A 1980’s gem of a horror film brings the typical revenge plot in play, but it is the inventive ways this revenge seeker offs his victims that drives this film, as well as some very interesting factoids that give this film its cult status.
Marty Rantzen is the quintessential nerd in school. He always becomes the victims of the elite of the school, including Carol, Skip, Stella, Joe, Frank, Shirley, and others. However, when one prank goes too far and Marty finds himself utterly humiliated, the pranksters find themselves in serious trouble. Blaming Marty for what has happened, Skip decides to pull a prank that will be unforgettable. During work on a science experiment, the bunson burner is rigged to set ablaze and in the midst of things, a bottle of nitric acid splashes onto Marty’s face, disfiguring him.
Flash forward ten years later. Carol has become a successful actress and she is invited to a reunion at the high school, which is set to be demolished. Carol meets up with her longtime friends at the rundown building. When Carol asks whatever happened to Marty, Skip tells them of a rumor that he was in a mental asylum and jokes that perhaps he set the reunion up for them so he can exact his revenge. However, the group soon learns that they are not alone when a mysterious person sporting a jester mask in also in the building? Could what Skip said be actually true? Is Marty back to get his revenge for the incident ten years ago?
That last question should pretty much have the obvious answer. This 80’s horror film, written and directed by the trio of George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Litten, is actually quite a fun film that capitalizes on the revenge plot and while the film was shot in the United Kingdom with an all-British cast, the film was meant to be set in an American high school.
This is a film where you must suspend reality in the fact that Caroline Munro, a veteran of horror films since the 1970’s, was in her mid-30’s and plays a teenager in the film’s first act of the film alongside the rest of the cast. With the exception of Simon Scuddamore, who plays Marty, the other cast do their best to play both the teens and their older selves. However, the film truly belongs to Scuddamore, who plays the revenge seeking Marty. Sadly, this would be his only film as he passed away shortly after the film’s release after battling depression.
What helps the film is that it breaks a bit from the norm in terms of ways to off the potential victims. When it comes to horror films, there have been ways in which tend to be inventive as well as generic, this film relies more on the inventive. They include what can happen if you drink a tainted beer, an acid bath, a new way and very interesting way of electrocution and the use of a very different quite of tool. However, the film’s major curveball comes in the finale, in which something very unexpected happens, and brings a bit of shock value in terms of not being scary, but more along the lines of a “what just happened” kind of way.
Slaughter High is definitely an 80’s cult horror film and with the recent news that Vestron Video is on the verge of a comeback on Blu-Ray, perhaps a new audience can be found should this title (and deservingly so) should be on the list of Vestron titles.
WFG RATING: B+
Vestron Pictures presents a Spectacular Trading International production. Directors: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Litten. Producers: Dick Randall and Steve Minasian. Writers: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Litten. Cinematography: Alan Pudney. Editing: Jim Connock.
Cast: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Donna Yeager, Gary Martin, Billy Hartman, Michael Saffran, John Segal, Kelly Baker, Sally Cross, Josephine Scandi.