April Fool’s Day (1986)
Let me start off this review by saying that we at Horror Hothouse love a good seasonal flick, from our Christmas and Halloween favourites to the more elusive holidays that you wouldn’t even expect there to be a horror movie for, such as birthday’s, New Year’s Eve and, of course, April Fool’s Day.
April Fool’s Day is the brainchild of writer Danilo Bach and director Fred Watlon (When A Stranger Calls). Released in 1986, when some may argue that the slasher genre was on its way out, April Fool’s Day takes all of the stock ingredients of your typical 80s slasher and turns them on their heads.
The film opens with home video footage of a group of friends on a boat, sailing out to their friend Muffy’s (Deborah Foreman) mansion for a debauched weekend (conveniently April Fool’s Day weekend) to celebrate their final year of school. It’s only a matter of hours before we start to discover that the friends all have sordid secrets from their pasts and, one by one, the cast falls by the wayside. As the name would suggest, there is more than meets the eye and it seems that only our hostess Muffy has a clue as to what may be going on and that perhaps she invited her friends Kit (Amy Steel), Arch (Thomas F. Wilson), Hal (Jay Baker) and Chaz (Clayton Rohner), Skip (Griffin O’Neal) Buck (Mike Nomad) and Rob (Ken Olandt) to her mansion under false pretences. Soon enough suspicion rears it’s ugly head, tearing the group apart when it would appear they need each other most.
April Fool’s Day effortlessly meshes together elements of both the slasher and comedy genres, whilst bringing a healthy dose of ‘whodunnit’ to the equation. It is a fast paced, fun movie with some truly terrific kills, and, whilst many slasher fans have revealed their disappointment at the final twist, I don’t think the films was let down for it. The twist is what takes the movie from just another fun, but somewhat mundane movie to one of slightly more substance. If you want a movie that bends our most beloved of genres, then April Fool’s Day is one that does just that. The cast is likeable, the dialogue is witty, and the film wastes no time throwing us into the action. There isn’t a fantastic amount of bloodshed, so if you are big on gore then perhaps this isn’t for you, but for retro horror fans and slasher aficionados, this is a must see.
Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone.