Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, November 14, 2008

April Fool's Day (1986)

Directed by:
Fred Walton

What appears to be your standard 80s slasher movie for the first 80 or so minutes really is just your standard 80s slasher movie for the first 80 or so minutes. Yet this one has a reputation for being "different" and that's because there's a major pull-the-rug-out-from-under-the-audience surprise ending which I won't reveal here just in case you haven't seen it. You'll either like it or you'll hate it. Personally I didn't care much for it and that's because I've seen the same style of ending used countless times already. You know, in flicks like Mark of the Vampire (1935), Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (1956) and the list goes on. Here it's simply applied to a slasher flick, a subgenre primarily known for body counts and gore. Since the kills are all off-screen (people usually just walk off somewhere and are found dead later) and the horror component is ultimately undermined anyway, some people will find it a nice change of pace while others find it a complete waste of time.

The usually enjoyable Deborah Foreman (from the hit comedy Valley Girl and several additional late 80s horror offerings) stars as Muffy St. Jacques, who invites a group of wealthy future-yuppie collegiate types to her family's secluded island mansion. Once there, someone in the group starts threatening the characters and then starts prowling around, killing them off one by one. There's a decapitated head, an off screen castration, a hanging and a pretty good scene in a well. Since it's April Fool's Day, the cast plays all kinds of practical jokes on each other, so most of the characters think everything is fake until dead bodies start popping up. The people behind it called it a "parody" of FRIDAY THE 13TH (it's by the same producer) and despite having fairly good production values and being generally well made, I found it pretty bland and ordinary for the most part. I also didn't feel like the ending was clever enough to redeem the rest. I like a lot of the actors in this movie (especially Clayton Rohner) but I didn't care for the characters they played here. Talk about obnoxious. The cast includes Jay Baker, Deborah Goodrich, Tom Heaton, Ken Olandt, Griffin O'Neal, Amy Steel (FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 2) and Thomas F. Wilson (from the Back to the Future films). Trapped (1989), a made-for-cable effort involving a businesswoman trapped in a high rise with a killer, was the next horror offering from the director.


spookyx3 said...


not even worth watching for deborah foreman. i'd avoided AFD for years on the assumption i already knew the big reveal ("it's there in the title!"), and it turned out i was right. did the "gotcha" ending work on anyone? i rarely guess killers' identities, or unravel puzzle plots, but whenever the key to a film is in part of a scene they elect not to show...

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Agree for the most part, though I need to try to re-watch this movie at some point. This is basically just a routine slasher movie that happens to also be anti-climactic. It's not clever or funny at all, though it thinks it is.

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