Slaughter High (1986) | Cheap thrills abound in the British-made stalk-and-slash horror

Slaughter High DVD cover

When it comes to nerds getting their revenge on their classmates, my favourite is 1974’s Horror High (aka Twisted Brain). In that film, geeky student Vernon Potts (Pat Cardi) turns himself into a rampaging monster to pick off his tormentors one by one. It might have been made on the cheap, but it’s the inventive death scenes that have made it a cult classic.

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Another cheaply made revenge slasher that’s loved by genre fans is 1986’s Slaughter High. The geek in question this time round is Marty Rantzen (Simon Scuddamore), who is left disfigured after a school prank goes wrong. But he gets his revenge years later when he invites the bullies to a reunion at their old high school, which now lies derelict, and begins to pick them off one by one until legendary Scream Queen Caroline Munro is left alone to face her fate.

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The elaborately staged deaths and Munro are the only reasons to catch this British-made, US-set slice of 1980s nonsense. The script is ropey, the production design is cheap, the American accents are appalling [even if five of the cast members are American] and the whole thing treads familiar territory despite boasting three writer/directors (one of whom was Munro’s hubby). But horror fans swear by it (and so do my fellow Munro fans). Anyway, who am I to complain, ’cause Horror High is just as cheesy. But the last word goes to co-director Peter Mackenzie Litten, who wrote to me back in 2011 saying: ‘I think it’s quite funny actually!  And entirely true, of course. But to be fair – it was made for 20K…’

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The Arrow Films 2011 DVD release is a huge improvement on my old VHS copy, but you can’t really improve on areas (like the sound) that were shaky in the first place. The special features, however, are really interesting. These include interviews with actor Mark Ezra and Caroline Munro (the story of her career is fascinating stuff); two commentaries (one with Ezra, the other with Munro); Arrow’s always welcomed custom artwork covers; and a collector’s booklet, featuring an essay on the film and an interview with composer Harry Manfredini.

Slaughter High is available on DVD in the UK from Arrow Films, and also screens in the UK on The Horror Channel (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freesat 138), with the next showing on Monday 14 April at 10.45pm.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcIFsbilj3E%5D

About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on April 14, 2014, in British Film, Cult classic, Horror, Might See, Might-See and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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