Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Take a Trip Through the Halls of Horror!
on 6 September 2011
Marty Rantzen is your typical nerd, who for some reason doesn't suspect anything is wrong when the smoking hot Carol leads him to the girls shower room for sex. As anyone but Marty guessed, a prank is being played on him. It's april fools day and Carol along with a group of her friends trick Marty into getting nude, they film it and bully him before the gym teacher catches them and demands they all be in the gym after school for punishment. Whilst in the gym, Skip, the leader of the gang, manages to slip out and add something to the acid that Marty is working with in the science room. When Marty returns to the room, the acid explodes setting the room on fire. In a desperate attempt to turn the gas off, he knocks a bottle of acid onto the table and it splashes into his face. The medics arrive and take him away on a stretcher, but not before we get a glimpse of the now horribly disfigured Marty.
Years later and it's april fools day again, Carol, Skip and all the others involved are meeting up at the school for a class reunion. When they arrive it appears the school has been closed for many years and is locked up, once they get inside they soon discover that this is a reunion of another kind. There is somebody dressed as a jester lurking in the halls of the school, waiting to kill the kids in gruesome and inventive ways. Who is the killer? Surely it couldn't be Marty exacting revenge all these years later.... Or could it?
The acting is rather poor if truth be told, but it never really seemed to matter in '80s slasher films. They seemed to work regardless. Caroline Munro played Carol, she was a very sexy woman but was 36 at the time and was supposed to be playing a teenager at the start. She clearly looked at least 30, but then again most of the other cast members were around the 30 mark as well. I think the fact the actors were all far older than the characters they're playing adds a certain '80s charm to the film, if you watch most '80s horror movies (especially slasher films) then you will notice most teenagers were played by people in their mid twenties. The acting is that '80s cheesy acting that is enjoyable to watch, they seem to be enjoying themselves and it makes for a very entertaining film. Most of the cast were English and it's funny listening to their accents regularly slip between English and American.
The directing and writing was shared between George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten. It's not very often a film has three directors, but as they wrote the film together, I assume any differences of opinion was sorted out in the writing stages. It's directed like many of the slasher films of the time, they haven't set out to make a masterpiece like Halloween. This was the '80s when horror films could be fun, the acting isn't great, the dialogue is cheesy but funny, the blood, gore and special effects aren't brilliant, but it's all so enjoyable that we don't care. It's good entertainment. There's gratuitous nudity, which is very welcome as the female cast were all very good looking. There's even Terry from Emmerdale with his bare backside out to make it even cheesier.
As hilarious as the film is, like doors that seem to be locked one minute then open the next without any explanation, or the killer suddenly being in a totally different place within seconds. Or even the fifteen minute chase at the end where any real killer would have got her in two minutes flat, where I counted twice that she threw a weapon to the killer before running some more. The movie is creepy when it wants to be, the excellent music really sets the tone in some scenes, the long dark corridors offer a lot of atmosphere, and the jester costume is pretty chilling.
Tragically, Simon Scuddamore who played Marty killed himself shortly after the film was finished. He was probably the best actor in the movie, he was very likeable and genuinely made you feel sorry for his character when the prank goes wrong. It's very hard to find out any information on his death, which adds an air of mystery to the film and his performance.
Slaughter High has been released for the very first time on region 2, and Arrow have done a brilliant job with it. The picture quality is excellent for DVD, and the sound isn't far behind. The DVD contains all of the following extras.
Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork.
Double-sided fold-out artwork poster.
Collector's booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author Troy Howarth.
Introduction by co-writer/ co-director Mark Ezra.
Jesters and Jolts: Interview with co-writer/co-director Mark Ezra.
Lamb to the Slaughter: The Scream Queen Career of Caroline Munro.
Audio Commentary with star Caroline Munro, DVD World editor Allan Bryce and author and critic Calum Waddell.
Audio Commentary with co-writer/ co-director Mark Ezra moderated by Teenage Wasteland author J. A. Kerswell.
I'd wanted to own this film for a very long time, and I assumed that if we did finally get it, it would be a barebones disc with awful picture quality. Arrow have done a phenomenal job with Slaughter High, that good in fact that I've read comments from people in America that are jealous of how good our copy is, which makes a nice change as it's normally the other way. Arrow are doing a brilliant job of releasing the more obscure horror films, and releasing them in extras packed discs. Really good movie, outstanding disc.