1981. Quite possibly the peak year for slasher films. Halloween II, Friday the 13th Part 2, The Funhouse, Deadly Blessing, My Bloody Valentine, Night School, Eyes Of A Stranger, The Burning, and of course Graduation Day. As a gorehound, you were quite spoilt for choice.
Naturally, not all of these films were actually any good and worth the cost of a cinema ticket, but some most certainly were. As for Graduation Day? Read on to find out…
So, quick synopsis (taken from the IMBD, as it is more concise than I could manage):
After a high school track runner, named Laura, suddenly dies from a heart attack after finishing a 30-second 200-meter race, a killer wearing a sweat suit and a fencing mask begins killing off her friends on the school track team one by one. The suspects include the track coach Michaels, Laura’s sister Anne who arrives in town for the funeral, the creepy school principal Mr. Guglione, and Laura’s strange boyfriend Kevin.
So, a pretty straightforward slasher set up. Now, like almost all slasher films released at the time, Graduation Day was produced on a very small budget, somewhere in the region of £250,000. And like almost all other low budget films, it shows. Sure, some directors could make a low budget look like a much higher one thanks to great cinematography, and skillful set dressing, but sadly Herb freed is not one of them. This film looks cheap. Which isn’t a totally bad thing, as it lends a distinct air of small town sleaze to proceedings. Very obviously the majority of the budget went on the effects work, as the acting is of a similar low standard to the look of the film. Linnea Quigley pops up in a early horror role, looking exceptionally young and fresh faced, but beyond her and American Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, it is pretty much a case of “Where are they now?” The film was released at some point by Troma, and it fits nicely into their oeuvre.
So, overall, it is a very good package for a “meh” movie.
3.5/5 Fiends (but 5/5 for the Scream Queens documentary)
Gallery (click to enlarge):