Slaughter High (1986) Review

Cruel, goofy and unkind, Slaughter High has always been sort of an enigma to me. It starts off like a bad Porky’s rip-off and then veers into one of the most malicious (and graphically filmed) scenes in low budget horror history. And that’s just the first 15 minutes! Marty (Simon Scuddamore) is the nerdiest nerd this side of this side the Whiz Kids and finds himself the center of an appalling joke, involving Caroline Munro, a bizarre looking condom and a nude Marty. Please don’t make me spell it out more… After Marty gets his noggin’ dunked in the locker room toilet, the fun is called off by the school coach who orders the pranksters to detention. Of course, they blame Marty and plot their revenge, which leads to Marty being horribly scarred.

Jump to five or ten years later and the same kids are heading towards a high school reunion party (although it could be 25 years later—these young adults are old). They arrive at the now abandoned school and it looks like Marty is back too, dressed as jester and bent on retribution. Yada, yada, yada. Don’t expect any surprises because they’re not here. It’s obvious that someone was asleep at the wheel, but if they weren’t, Slaughter High might not have crashed and burned in such a beautiful way! By no means will I ever say this is a good movie, but there is an unquestionable endearing quality that remains for those of us who saw it growing up in the 80s. Like heroin, it’s hard to kick this weird little movie.

How Caroline Munro was blackmailed into this film I’ll never know but she does add that much appreciated dose of integrity and likeability, giving you someone to root for (or you could root for Marty like I do!). Produced in England, there is an inordinate amount of actors feigning American accents. They fall somewhere between not bad and awful, but remain fun. In fact, Stella, played by newcomer Donna Yeager is pretty (intentionally) amusing and she’s also in one of the most ridiculous sex scenes ever recorded.

Sadly, Scuddamore committed suicide shortly after this film was made and that sad fact makes watching his torture scene difficult to say the least. I used to imagine that it might have been his role in Slaughter High that sealed his fate. Although I will probably never know why he killed himself, I do know that making a low budget horror film should not push someone over the edge unless they were already toppling over. It’s still a sad fate and I’m sorry he never got to see that it became a minor cult favorite in small sects of the subgenre.

With this strange mixture of abysmal, tragic and inadvertently hilarious, one can see why this oddity remains so close to hearts of slasher fans. Some of us prefer our terror served up with a heaping plateful of just plain ol’ odd. Slaughter High definitely fits that bill.

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