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on 11 August 2013
But not so typical. I've always had my suspicions since watching this back in the day on VHS that Slaughter High was indeed filmed in England. The interior of the building almost looks brick for brick like my old school. And finally after years it was confirmed. OK it's not actually my school, but this US teen flick was indeed filmed in Blighty. I knew it!!!!

Alas the film is typical 80s fare. Kid gets bullied, kid gets his revenge on bullies. I love horror and have a deep fondness for 80s horror, which was able to poke fun at itself and have a mixture of comedy elements, horror and gore. For some reason most of the time it worked. Slaughter High isn't the best of the bunch, but yes it works, and if you love these type of films then this is well worth a purchase.

They even have Caroline Munro appear in the movie, although one of the three directors (yes you read that right) was going out with Munro at the time. It is slightly confusing given that Munro is supposed to be playing a 20 year old and she is clearly almost double that age here. Why not have her play a teacher? Also it must be said she is sleepwalking through this role. I love Munro but this isn't one of her most memrobale pictures.

The killer Marty acts it up well, such a shame that the real actor committed suicide just weeks after filming wrapped. The students are very much hit and miss at acting, but what do you expect from a low budget 80s slasher?

All in all Slaughter High is a winner, especially if you grew up watching these films. Alongside the Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies this is the one I always remember being there on the top shelf of my local video shop.

This Arrow release is brilliant. OK only 1 disc this time, but comes with reversible sleeve and loads of extras. Commentary on film and a great 30 min Caroline Munro retrospective on her career, magic!
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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.
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...In fact, it is my absolute FAVORITE only after George Romero's original "Night of the Living Dead" (1968). A bold claim to make, I know, but you know there's something special about a movie that isn't even available and yet has (to date) 43 enthusiastic Amazon reviews, at least on the American site. And if reading these reviews isn't evidence that "Slaughter High" is a love it or hate it movie, I don't know what is. And I for one LOVE it.

The slasher movie is considered to be a largely North American phenomenon but alas, the Brits come up with my favorite one of all time. It's as if the writing/directing triple threat of Peter Litten, George Dugdale, and Mark Ezra sensed in 1985 that all of the formulaic cliches of 1981-era slashers had all been done to death when played straight and an entry of a more trashy tongue-in-cheek nature was in order. And they succeeded brilliantly in creating the best one possible.

The opening 20 minutes or so are priceless. I think that anyone who was ever the victim of some type of cruel hazing in high school or middle school will identify with Marty and love this portion. Simon Scuddamore shows comic genius in this role. Even the fact that Marty gets over the initial shower stunt so quickly and seems not to take the haranguing seriously when confronted again by the louts at his locker, shown by the fact that he even accepts their dubious offer for a "wonder joint," keeps with the comic tone of the early part of the film.

This movie is delightfully FUN. It has that raw mid-'80s trash feel of say "Bad Girls Dormitory" (also 1985) that can never be reproduced. Those responsible for the final prank and hence severely burning Marty are invited to a party in their alma mater and that's just what this movie is, one big party in low budget slasher heaven. There is abundant gore, sex, nudity, beer drinking, weed toking, and even harder drug use to boot. (It is assumed that you're viewing the authentic UNRATED version. Accept no substitutes. I myself own a still-sealed VHS copy of it that I will preserve forever, as well as a more common beat-up ex-rental copy to watch.) This movie was a rose among thorns of crowded 1987-era video store horror movie shelves.

It's low budget to be sure, but the gore effects, handled by co-director Peter Litten and his Coast To Coast Productions, are top notch. The killings are so fun; from the grinding spatter via tractor trailer to the belly bursting to the electrocution during lovemaking, this delivers the goods.

And I just LOVE Harry Manfredini's music! It's got that cheesy mid-'80s post-punk synthesizer feel that brings you back to the time this one was made.

And, as a guy, one reason I have to confess that I keep coming back to "Slaughter High" time and time again is because it features perhaps the most beautiful girl in the world, the young British lass Kelly Baker (who appeared in the earlier British slasher "Don't Open Till Christmas" (1984), also a Dick Randall/Steve Minasian co-production). She appears here as nice girl Nancy, and is introduced most prominently about 20 minutes into the movie, when she is picked up by head goofball Skip (Carmine Iannaccone) on the way to the reunion. She is admittedly filled out but is far more beautiful than the anorexic waif models of today. As an American, I adore her quaint British charm and gorgeous golden hair and dazzling smile. If I had the resources, I'd probably start a Kelly Baker fan site.

Finally, some have criticized the ending but I think it shows that the movie is all in good fun and that the killings were not meant to be taken seriously.

It's great to see showings of a relatively obscure slasher like "Slaughter High" turning up today on mainstream outlets like On Demand. I myself first came to appreciate this film when TNT showed it on "Monstervision" (with legendary Texan drive-in critic Joe Bob Briggs) in the late '90s. Will someone just please wake up and give this movie its long overdue DVD release? It truly is a classic.
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on 27 September 2013
This slasher movie is the epitome of 80's slasher films. Before people bullied on Facebook, they did it in person. Marty was the victim of such bulling done by a certain click. During one of the pranks, Marty is disfigured by both fire and acid. After 5 years a class reunion, consisting only of the click is held at the abandoned school house. After the first person is killed, the crowd decides to stay together, but then separates to get slashed one at a time. While the slasher wears a joker's mask, it really isn't meant to be a who-dun-it.

Nudity, including male nudity (poor Marty), but no nude shots of the star Caroline Munro, former Bond girl.
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VINE VOICEon 30 August 2011
I had never got round to this watching this film, it was one of those must buy one day films. When the Arrow release was announced I thought now's as good a time as any.

I am now a fan of this low budget, unheralded cult classic and have watched it twice with and without commentary. For the budget it's astounding how good this film is. Yes it's cheesy at times and the American accents are pretty horrendous, but at the end of the day it's great fun.

5 stars for a fantastic release of a film I now love.
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on 8 July 2011
Slaughter High is, perhaps, the most underrated slasher flick of the 1980s. It is one of the few films in the genre that is enthralling throughout. That being said, it also relies heavily on the standard slasher formula: A group of young men and women get killed one by one gruesomely until the final showdown. Somewhere between full-on horror movie and downright spoof, Slaughter High scores points for off the scale cheesiness as well as managing a pulse-pounding chase scene towards the end. Like many slasher films before, it starts with a prank gone bad. Class nerd at Doddsville High (the ill-fated Simon Scuddamore), is tempted into the girl's locker room by the school siren, Carole (Caroline Munro appearing as one of the subgenre's oldest ever 'teens' at 36 years old!).

She's not really after his body, but it's all part of a plan to humiliate him on April Fool's Day (which also happens to be his birthday). Marty strips naked, but rather than the attractive Carole he's confronted by his classmates with a video camera (even though this is tokenly meant to be 1976). They taunt him mercilessly, repeatedly shouting "Where's the beef?". Then to add insult to injury they give him a minor electric shock before flushing his head down the toilet. Marty escapes from further humiliation when the coach breaks up the fun and games. Confined to the gym for a workout detention the group blame Marty for their incarceration, so they plan to carry on their plan by giving him an exploding joint. However, it literally backfires when the lab where Marty is working bursts into flames. The final insult is when he knocks a jar of acid which burns off half his face. Perhaps not the best birthday ever, Marty is rushed off to the nuthouse for grueling skin grafts ...

10 years later Marty is only a distant memory for the group as they gather back at the school for a reunion. Funny thing is, only the group that were behind Marty's horrible birthday turn up. At first they are locked out of the school, but when they manage to get inside they find the school dilapidated in all but one room where there's party balloons and their old school lockers. Deciding to make the most of the night they party it up, but one of them gets more than a bad case of indigestion when he drinks a tin of acid disguised as beer, and his guts literally spill on the floor. Panic sets in and the group tries to get out, only to find all the exits electrified. It soon becomes clear that they have been trapped by a homicidal maniac and are going to be bumped off one-by-one ...

The gore is also joyously over-the-top as a woman gets melted in a bath of acid; someone is eviscerated with a fly-mo; a couple go out with a bang when their bed is electrified as they are about to climax; and another gets a hatchet buried in the face. Slaughter High is also blessed with a great villain. Has the nerdy Marty really come back from the nuthouse to exact his revenge? Well, seeing as that little gem of info is given away in the tagline I expect you can guess that yes he has! However, that doesn't stop him wearing one of slasherdom's best ever masks: a creepy old man's face with a jester hat on top. He jungles every time he steps into shot - although it doesn't seem to act as any kind of deterrent for the dim-witted victims. As you can tell that most of the cast were British (with exaggerated American accents), and the acting was above average but it doesn't detract from the film's enjoyment.

Slaughter High is certainly as silly as it can be for its first half without turning into downright parody, but the second half of the film scores with some surprisingly effective cat n' mouse theatrics towards the end. The scenes of Marty chasing the final girl, his jester bells ringing madly and holding aloft a javelin rival the best chase scenes in any classic slasher. Simon Scuddamore, who played Marty apparently committed suicide shortly after Slaughter High was released. That alone adds something creepy to the film, and sticks with it and it even makes you feel more sorry for the Marty character, I guess. All in all, great 80's slasher fun! It's a shame it will never be the same again in this era of dull re-makes...
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on 21 July 2011
This is the first time i have ever watched this film,and i have to say, it's prity damn good. If you like cheesy 80's horror flicks,about people being killed off one by one, then your probably going to like this.
Arrow video ,have done a nice job on this release, the print doesent look amazing,but for a low budget horror flick,that was made over 20 years ago it holds up prity good.

Nice job Arrow!!!!
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on 13 October 2011
I have to say after purchasing bootlegs of Slaughter High aka April Fools Day years ago, this is the best I have ever seen this movie! The filming is even much better than that bogus Liongates Lost collection. Arrow has created April Fools Day(as it was earlier named before naming it Slaughter High)into a real movie. No dark filming as in the previous filming where you cant even see the actors well! This time we can actually see them with the bright photage Arrow Video provides! The features are also better than Liongates with interviews by Mark Ezra and Caroline Munro, along with a booklet pertaining to the movie itself, and commentaries as well! Thanks Arrow for returning the original title to Slaughter High, APRIL FOOLS DAY again! May this new UK make of Slaughter High remember the memory of Simon Scuddamore, for the role he played as the nerd Marty, to where he tragedly took his own life because of drug abuse. RIP Simon Scuddamore! APRIL FOOLS DAY is BACK thanks to ARROW VIDEO!
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on 14 September 2011

Doddsville County High School, USA. When a gang of bullies carry out a sadistic April Fools Day prank on nerdy chemistry whizz Marty Rantzen(Simon Scuddamore), it goes horribly wrong, with Marty ending up physically scarred by acid and mentally scarred for life. Ten years later, the same motley crew are invited to a class reunion. When they arrive, they discover that they are the only guests and the school is closed and due for demolition. They have in fact, recieved a personal invite from the now very disgruntled Marty who, chemistry set in hand, disposes of his hated tormentors one by one. Will anyone get out of Doddsville High School in one piece?
I don't know where Arrow dug up this 80's slasher, but I'm glad they did. Slaughter High is in fact a mainly British horror( actors, locations and crew), masquerading as an American film. Well, apart from a few fluctuating accents, it does come across as an authentic American slasher. Pretty enjoyable it is too, despite its cliche ridden plot and somewhat appalling dialogue.
There are some very inventive and gory deaths, it has quite an atmosphere and it has one of those great 'was it all a dream?' twist endings. If that wasn't enough to convince you to buy this dvd, then how about a chance to see Terry from Emmerdale's bouncing buttocks.
The real winner here of course is the usual excellent release from Arrow Video. The usual poster, fine cover art, large array of extras( a choice of two commentaries, an interview with the director and a featurette on the horror career of star Caroline Munro) and it's obvious the good people at Arrow care a lot for the films they release. You can't say that about every distributor. The only thing missing is a 7" single of the great theme tune.
An Arrow dvd release is always worth purchasing for the wealth of extras. It helps when the film accompanying the extras is enjoyable in its own right, and Slaughter High, despite its many faults, falls into that category. 5 out of 5 for the whole package. 4 out of 5 for the film on its own merits.
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on 3 September 2009
very good slasher horror with a large slice of hammy acting.has got terry out of emmerdale in it (which made my wife laugh).i love this film as its basic plot is all it needs to unfold into a great inventive horror. its all about a 10 years later school reunion of select people whom played a prank on the school nerd which goes badly wrong. now its pay back time.
my only gripe is that its only been released on region 1.
i had to have it anyway,(just got to get a region free dvd player to play it on !!!!)
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