Horror Series: April Fools Day (1986)

Get Ready to party until you drop.

April Fools Day is one of my all time favorite “horror” movies.  I used to have this poster that I poached from a video store (remember those? Another relic of the past gone forever thanks to Netflix and Red box) hung proudly on my purple bedroom walls next to my poster of my beloved two Corey’s.

Rich college student, Muffy St John has her friends, Harvey, Nikki, Rob, Skip, Nan, Kit and Arch, to her remote private mansion for a weekend get together during  Spring Break to celebrate their final year in school.  The beginning of the movie shows Muffy getting things ready for the party and she remembers a Jack-in-the-box from her childhood (figures in later in the movie) and many other eerie jokes such as heroin paraphernalia in a guest room, a recording of a crying baby.

Her friends start to mysteriously disappear and the group discovers that there is no way to get off the island until Monday.  The remainder of the people of the group believes that Muffy has an insane twin sister, Buffy when they find Muffy’s severed head in a basement.  Muffy has never been on the island they believe.  (The accident with the deckhand was just a red herring)

It is revealed that the whole movie was fake but rather a staged weekend of horror for her friends. Each “victim” agreed to take part as things were explained to them.   They celebrate with champagne.

Muffy later finds the jack-in-the-box gift wrapped on her bed after the celebration.  She opens it, turns the crank and when the jack pops up, Nan comes from behind and slits her throat with a razor.  Muffy is terrified but soon realizes that she is not bleeding.  Her friends “got” her back for the weekend’s events.

This movie is really an early commentary on the 80’s slasher film.  This film has twists and turns that you don’t see coming.  Part murder mystery and part slasher film it has something for everyone.

It’s pretty tame for todays standards but this movie scared me because you think everything is real (in the story) until the big reveal and then you think that Muffy really gets her throat slashed at the end and you have to laugh with relief. When watching this film remember it’s the journey, not the destination that is important.

It is said that there is a a straight-to-DVD remake but I haven’t seen it.

Cast

  • Jay Baker – Harvey Edison, Jr.
  • Deborah Foreman – Muffy/Buffy St. John
  • Deborah Goodrich – Nikki Brashares
  • Ken Olandt – Rob Ferris
  • Griffin O’Neal – Skip St. John
  • Leah Pinsent- Nan Youngblood
  • Clayton Rohner – Chaz Vyshinski
  • Amy Steel – Kit Graham
  • Thomas F. Wilson – Arch Cummings
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