Great Holiday Horror: “April Fool’s Day” (1986)

April Fools Day (1986) is a crafty little film that to the in trained eye could be easily written off as ‘just another slasher film’. Coming at the tail end of the golden era of slasher movies April Fools Day manages to be far more intelligent then the audience watching it. It has a subtle post modern streak running through the entire film. It knows it’s a slasher, it knows things have been done to death and it plays up to them.

If New Nightmare refined this and Scream perfected it Fools Day pioneers it. This ties in with the whole April Fools Day motif and the fact that early into the film a double bluff is pulled so as to keep the audience guessing. Those who dislike the twist at the end miss the whole point the film is the ‘prank’ and better for it. Unlike themed slashers from the 90s onwards this film sticks to its ideas and fils the movie with jokes, scares and deaths all themed around bad luck and pranks gone wrong. The jack in the box wrap around always sets me on edge coupled with the bouncy playful score that’s just the other side of unnerving. The cast do a great job of acting natural and feel like friends who know each other and don’t seem like stock characters. Few films these days manage to make you believe in the people your watching too interested in selling you the movie with sex appeal and ‘stunt’ casting.

April Fools Day is a great example of movie making to make a film and NOT to sell t-shirts. Though I know I’d rather own an April Fools tee then a Twilight one. The film sets a great atmosphere and creepy vibe throughout and even shows a mean steak towards the final strech. I applaud it for having guts to pull a last minute scare/prank on the audience literally winking at us before the credits roll. Anyone who isn’t left with a big smile on their face is made of stone.

–Wesley James Skelly

The Life of the Party: “April Fools Day” (1986) Review

In the 1980’s, if there was a holiday, there was a horror movie. Christmas got “Silent Night, Deadly Night” and “Black Christmas”, prom got “Prom Night”, birthdays got “Happy Birthday to Me”, Graduation Day got…umm…”Graduation Day”, New Years Eve got “New Years Evil”, and Halloween got…umm….”Halloween”. Okay, so creativity was never a strong suit of the slasher genre… Today we will be looking at one of my all time favorite holiday horror movies the very underrated “April Fools Day”. Seriously, this movie has everything! Amy Steel from “Friday the 13th: Part 2”? Check! Deborah Foreman from the criminally underrated “Waxwork”. Check! The overgrown bully Biff from “Back to the Future”? Check! A surprise twist ending? Double check! C’mon, look at the above poster and tell me that you don’t instantly fall in love…

The plot is quite simple. A group of eight college friends (each more annoying than the next) gather together at an island mansion belonging to heiress Muffy St. John to celebrate their final year of school. They soon discover that each has a hidden secret from their past which is revealed, and soon after, they turn up dead. Yet, are they really dead? Or is it just part of some very real and cruel April Fool’s jokes? The hostess, Muffy, is the only one who apparently knows what’s going on. But then again, is it really her doing the killing?

All in all, “April Fool’s Day is a fun little slasher that doesn’t take itself too seriously. With the wonderful Amy Steel as our lead final girl, you know that you are going to be in for a treat. I can’t say that everything about this movie is perfect. With the expectation of Steel and Foreman, Foreman playing the crazy Muffy/Buffy twin duo, none of the characters are particularly memorable and a few are down right annoying. Also, much of this movie’s enjoyable for you will be whether or not you are able to “buy” the final twist. While this requires a few HUGE leaps of logic, I really didn’t have a problem with it. Maybe this is just one of those movies where you just can’t think too hard? Anyway, any movie with Amy Steel in it is a winner and how many horror movies from the 80’s do you get to see in beautiful widescreen and not letterboxed formatting? Do yourself a favor and take a break this April Fools from tricking your friends and treat them with this fine 80’s slasher.