Way back in October of 2013, we covered this little slasher flick called Slaughter High for our Grindhouse Weekly feature, and while I recognized then, and still do now, that this isn’t a very good film by any stretch, it’s easy to see why it garnered a bit of a cult following over the years.
Released in 1986 during the heyday of the slasher film, Slaughter High follows a group of twentysomethings returning to their high school for a reunion only to find the place deserted, save for the masked killer hell bent on exacting his revenge on them for their past transgressions.
It’s an odd film, brought to the screen by three directors (George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten) and shot for next to nothing using mostly student actors. Though it takes place in the United States, the entire film was shot in London at an abandoned school and asylum, with one exterior scene taking place on a golf course so the filmmakers could have the cars be on the right side of the road.
The effects work is solid, and the kills are unique, though the supernatural ending and subsequent twist feel slightly baffling. It’s got all the makings of an ’80s horror classic, and I’m happy to report the Blu-ray edition honors it as just that. Released by Lionsgate as part of the Vestron Video Collector’s Series, Slaughter High has been digitally restored and provides the best-looking version of the film to date, although it’s not on the same level of clarity as some of the other Vestron Blu-rays.
An audio commentary track with co-writers and directors George Dugdale and Peter Litten accompanies the feature, which turns out to be one of the most entertaining and humorous commentary tracks I’ve heard in quite a while. The two have an undeniable rapport with one another, and their self-deprecating humor about the goofs in the film manage to be both funny and an insightful look into the making of the film.
Some of the other features include an interview with co-writer/director Mark Ezra, an interview with actress Caroline Munro, an audio interview with composer Harry Manfrendini (who was paid the same amount as the rest of the entire budget of the film), an alternate title sequence, the theatrical trailer, radio spots and a still gallery.
Like all the Vestron Blu-rays I’ve been gushing about over the last year, Slaughter High is packed with as many features as possible and is a must-have for all discerning horror collectors. One of these days Lionsgate is going to whiff one of these releases; hell, even Criterion has a misfire here and there, but today is not that day. Pick up Slaughter High and take a trip back to the glory days of campy horror.