(UK - 1986)
Written and directed by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten. Cast: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Donna Yaeger, Gary Martin, Billy Hartman, Michael Saffran, John Segal, Kelly Baker, Sally Cross, Josephine Scandi, Marc Smith, Jon Clark, Dick Randall. (Unrated, 90 mins)
Perhaps more than any other slasher movie of the '80s, SLAUGHTER HIGH's rabidly devoted cult following is rooted more in nostalgia for the era rather than any inherent greatness in the film. Because, frankly, SLAUGHTER HIGH is pretty terrible. It's able to get away with boasting "From the makers of FRIDAY THE 13TH" because co-producer Steve Minasian was one of the partners in Georgetown Productions, the company that helped finance the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, even though Minasian was never credited onscreen. Minasian ended up partnering with veteran schlockmeister Dick Randall on the Spanish-made 1983 chainsaw epic PIECES and the British-made 1984 killer Santa movie DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS, both of which are more in line with Randall's lowbrow oeuvre (CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER, FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY) than any groundbreaking, trailblazing slasher horrors in Sean S. Cunningham's classic. Among the first theatrical releases of Vestron Video offshoot Vestron Pictures, a studio that would fold just a couple of years later with DIRTY DANCING being their only big hit, SLAUGHTER HIGH isn't nearly as much fun as either PIECES or DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS, but it's nevertheless beloved by fans. This could be due to its overt and at least partially intentional silliness (it takes place at a high school that looks nothing like a 1986 high school and is in the middle of nowhere) and mockability as a Bad Movie, but it does manage to pull off a few fairly decent and splattery--at least in the unrated version--kill scenes. But throughout, SLAUGHTER HIGH is played so broadly, with grating, "wacky" music cues and terrible performances that it's never really scary because by 1986, audiences had seen nearly a decade of these things post-HALLOWEEN and were savvy enough to know when all the jolts were coming. It's more likely that SLAUGHTER HIGH is cherished not for what it is, but for the period in which it was created.
|35-year-old Caroline Munro as the
world's least-convincing high school student.
|Simon Scuddamore (1956-1984)
SLAUGHTER HIGH opening in
Toledo, OH on February 13, 1987