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  April Fool's Day
Year: 1986
Director: Fred Walton
Stars: Deborah Foreman, Jay Baker, Mike Norman, Griffin O'Neal, Ken Olandt, Amy Steel, Deborah Goodrich, Leah Pinsent, Clayton Rohner
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 3 votes)
Review: It must be the ideal job... Sitting around all day drinking coffee, counting your money and shagging wannabe film starlets, thinking up special occassions upon which to base slasher movies. Just imagine the likes of Easter Meat, Merry Fucking Christmas and Peter Sutcliffe's Spring Bank Holiday II (Hammer Time). GCSE Results Day, where the class remedial goes nuts after getting less than he bargained for. St. Georges Day, where a hideously disfigured and obese skinhead embarks on his own special brand of "ethnic cleansing" after being shortchanged by a taxi-driver. Okay, so the list is hardly endless, but that is why you must get in there first! And when you finally do run out of ideas, then you can start on the sequels, endless sequels. Nothing to do but dream of endless sex and violence. What a life.

April Fool's Day. That terrible day of the year that instills fear in all of us. A whoopee cushion here, an exploding cigarette there... Hiding under the bedclothes until midday in case someone telephones, pretending to be a pregnant schoolgirl's angry father. The tradition, apparently, was started in the Middle Ages, when someone left a plastic dogturd on the doorstep of King Alfred the Great and was hung, drawn and quartered for their trouble. But afterwards Alfred had to laugh, and declared April Fools' Day a nationwide celebration.

Neurotic rich-kid trickster Muffy has her own way of celebrating April Fool's Day. She invites all her middle-aged, teenage friends to her massive island hideaway for a fun get-together. Before the party's even begun, however, one of the elderly youths has fallen into the sea and has had his head crushed between the ferry and the dock. No matter, he's taken away to hospital and the kids continue with their fun and games as if nothing has happened (as you do). A few silly pranks later and the bloodless, offscreen murders begin, gradually becoming (ever-so-slightly) more gruesome as the movie progresses, in a vain attempt to hold the viewers' attention. A few moments of laid-back suspense later and we find out that Muffy has an evil twin sister, Buffy, who's responsible for all this carnage. Yet more edge-of-your-seat snoozing and we find out that Buffy doesn't have an evil twin sister at all, and all of this has been an elaborate joke. Then Muffy has her throat cut. But not really! That was just a joke as well! Yeah, I don't quite understand it either, but I'll be fucked if I'm gonna watch this shit again. It's not like I really care or anything....

So what's wrong with it? Like you don't know? First up, the story. It's ridiculously simple until the last five minutes or so, when it manages to hang itself with its over-complexity. Then there's the characters, "teens" who look like over 40's tanktoppers, who talk endlessly about friendship and sex and wear cardigans right out of your mum's wardrobe. They also play tricks on each other: this becomes so monotonous that you would give your right hand just to wrap your left hand around their throats and squeeze every last drop of meaningless life out of their conservative little bodies. The murders are largely (ie. entirely) bloodless and uninspired, which signs April Fool's Day's death warrant from the very start. Plus it was made in 1986. Where I come from, that is what's known as "missing the boat", honey.

So listen, all you two-bit, here today, gone this afternoon directors. I'm gonna help you out here. There are only two types of slasher films. They are:

a) Violently absurd. Classy slashers that are totally ace, with interesting storylines, visual flair and acts of extreme violence, like Twitch of the Death Nerve, and:

b) Absurdly violent. Shit slashers that are totally ace, compensating for their lack of style with acts of extreme violence, like The Burning and Intruder.

Vicious misogyny and sleaze are also highly recommended, as are hideously disfigured killers that can come back again and again for an unspecified number of sequels. Don't forget a wide variety of murder weapons is required, ranging from the humble kitchen knife right up to the mighty steamroller. Lots of sex and swearing helps too, along with a copious helping of bad taste (such as babies and cripples being offed). The worst sin a slasher movie can commit is mind-numbing mediocrity. There is honestly nothing more to be said.
Reviewer: Wayne Southworth

 

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Fred Walton  ( - )

American genre director who has mostly worked in TV, but is best known for sort-of slashers When a Stranger Calls (which he sequelised with a 90s TV movie) and April Fool's Day.

 
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