Sunday, June 12, 2011
This, quite frankly, is my favorite slasher movie of all time. While I have an unhealthy obsession with Jason Voorhees, and I can't get enough of April Fool's Day and all its shenanigans, this movie right here will forever rise above them all. It not only basks in all the deliciously predictable tropes that the slasher movie revels in, it throws them all at your face in a constant, absurd barrage; an inept, constant, absurd barrage to boot. If for a brief moment you forget that this is gleefully by the numbers or might actually do something different, it throws another stereotype right at you just to shut you up. Your brain is not allowed to criticize the nonsense, it is forced to shut down and revel in it. And that, my friends, is the beauty of Slaughter High.
Let's dig in, shall we?
Slaughter High is the story of Marty. He is the biggest nerd ever captured on film. He out-Urkels Urkel, he makes Lewis and Gilbert look like the party kings of Delta Tau Chi, and has less sex appeal than George McFly at his worst. Hell, he even makes Egon Spengler's hobbies look interesting. Point is, Marty's entire existence is to be a ludicrous stereotype. The other point is I wanted to see how many references to other characters I could make until I got bored.
Now, Marty is kind of gullible, so a 36-year-old Caroline Munroe and her other absurdly aged co-stars, playing high school students, decide to torture him because it is April Fool's Day. I know in the 80's they usually got older people to play high school students, but half the characters look like they've been chain-smoking and drinking away their second failed marriage. Furthermore, these future victims, are, quite frankly, the most hilariously evil cannon fodder to grace the slasher genre. Usually, there is one or two people you can feel bad for in the group. Like wheelchair guy in Friday the 13th Part 2. Not in this gang though, no sir. It would not be out of place for them all to have mustaches and to be twirling them constantly. I half expected them to tie Marty to some railroad tracks.
What they do do to the little pipsqueak is much, much more ridiculous.
Caroline Munroe takes Marty into the forbidden GIRL'S LOCKER ROOM, convincing him that she totally wants to hop his boner. Marty, being a nerd who will never get laid, cheerfully goes along. As Marty is undressing, the horde of jerks come into said locker room. They set up a camera, get a big stick to poke him with, and electrify the towel rack. And, in all his splendor, Marty pops out to be poked with a sharp stick, electrocuted, and given a swirly. All while he is completely, utterly, and spectacularly nude.
That's right, folks; the first bit of nudity in this film is some wang, and boy does it flop around but good. There is something inherently hilarious about an unattractive dude naked, and boy does Slaughter High deliver.
Naturally, the gang gets caught by a coach who couldn't give two shits about Marty, but really likes punishing jerks, and they blame them getting in trouble for torturing Marty on Marty, so they torture him even more. Yeah, that sentence gives me a headache, too.
The vile pranksters get detention, which means doing the least convincing push-ups ever and kinda dicking around with weights, while Marty, again being a nerd, has to do science stuff in the chemistry lab. Two of the gang sneak off and give him a "joint" which is filled with something that explodes and makes Marty run off and vomit.
Did I mention that it is also his birthday? I feel as though I should mention this. It just makes everything they do to him so much more awful.
While Marty is vomiting, one of the dudes tricks the gym coach into letting him out of detention and sneaks into the chemistry lab. He pours some stuff into whatever dorky science thing Marty was working on that makes it fizz. Naturally, that fizzing turns into an explosion, and Marty gets horribly burned. Also, acid splashes into his face. Because, really, fire is just a nuisance, but nitric acid, well, that's the stuff that'll really disfigure a dude.
Anyway, turns out this is all just Caroline Munroe dreaming about the past, and we flash forward to the present, where everyone is closer to their proper age. Also, none of them got in trouble for almost murdering Marty. No jury will convict the cool kids for maiming a nerd. So, Caroline Munroe takes the least convincing shower ever (yes, the film makers could not make a shower convincing), and meets the old gang at the high school for a class reunion. Only it really isn't a class reunion, it's just Marty setting them all up to be murdered. He wants, revenge, see. I can't quite imagine why.
So, Marty starts murdering them, and every time you try to feel bad for them, one of the characters will continue to be an awful human being, and you are convinced that Marty is doing the right thing. All of the murders are hokey as all get out, and rely on sheer luck. Seriously, these idiots just straight up set themselves up to be made deceased. More so than a usual slasher.
And then, much like Rock 'N' Roll Nightmare, the ending is so absurdly moronic, I cannot talk about it. It raises way too many questions about how anything we just saw mattered. Or happened.
Needless to say, it is delightful. But I don't give a damn about what is needless, so I said it.
I know I have talked much more about the plot than I usually do, but I feel it is important for all you all to know all that stuff I mentioned in detail? Yeah, it happens in the first twenty minutes. Marty gets tortured continuously for no good reason. It just doesn't stop for the puny dork. The movie is constantly hammering it into you that hey, you should feel bad for Marty. You really should. Then, when everyone starts getting murdered , you are asked to feel bad for the gang, but especially Caroline Munroe, but that dang broad started this whole mess. How'm I gonna feel bad for a harpy that makes me dangle my junk in front of some bullies? It's just not right.
That's just a sample of what makes this movie so enjoyable -- its just spectacularly insane. Not only is there gratuitous bullying, and the most inane reasons for nudity I have seen in quite a while, everything is just ratcheted way past the normal levels of insanity you'd expect from a slasher flick. Half the deaths are caused because Marty is a psychic MacGyver. He can poison the exact beer you are going to drink and also be outside waiting for you to get in a car. He can even set up a giant poster of himself in the most hilarious pose possible, just so he can jump out of it at the exact moment and murder you but quick. Even the theme song is just plain ridiculous.
Not only do you hear this version throughout the film at, oh, say five minute intervals, but you also get to hear orchestral variations on it. Because really, when I think of what a bunch of trained, classical musicians should be doing, recording sweeping versions of slasher movie theme songs is the top of my list. You just know you wanna hear a string quartet do a lilting version of Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch, Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah.
Theme song aside, a monumental reason Slaughter High is great is the fact that it just feels like no one really cared about consistency. They introduce a character during the reunion that we have never seen before, and just pretend she was always there. You just know they added her last minute because their breast quota just wasn't up to par, and Caroline Munroe never took her top off. They complain about the high school being locked up and abandoned, only to go through the first door they see like it was no big thing. Seriously, right before everyone piles in the door, they are bemoaning the fact that they will never get in. Then it starts raining and they all go to through the door. I guess lightning opens locks. And that's just from the first thirty minutes. Trust me, more of them pop up in hilarious ways, and all these inconsistencies and oversights just make the film more enjoyable.
Speaking of inconsistencies, let's not forget the layout of the school. It is literally a mix between a Gothic mansion, a farmhouse, and a high school from the 1950's. It features such things as a gigantic master bedroom, a barn with a tractor, locker rooms complete with bathtubs, rooms that are nothing but red velvet couches and a window, a gigantic auditorium, and, my favorite: a sweet party room that looks like the basement of a church where you go for AA or Cub Scout meetings. Every time the characters go to a new location, it feels like they have gone to an entirely different building. I really want to see the blueprints of the building, because I would not be surprised to find a ball pit, the Bat Cave, and a grand dining hall all just off to that one corner they didn't turn.
But, the real stars of this movie, shockingly, are the victims. I mean, Marty was played to the nerd extreme in the beginning, but the people getting knocked off are hilarious. Yes, they are all stereotypes. I will refer to them as their stereotypes, because it is easier than remembering their boring, common names. You got the dumb jock, the busty blonde vixen, the wise cracker, the shrieking girl who always says something negative will happen, Caroline Munroe (She pretty much plays herself in every movie. Acting range was not exactly her bag, more so the promise of breasts you will never see.), the blonde vixen's mechanic husband, and cannon fodder with no personality. Oh, and Caroline Munroe's sister who literally drives up to the high school only to die immediately. Okay, so maybe they aren't all normal stereotypes as only half of them even have personalities. I guess being a red shirt counts as a stereotype?
What makes them fun to watch is that they are just so colossally stupid. You mix that with the fact that they are also straight up dicks, and something magic happens. You sit there watching them waffle between being scared stupid victims and outright pricks to each other and Marty for no good reason, and you have to wonder: what am I supposed to be feeling right now?
Let me give you an example:
A bunch of people have been killed, including the chick that showed up out of nowhere and was suddenly their best friend. Everyone is scared and huddled together. So, out of the blue, the busty blonde vixen takes the dumb jock up to the master bedroom. Mind you, she is married to another character who is busy trying to save their lives, and she tells him she ain't dig on her husband as much as she digs on him. Furthermore, she proceeds to try to have sex with him by telling him that he, not her husband, is the father of her child. And even further, when he fails to please her the first time, she starts demeaning him and calling him gay. Of course, they get murdered during round two when he gives her a proper poundin'
I want to remind you that no more than ten minutes earlier, we are supposed to kinda feel sorry for her. Yeah, I don't get it either.
But, like I said, that is the magic of Slaughter High. It indeed makes your brain shut off, probably due to the massive frustration caused by all this bullshit, but also because your face is too busy cramping from the gigantic grin its got planted on it.