Box art and title say it all! ‘Slaughter High’ is one of literally thousands of coed stalk and slash movies released in the 1980s, many of which are not worth any of your time, never mind your money. Whilst most have since drifted into obscurity, it would appear that only the best have survived and, whilst I certainly don’t want to induce any love/hate Arrow releases comments, the fact that Arrow have indeed decided to give the movie a spruce up release means that they at least must have thought it worthy of their time. Overall, I’m happy to say, whilst certainly it’s not up there with the best, it’s far from bad.
First off, the plot, an entertaining if unoriginal tale of a prank gone wrong, sees a group of youthful individuals back at the scene of their crime at a high school reunion. In true stupendous fashion one of their practical jokes left class geek Archie both badly burned by fire and hideously disfigured by nitric acid burns, and it would appear he wasn’t best pleased with this and has planned a little surprise of his own. The reunion turns out to be the stage for his revenge as one by one they are killed off in ever more gratuitous fashion.
The creators of ‘Slaughter High’ decided to play the whole affair a little tongue in cheek, and thank god they did. The acting is seriously poor. Whether for laughs or not, many of the stereotype characters are forced to deliver some proper cringe worthy material, and if it wasn’t for the presence of scream queen Caroline Munro, I may have believed that these guys weren’t even paid actors, but simply mates of the director. The whole plot is naturally quite contrived, even for slasher horror, but thankfully it’s sensibly paced. The final showdown is a little drawn out, but then there is the double bluff finale that so many of these movies deemed essential to consider just before the credits rolled which padded it out a little more than was needed (not quite as effective as ‘Sleep away camp’ but along those lines). Thankfully though before that there were sufficient scenes of murder and nudity to carry the story along nicely.
What shocked me a little about this movie was that the kill scenes were actually pretty gruesome; with exploding intestines and an acid bath acting as highlights. There is a decent body count, and whilst there are some ‘boring’ deaths i.e. hanging, most of the murders are shown in full graphic gory with some of the effects actually looking quite nice. Certainly ‘Slaughter High’ is one of the more violent slashers of the era, especially considering the budget and the lack of any big-name gore fx guys on set.
Overall ‘Slaughter High’ is an entertainingly passable feature with little to either love or hate. I am quite a fan of these campy movies and it was nice to see one I haven’t seen before which wasn’t total gash. It would be hard to recommend as a top ten slasher simply because it is so unoriginal, despite trying quite hard with the silly ending, but if the price is right (which let’s face it, with DVD’s these days it seldom isn’t) give it a chance.