Slaughter High, 1986.
Directed by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten.
Starring Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore and Billy Hartman.
A high school reunion turns into a bloodbath when a former student seeks revenge against the pranksters who left him disfigured.
Slaughter High is one of those rare cult oddities, it is a cheap little slasher which underneath all of its bad accents and obvious British locations, still manages to have a little charm. Sometimes charm can go a long way. I will hold my hands up and admit that I had never even seen or heard of Slaughter High until it saw it mentioned on a social networking site. Since I am a fan of all things that are sleazy and badly made, I felt I best seek this little beauty out.
Directed by no less the three separate directors (George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten) this little trash classic is a real treat for all cult film fans. School nerd Marty is constantly picked on and made to feel worthless. His class mates have little respect for him and one day decide to play the ultimate prank by rigging one of his lab experiments. Unfortunately it goes horribly wrong (like all bad pranks do) and Marty is burned by a precariously placed bottle of acid, scarring his geeky features. Several years later those who orchestrated the prank are invited back to the school, but all is not what it seems as each one is picked off by a crazed killer with a court jesters mask.
It should be noted that although Slaughter High is really just a cash-in on the popular slashers of the early to mid 80s such as Friday the 13th, Prom Night, Terror Train et al, it does have its own unique and disturbing charm. Even some of the deaths, although darkly funny are in fact quite inventive. Without spoiling too much there is an inventive gag involving an stomach churning can of beer, a sex sequence which reaches an ‘electrifying’ climax and an interesting confrontation with a lawnmower, to name just a few.
This is one slasher which wears its low budget roots with pride as it becomes obvious to any viewer that it’s a British film set in England. Everything from the aforementioned bad American accents through to the locations make it all harder to really take this film seriously. But then that is the beauty of this cult gem, it’s a massive guilty pleasure which subsequently gets better with each viewing. Even the main theme is a humorous take on the staple repetitive slasher music with a hint of playfulness that signals its tongue in cheek nature.
Those with a passion for bad slashers in the vein of Sleepaway Camp or Silent Night, Deadly Night, will want to pick up this piece of trash. Those horror fans whom are after something a bit more mainstream will do well to not pick this up, anyone else who is a little in love with everything cult (myself included in this) should see it out.
Again like all Arrow Video releases it comes packed with some original extras including two commentaries, one of which is moderated by J.A. Kerswell (author of the rather brilliant Teenage Wasteland) as well as one commentary with star Caroline Munro. Other extras include two in-depth interviews with one of the directors and Caroline Munro (the latter of which is around 30 minutes long) and a rather dated trailer. As usual it is packed with a reversible cover (art work by the amazing Graham Humphreys), a collector’s booklet with two extensive essays and a fold-out poster.
Arrow’s treatment for this is lovingly crafted and I suggest you purchase at once, or I’ll send the Jester round...
Dominic O'Brien is an aspiring writer and filmmaker; he is a cult film fanatic and continues to seek out the weirdest and strangest films committed to celluloid.
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