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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Ezra|
|Produced by||Dick Randall|
|Written by||Mark Ezra|
|Music by||Harry Manfredini|
|Edited by||Jim Connock|
Spectacular Trading International
|Distributed by||Vestron Pictures|
Slaughter High is a 1986 American slasher film written and directed by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten. It stars Caroline Munro, Simon Scudamore, Carmine Iannaconne, Donna Yeager, and Sally Cross. The story tells about a group of adults, responsible for a prank gone wrong on April Fool's Day, who are invited to a reunion at their defunct high school, where a masked killer awaits inside.
The day begins with popular student Carol Manning (Caroline Munro) jokingly asking school nerd Marty Rantzen (Simon Scuddamore) to have sex with her in the women's locker room. After he removes his clothes, Marty is surprisingly exposed to a group of students who tease him in several ways, including jabbing at his crotch with a javelin, giving him an electric shock, and dunking his head into a toilet bowl. This prank ends when the students' coach comes in to find out what is happening.
The students are forced to perform a vigorous workout in the gymnasium. Still, two students give Marty a marijuana joint laced with poison, which he smokes in the science lab while working on a chemistry project. The joint makes him so sick he runs to the men's locker room to vomit. While he is gone, one of the popular kids named Skip rigs the experiment to explode in Marty's face. Upon Marty's return, the set up works, causing Marty to panic and a great fire to erupt in the lab after he knocks over a Bunsen burner. In the struggle, Marty accidentally bumps into a shelf where a precariously placed jug of acid sits, falls and breaks splashing the acid onto Marty's face, leaving him horribly disfigured. The sound attracts the attention of the students, who stand by the door in shock.
Years later, those behind the prank are mysteriously invited back to the school for a reunion. Upon arriving, they discover that the campus was closed years ago and the building is in disrepair and awaiting demolition. They begin to think that one of the former students was behind the invitations, but everyone denies it. They decide to break into the school to hang out and drink alcohol, then come across a room containing their old school lockers which, to their surprise, are filled with their old belongings. They notice Marty's old locker, and the alumni begin questioning what happened to him after the prank gone awry. Skip tells them that Marty has supposedly been kept in a mental institution.
Soon, the caretaker is killed onto a coat peg by a jester masked assailant. Thereafter, the friends begin dying in gruesome ways - Ted's stomach is melted from acid, Carl is impaled in the back inside a car, Shirley melts away in an acid bath, Susan arrives late and is attacked, Stella and Frank are electrocuted on a bed while having sex, and Joe is slaughtered by tractor blades. After all the deaths, Carol, Nancy and Skip, soon find that the bodies have disappeared. Skip is later hanged in a noose by the killer. Carol and Nancy investigate and find a room playing a video of Marty being bullied by them. Nancy runs off by herself and is chased by the Jester, where she falls into a cesspit and drowns. Carol is left alone and discovers Susan's body before being chased by the Jester inside the old school. In the process, Carol mistakenly kills a survived Skip with a hatchet. After a long run, Carol is ultimately impaled on a javelin pole, and the Jester is revealed to be Marty himself. After this, Marty sees the victims coming back as revenants and they attack him. He then awakes screaming, inside a mental hospital while restrained to a bed and wearing bandages on his face. While being checked on, Marty proceeds to strangle a nurse and dresses in her uniform before killing a doctor with a syringe in the eye. Vowing to actually get revenge, Marty turns to look into the camera and begins to tear off half of his face, before the screen fades to black.
- Simon Scudamore as Marty Rantzen (as Simon Scuddamore)
- Caroline Munro as Carol Manning
- Carmine Iannaconne as Skip Pollack
- Donna Yeager as Stella
- Gary Martin as Joe
- Billy Hartman as Frank
- Michael Saffran as Ted Harrison
- John Segal as Carl Putney
- Kelly Baker as Nancy
- Sally Cross as Susan
- Josephine Scandi as Shirley
- Marc Smith as Coach
- Dick Randall as Manny
- Jon Clark as Digby
It was originally filmed as April Fool's Day in late 1984 in London, England, and Virginia Water, Surrey on a budget of $2.1 million. However, the title was changed to Slaughter High after the filmmakers had learned of Paramount Pictures's slasher film of the same title scheduled for release of the same year.
The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Vestron Pictures on November 14, 1986. The release expanded in February 1987, and again in April 1987; it opened on a total of thirty-eight screens on April 24, 1987, earning $90,000 between April 24–27.
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times reviewed the film favorably, noting: "In its primitive way, Slaughter High, is one of the better teen revenge horror pictures," adding that the film "benefits greatly from its authentic setting, a big, old derelict Tudor-style school building in a remote area, gets actually quite scary, yet the special effects are of the darkly comic, Grand Guignol variety." Terry Lawson of the Dayton Daily News was critical of the performances, particularly the English actors' attempts at portraying an American accent, adding that the film "invites comment as much for its oddness as for its awfulness."
The film currently holds a 0% approval rating on aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. AllMovie wrote, "Slaughter High gets a passing grade for the die-hard genre fans, but is worthless for most any other audience."
Slaughter High was released as April Fool's Day on VHS in Japan by Vestron International and on DVD in the United Kingdom by Arrow Video. To date, these are the only countries to have a home-video release of the film under its original title.
The film was released by Lionsgate on April 15, 2009 on DVD as part of their 'Lost Collection', which contains unrated Vestron full-screen VHS master print. It was re-released on January 4, 2011 in a '4-Film Collection' set along with My Best Friend Is a Vampire, Repossessed and Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!. Arrow Video released a 'Special Edition' DVD in the United Kingdom in July 2011. Lionsgate released the film on DVD in 2012 in an eight horror film DVD set which also includes Class of 1999, Waxwork, 976-Evil II, The Unholy, C.H.U.D. II, Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College and Chopping Mall.
- "Slaughter High (1986)". American Film Institute Catalog. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- Harper, Jim (2004). Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies. Critical Vision. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-900-48639-2.
- Klein, Brennan (February 22, 2017). "The Strange and Infamous History of Britain's Holloway Sanitarium". Blumhouse. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Paul, Zachary (April 1, 2017). "Through the Cracks: April Fool's Edition – 'Slaughter High'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Thomas, Kevin (May 12, 1987). "'Slaughter High' Schock, Schlock in Good Form". Los Angeles Times. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- Lawson, Terry (February 14, 1987). "'Slaughter High' flunks English I, wot?". Dayton Daily News. Dayton, Ohio. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Slaughter High (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- Wheeler, Jeremy. "Slaughter High - Review". AllMovie. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
- "Slaughter High". Movie Censorship. February 4, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Miska, Brad (August 21, 2017). "Vestron Registers for 'Slaughter High' on Blu-ray! (Exclusive)". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 23, 2017.