Saturday, October 4, 2008

October 4 - Graduation Day [1981]

Graduation Day (1981)
Director: Herb Freed
Starring: Christopher George, Patch Mackenzie, Michael Pataki

After yesterday's crapfest, you can imagine how I felt when I started watching Graduation Day and saw Christopher George's name flash up in the opening credits. But luckily, unlike his lead role in Grizzly, George doesn't spend a lot of time onscreen in this early 80s slasher.

Wait, is this a slasher? Does it meet the criteria of the genre?
Teens having sex in the bushes? Check.
Mysterious killer knocking off said teens? Check.
Nubile young ladies getting their tops off? Check.
Terrible acting? Check.

Hmmm, I guess it is a slasher. But not a good one. I'm a fan of good slashers, and it's an undemanding niche, but this one's just too plodding, the acting's just too amateur and the kills (the highpoint of any slasher) are largely bloodless and unimaginative (bar two, which are quite innovative, involving a football and a pole vault). Oh, and try not to laugh as the damsel in distress "fights" off the bad guy in the big climax. 

Graduation Day doesn't look dated at all. Well, except for all of the fashion (especially the truck driver's sexy silk scarf early on)... and the tragic disco music playing over the opening credits... and the roller disco... Okay, so maybe it is obvious that this movie is from sometime around the late 70s or early 80s.

In the world of slasher flicks, Graduation Day is well down the list. It doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as slashers like Friday the 13th, Black Christmas or Happy Birthday to Me... but then again I've seen a lot worse. Graduation Day is watchable, barely. 

Horror geeks will enjoy seeing Scream Queen Linnea Quigley in an early role, but there's nothing here to push this movie above the dozens of cheap slashers churned out in the 80s, riding on the coattails of Friday the 13th's success.

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