Slaughter High (Ezra/Dugdale/Litten, 1986)

Slaughter High is a movie I’ve seen around plenty for years, but never got round to watching until just recently. It’s the (mostly) fairly typical slasher plot of a dude, tormented by his peers, who endures a tragic accident and swears revenge on them years later. Y’know, like in The Burning, Friday the 13th, Hatchet, that kind of stuff. What really sets this killer apart is that you see his penis in the opening scenes. You see dick in this movie before you even see boobs. Possibly a schlock horror movie first? Who knows.

The movie starts out in presumably the 70s, despite everyone having 80s haircuts and fashion sense. A group of teenagers who look about 45 decide to play an April Fool’s prank on the school nerd, Marty, which involves promising him sex, leading him into the girl’s locker room, then filming him nude before dunking his head in a toilet. Perhaps the biggest culture shock in this movie is how the group of ‘teenagers’ set up an elaborate film rig to capture the moment, complete with giant shoulder-mounted camera, boom mic, the works. No iPhones and Youtube back then. In fact, who knows how they were going to distribute the footage. Betamax tape?

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So they film his dick and chuck him in a toilet, then the coach comes in and gives them all detention except for Marty, who’s told to leave the locker room (naked, for some reason). Presumably he had spare clothes in case of such incidents cos shortly later he’s in the chemistry lab, balancing a bottle of nitric acid on a bookshelf and muttering. A couple of the jocks have given him a join that, I dunno, it exploded or something, then some shit happens and the lab blows up, his face and hands get burned off, and there’s a time jump to ten years later.

 Surprise! His tormentors are still fucking assholes, and they’ve all managed to stay in touch for an entire decade. Who does that? We’re reintroduced to the cast, and find out they are immensely intolerable. Basically they are this; the class joker, two dudes who are basically the same dude who make jock-like comments non-stop, another dude who wears a leather jacket and has erectile dysfunction, a woman who dies before they had to give her a personality, a screeching Bostonian woman, a woman who just doesn’t *have* a personality and the main character, Carol, who I think was a porn star or something even though this is never mentioned. She’s played by Caroline Munro, from Maniac and The Spy Who Loved Me.

 They’re invited to their ten year high school anniversary but the school’s all boarded up and ruined and shit, but they go in anyway because who the fuck wouldn’t, right? And the old high school janitor, who never did shit to anyone, still works there. He’s just hanging out, then he gets killed by what we presume to be Marty wearing a jester’s costume. The costume is symbolic because one of the girls was wearing it in the locker room the day they filmed his dick, because it was set on April Fool’s Day so there’s imagery and shit.

 They hang out and find their lockers in a room with beer and snacks, and reminisce about their high school days, including a few slightly regretful comments about the fact they caused a boy to be horribly disfigured in a fire, but it’s okay, apparently he got better and went to work at IBM so the killer definitely can’t be Marty, right? Well, spoiler, it is, even though I thought maybe they’d do something interesting and have it as the coach who was secretly his dad or something, like in that one Friday the 13th movie where Jason wasn’t even in it. But nah, it’s Marty. Sorry. So the dudebros decide to chug some beer, and one of the beers (just one of them!) is spiked with something, I don’t know what, but whatever beer-spiking substance can cause someone’s intestines to explode out of their abdomen I guess. Coke Zero perhaps. Anyway, that happens and his guts explode all over the others’ faces, so they all fuck off around the school looking for a way out (they’re locked in) and one of them, the woman who dies before she gets a personality, finds a private bathroom and has a bath. Of course, some fucking joker has replaced the water with acid and she melts to death in a bathtub, leaving only her skeleton behind. The others find her and they’re all like, shit, she’s dead, then a couple of them escape to the car which results in their deaths at the hands of the Jester, another dude goes to fix a tractor which results in his death at the hands of the Jester, two of them go to an upstairs bedroom and have an extra-marital affair which results in their death at the hands of the Jester via the means of an electric bed, almost as if he knew they’d inexplicably have sex in this one bedroom.

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Okay so here’s the thing, right? This movie’s set in an abandoned school, but there isn’t a single classroom. There’s a gym, and some locker rooms, but mostly it’s just bathrooms and bedrooms. It wasn’t even a boarding school! Who the fuck goes to school in a place like this? And who the fuck has sex in it? Well, these people do, and they get fried. I’m not even sure how the dude died, he was the one with erectile dysfunction but I think he eventually gets it up, sticks it in, and gets electrocuted through his dick while his sex partner (tractor-man’s wife) burns alive via electricity.

Eventually all the others get killed off in a deadly game of cat and mouse between Marty and his former tormentors. Marty takes a severe beating and shrugs it off, and seems to possess superhuman strength which is like, well, why? Having your face burned a bit doesn’t give you superpowers. But wait! The movie actually explains this! After Marty butchers everyone, they come back as ghosts/zombies/whatever. Then the movie goes a bit Thriller and they dance around taunting him.

Then Marty wakes up. Yup, the entire movie was a dream set days after the original prank. The nurse tells him the skin grafts have gone perfectly and his face will be totally healed and everything will be fine. That’s nice! A happy ending. But nah. Marty’s not okay with this, I guess because his dream gave him a taste of murder, so he kills the nurse, dresses in her outfit, stands with his back to the door then stabs a doctor in the eye with a syringe, escaping to presumably commit a reign of terror inspired by his dream. Then it ends.

Probably the best thing about the movie was the theme song by Harry Manfredini. It’s like… shit, I don’t even know how to describe it. Like Twisted Sister if the band had too much sugar at a birthday party. Listen below. The song loops repeatedly on the DVD main menu, and I actually fell asleep after the movie finished with this playing, so my subconscious endured it for about eight hours. No idea what lasting effects this will have.

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The movie was pretty fun, really, and kind of knowingly awful in the way silly 80s slasher movies could be. I think, anyway. I mean, who fucking knows really. Maybe they thought they were making the next Citizen Kane, or a hard-hitting tale of bullying. Either way, it’s worth a watch if you’re after a totally mindless slice of classic 80s horror that achieves absolutely nothing in forwarding the genre.

Best bit: The dudebro’s guts graphically exploding out of his abdomen.

Worst bit: Every other part involving said dudebro that didn’t involve him dying painfully.

Most notable scene: Opening minutes full-frontal penis.

IMDB link: here

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