guy drinks some PBR by slitting it with a knife and pounding it down, which is how everyone used to drink PBR back in the day, before the hipsters got a hold of it. His gets an upset stomach, so much so that he recreates the scene from Alien (maybe the script was written by a Miller High Life fan).   

The group finds the PBR bit a might suspicious, so they try and escape, but the doors and windows are locked, and the entire school is surrounded by electrified fencing all of a sudden. The Asian girl, particularly freaked out by the incident, decides to relieve some stress by taking a bath. My high school sure as hell didn’t have bathtubs in the washrooms, but maybe this was one of those fancy high schools, “replete with accoutrements”, as a fancypants might use to describe the fanciest car ever. Unfortunately, the water becomes acid, and she is quickly reduced to a skeleton. Later, a couple takes advantage of some down time whilst being stalked, running off to have sex but unfortunately choosing to do so in an electrified bed. I guess it’s understandable that someone would want to take a break from all of the horror and the murder to relax and soak in the various high end amenities that their former high school has to offer. 

Even for the pluckier reunion attendees, survival proves futile. One dude somehow manages to get through the electrified fencing, safely getting to a car…but gets stabbed by somebody hiding in the back seat. Figures. They find a getaway riding lawnmower, but alas, it’s shitty and broken, and the one guy that can fix it is promptly murdered. Then there’s the blonde who is chased out of the school by the killer, potentially fleeing to freedom, but actually falling through a trap door and into an underground tar pit. I HATE it when that happens.  

Much of the finale involves the killer chasing Caroline throughout the abandoned school. It’s a great, authentic looking location (meaning, the filmmakers just found an abandoned school, broke in, and started filming), and you get plenty of endless steadicam shots that provide a nice sense of the spatial dynamics. Munro also happens upon a toilet overflowing with blood at one point, a nifty homage to The Conversation if you are combing the frame for such things. There are also two occasions where the killer smashes through a door that has a Marty poster hanging on it. I don’t know why there would be large posters hanging up of the biggest nerd in school, but it looks cools I guess when the jester dude busts through them. For the record, I’m not saying the Marty poster necessarily has any correlation with the murders. They could be completely separate, unlinked events. I’m not a plot spoiler folks. Not me. 


If all of this wasn’t enough, there’s also a scene where we get to see zombified versions of all the victims (including Caroline with giant zombified hair), in a room overrun by fog and red and blue lights, and there’s even a Dawn of the Dead homage. Zombies? There’s just a lot of shit going on in this one folks…oh wait, Marty just woke up. It was all a dream. Jesus Christ. He’s apparently recovering in the nut house from being drenched in acid, but somehow managed to keep a job at IBM. I guess he was networking with a rudimentary form of the internet. 

He dresses up as a nurse (Dressed to Kill homage, which means two DePalma homages in one movie, which makes me feel fuzzy; well, fuzzier than usual), shoves a needle in a doctor’s eye, stares into the camera, and then tears the latex make-up off his face. Honestly, I’m fucking confused at this point. So, he wasn’t drenched in sulfuric acid to begin with? Was the acid fake? Was he wearing a fake face that was melted by the acid? I’d say “I give up” if I hadn’t already given up a long time ago. 

Slaughter High is most known for the sad fact that the guy that played Marty (Simon Scuddamore) killed himself shortly after filming was completed. It would be easy to suggest that he was an actual nerd himself, for reals attempting to hit the big time by getting a job with IBM. In the mean time, he took a job as the lead in a slasher film for some walking around money. Having to re-suffer through his high school years, coupled with the professional failure of only landing a gig as a programmer for some small time computer guy named “Steve Jobs”, he unfortunately was sent over the edge. 

However, it could just as easily be that he was a brilliant actor who was in fact, in real life, a super cool stud with average intelligence. His acting career never got off the ground, minus playing some geek killer in a slasher, and he decided to end his life, since casting directors couldn't appreciate his uncanny ability to appear smarter than he actually was. 

That’s why people who decide to commit suicide should always leave a note. Otherwise, dumbasses like myself will just make up stories that seem to make sense based on what little information that is available (which would be no information, in this case). Well, at least it’s more fun than peering into a broken heart of darkness and attempting to find words to describe the unwavering void. That shit is, like, boring or whatever. 

P.S. This movie was originally titled "April Fool's Day", but was changed cuz there was that other movie.  So, it's my April Fool's Day review, if it wasn't already clear.  No joke.  Seriously.

1 comment:

  1. "I give up" is a good description of this film. It's positively ridiculous, and I think the bathtub-in-the-girl's-locker room cemented that.