HALLOWEEN 2K16: A Review of “Slaughter High” (1986)

slaughterhigh4We’ve seen this story a million times. A bunch of asshole high school kids portrayed by 30-year-old actors play a prank on the nerd of the school only to have it go horribly wrong and he seeks revenge on them years later. While not exactly a rip-off of Carrie, Slaughter High plays to that same theme. The story is so predictable that you can turn it off halfway through and still take credit for having watched the entire thing. It’s not even really a bad movie, but as we see over and over again through the decades, it’s pretty hard to get into a story when teenagers are played by actors and actresses who are far older than they should be and the plot seems like it was outlined by the writers on the back of a cocktail napkin. Caroline Munro was actually 36 at the time of filming. The producers would have been better off setting this at a college rather than a high school. Even that would have been a stretch given the mugs on some of them. But no matter, we get over it pretty quickly.

A group of friends who include the usual obnoxious jocks and downright terrible pissants pick on another student named Marty for no reason at all. They lure him into the girls’ locker-room before stripping him down and shoving his head in a toilet, all while filming it with a camcorder (today’s generation will ask, What’s that?). They are caught in the act by a coach and made to work extra hard at practice. Big deal. But that wasn’t enough for these guys. They plot one more prank in the chemistry lab where they know Marty will be working. But of course, things go awry and a bottle of acid manages to fall on his face and the lab catches fire, horribly disfiguring him.

The story then picks up years later, when the group meets at the school (which is now abandoned) for a reunion. They break in and start to party…before they are interrupted by a killer. It is Marty who has come for revenge! Doesn’t that just whet your appetite? The funny thing is, the same actors are used for both the high school students and their adult form some 10 years later. It’s horribly unconvincing.

There is a nice slaughterfest that unfolds. There are stabbings, hackings, burnings, and electrocutions. All the fun stuff. One by one the little cretins get picked off, until there is only one left. But who will survive? There is also a twist ending which I didn’t understand, but that was par for the course. All night long, they were trapped inside the school by some kind of electrical security system. But then how did they get in there in the first place? Also, one of their friends comes late to the party (after murders have already occurred), and she slips in with ease. The next day, same thing. One of the two remaining people escapes but the other manages to remain trapped. A major plot hole if you ask me, but there are almost enough gory murders to make you not notice. Almost.

I’m giving Slaughter High 4.5 out of 10 stars. It managed to hold my attention, even with the preposterous plot holes and suspensions of disbelief such a movie requires. It’s a fun way to kill 90 minutes if you don’t take it seriously. And I just love the tagline: “The student body is just going to pieces!” Now that’s class.

Also starring Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Donna Yeager, and Gary Martin. Directed by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Litten.

More posts in my HALLOWEEN 2K16 column can be found here

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