Time for another early ‘80s staple of horror filmmaking: the slasher flick. Over the course of this project I have reviewed quite a few already and most assuredly will be reviewing many more as I quest towards 365 films.
Graduation Day is the only slasher film that I can recall that centers on a high school track team. So, its got that going for it. It also has Vanna White before she got a sweet gig turning lighted puzzle blocks over and Scream Queen Linnea Quigley even makes a short appearance.
The film opens with one of the weirdest songs in slasher history. The song, as I understood it, is about winning. This has something to do with a girl’s track race that is going on and as the song nears it dramatic conclusion a girl (who wins the race) collapses and dies. Apparently, she can win track races but not life.
Out of the ashes of the track star’s death rises a killer who likes to wear a fencing outfit. I guess they hadn’t thought of janitor knife gloves and hockey masks were already taken. From here the actors or caricatures (because that is what they really are) cruise down the predictable path of dying one by one. Who is the masked fencemen? Does it even matter?
The deaths are okay by early ‘80s standards, featuring a really nice and original sword-through-a-football-toss death scene. I was super impressed with the killer’s accuracy. It seems to me that the football may have thrown off the balance, but no, the killer’s aim was dead on.
The sister of the dead girl is without a doubt the best character. She is a no-nonsense tough bitch from the Navy. We know she is tough because she almost beats up a trucker and mouths off to her Dad a lot. She is setup to be the main character, but then disappears for about half the film. My thought is she was dykeing it out with Vanna, but that is just my guess.
At some point in the film the director had an idea to make his film even more totally rad. He thought, “What could possibly make this better? Oh, I know! An 8-minute song from the world’s worst band.” In retrospect, this was not a good idea. I dare you to sit through this part of the movie without wanting to get up, turn off the T.V., or leave the room. It has to rank as one of the worst scenes in all of Slasherdom.
Despite being mostly bad the whole way through the film apparently made $24 million dollars (budget of 250K) during it’s theatrical release. This is equivalent to roughly $8 trillion dollars today, making this the most successful movie ever. Take that Titanic.
Snore Factor: ZZZZ