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Customer Review

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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