April Fool’s Day

Produced by the guy who brought you many a FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel (FRANK MANCUSO JR. also brought you I KNOW WHO KILLED ME, but nobody’s perfect) APRIL FOOL’S DAY does it’s best to swim against the slasher tide and deliver an original offering. Most slashers begin with a false kill or two, or perhaps even feature a character whose morbid sense of humor is questionable, but the clean cut preppies that inhabit this AGATHA CHRISTIE on Crystal Lake suspenser are ALL guilty of favoring the monkeyshines. None more so than Muffy (chipmunk VALLEY GIRL DEBORAH FOREMAN), the center of the pack, who has invited her buddies to her impressive island homestead for a birthday celebration. Since her birthday falls on April first, it’s also a great excuse to pull out the whoopee cushions, hand buzzers and retractable knives. Her friends have no issue with following suite and a battle of pranks ensues. Before you can say, “It’s all fun until someone loses an eye” some folks start showing up dead (and one guy actually does lose an eye in a boating accident) and it seems something far more sinister is afoot. Director FRED WALTON (WHEN A STRANGER CALLS) goes against the grain by filming the shenanigans in crisp bright colors and it all looks just a bit classier than the standard earthy slasher. Not everyone will be on board when the film’s biggest prank is played and it certainly pushes the plausibility factor to it’s limit (in other words, don’t try this at home!), but most will be having too much fun to care. With its spoiled rich kids, birthday setting, evil twins and elaborate shell game script A.F.D. resembles a light-hearted HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME more than anything in the Vorhees saga. FOREMAN (who even begins to resemble MELISSA SUE ANDERSON the crazier she gets) showcases her talents like never before playing, in effect, duo roles and horror icon AMY STEEL (FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2) is present, as well, to provide a virtuoso final girl performance. Ultimately it’s more of a slasher spritzer than a hard shot of gore, but if you can’t get behind this tongue-in-cheek, pre-SCREAM convention crusher, the joke is really on you.

  • Here’s a good joke: Play a tape of a baby crying in the room of your friend who just had an abortion
  • Uninvited snake joins in on the festivities
  • Thirst-quenching well full of fresh decapitations
  • The doll display in the attic
  • Muffy and Buffy’s basement height chart
  • The last final wink

Note: The movie APRIL FOOL’S DAY at one point had an entirely different ending. To find out more about this alternate version you must check out the always valuable RETRO SLASHERS. Webmaster John Klyza not only lists the LOST SCENES but is also kind enough to include an excerpt of the film’s NOVELIZATION for your reading pleasure.

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Pax Romano
15 years ago

Wonderful and under appreciated film. I posted a little something about on my blog today.