Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Graduation Day Review

Who to Know
Herb Freed................Director

Anne Marisse.............Writer
Herb Freed.................Writer
David Baughn.............Writer

Christopher George.........Coach George Michaels
Patch Mckenzie.............Anne Ramstead
E. Danny Murphy...........Kevin Badger

Carmen Argenziano........Insp. Halliday
Vanna White.................Doris

The Story Goes...
A high school track runner dies from a heart attack just as she's finishing the race because her unrelenting coach continues to push her way beyond her abilities. The girl's sister, Anne, returns to their town, I assume to pay her respects, and at the same time the other members of the team are being murdered by a masked killer. He uses a stopwatch to time the murders to ensure that death occurs at 30 seconds. It's up to inspector Halliday to discover who the murderer is, and save the remaining team members.  

My Thoughts
It's no secret that the late 1970s and early 1980s were a magical period for films in the horror genre. With the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th, it was just a matter of time before any and every wanna-be film maker with a super low budget and access to a camera would make copy cat movies to feed on the success of these two classics. Graduation Day is one such film.

The lack of a budget does not necessarily mean a film will be bad, and I will go so far as to say that Graduation Day is not bad at all. In fact, most fans of this period of horror films will probably enjoy the amount of cheese this movie has to offer. Actor Christopher George, who you may remember from such classics as Enter the Ninja and City of the Living Dead (god rest his soul), practically bled cheese with his "subtle" acting style. And, from the inclusion of the entire 7 minute (hit) single "Gangsters of Rock" by Felony, to the hypnotic disco music in the opening sequence, we know that we're in for a rockin' good time that many films of today cannot provide.
Patch Mckenzie as Anne
I admit that the killer in Graduation Day isn't nearly as imposing as champions of the genre such as Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees, but his creativity is enough to keep the movie entertaining. He clearly enjoys coming up with interesting, and highly implausible, ways of taking out his victims. The amount of prep time that it would take to rig a pole vaulters landing mat with spikes had to have been a lot, and that shows just how committed our killer is. That's what I look for in a homicidal maniac!

The overall story is probably fairly cliche for most of today's audience, but honestly, it's a slasher film, and really shouldn't be subjected to in depth scrutiny. The real reason to watch Graduation Day is for the kill scenes, and the few breasts shots that we get. Realistically, isn't that what we watch any slasher movie for?

All of the actors seem to enjoying their time, and they all seem to ham it up in their own little ways. Linnea Quigley doesn't disappoint with her "assets." Hey, she needs to pass in order to graduate, and she'll do anything to make sure she does. Vanna White also has a part, and I can honestly see why she chose Wheel of Fortune over acting. 

Graduation Day is a fun horror flick, especially for those who are fans of the classic slashers from the early 80s. Casual fans of horror may find the pacing somewhat slow when compared to many of the popular horror movies that came out in the later part of the decade. If you like the feel of the first Friday the 13th, then you would probably like this movie.

The old blade in the football trick.
If you're a hardcore fan, then this movie is a great way to spend any evening with some friends and some beer. There are plenty of good kills, and also plenty of laughs to keep you interested throughout the duration of the movie. Rent it to see if you like it.


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