April Fool's Day (1986)

FEBRUARY 26, 2007


April Fool’s Day was the first movie I didn’t like. When you’re a kid, or an idiot, you tend to like just about any R rated movie. But I can recall being 7 or 8 and watching it for the first (and until today, last) time and disliking it, due to the ending (which will be spoiled, duh).

But that was then, this is later on, and since the ending was the only thing I remembered, I figured I’d give it another shot. And I was surprised to find I actually enjoy the film quite a bit. The ending is still a bit of a letdown, but in retrospect, it goes along with the goofy charm the rest of the film has.

Unusual for a slasher film, all of the characters are not only rich kids, but they’re also all likable. And well played by the mostly (then and still) unknowns, along with F13 Part 2 heroine Amy Steel (who I usually refer to as “Walk Like A Man’s Amy Steel”, but since this is a horror site I’ll be more relevant) and Biff himself, Thomas F. Wilson. Also along for the ride is Griffin O’Neal, who is more famous for being punched or shot at by his dad than he is for his acting, which is too bad, because he’s pretty entertaining. In fact, there’s a bit of unintentional metahumor early on in the film, when his character relates to another that his father doesn’t love him. Zong! He also has what may be the funniest line in the film: When the ferry arrives on the mainland to bring them to the island, he mutters “I call shotgun.” Jokes are always better in a film when they sound like something a human being would actually say. Also, calling “shotgun” when it doesn’t really make any sense is always hilarious. Try it!

I love how the ‘survivors’ don’t seem to mind being psychologically tortured into thinking their best friends were dead, as their reaction is basically “Oh, HAHA. Real funny, jerk!”, much like you would react to a friend who puts on a mask and jumps out at you. Assuming you are a character in a slasher movie, like I am.

As a result, the movie isn’t very scary, since no one ‘dies’ onscreen, and there’s no gore either, except on the mannequin heads or whatever (the first victim is revealed to be a special effects artist who has helped her. He’s pretty damn good too! Fooled me for 80 minutes!). But the movie’s just so goofy and charming I can’t help but like it. And, unlike Return to Horror High or Cry_Wolf, the “cheat” ending actually holds up to scrutiny, more or less. So that’s cool.

I must point out that Wilson’s character is the most delightfully homoerotic dude in cinematic history. He rolls around with his male friend on a bed, talks about nailing another male friend, all in good fun. Again, he (and the other characters) act more like actual human beings (except for the ending) than 99% of any other slasher characters of the 80s. They make fun of each other, say things under their breath, etc. So that way, when the ending comes along, they should have earned enough goodwill to keep you from getting mad. Unless you’re 8 years old.

Also, April Fool’s Day shares something with another holiday slasher, My Bloody Valentine, and that is an AMAZING end credits song. MBVs was a wonderful little ballad about the murders/curse in the town. AFD’s is a 50s style pop song about being crazy. Someone should compile all these songs onto a CD. Not me though. I have to watch (or rewatch) a horror movie every day of my life.

What say you?


  1. If memory serves me, the ending song is Three Dog Night's "Mama told me not to come" -- an excellent choice.

  2. No, you're wrong.

  3. "Also, April Fool’s Day shares something with another holiday slasher, My Bloody Valentine..."
    I own both on a dual sided DVD. Weird.

  4. Vader, I own the same disc. Like MBV, I like it a lot. The shock ending honestly blew my mind a little...


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