February 3, 2014

DVD Review- Graduation Day (1981)

Between 1980 and 1989, the Horror Genre gave us more than 250 Slasher Flicks; most of them were cheap, a lot of them mostly sucked, and very few of them had much of a lasting impact on audiences (aside from rabid Horror fans like us, that is.)

Flaws and all though, we loved most of these flicks.

1981 is widely considered the pinnacle of the Golden Age of the Slasher Flick, with such quality efforts as F13th Part 2, My Bloody Valentine, The Burning, The Prowler, Happy Birthday to Me, The Funhouse, Bloody Moon, and a slew of others seeing release.

Then there's this masterpiece.

Graduation Day is a Troma film, so to say that it's bad is pretty unfair, and totally misses the point of what constitutes a Troma film. Conversely, calling it good isn't exactly fair either, because it's not.

Graduation Day (and most Troma Films) is cheap, cheesy, and exploitative; you know, the kind of movies where you crack a beer (or twelve of them), sit back, and just enjoy the schlock.

A demanding Track Coach pushes one of his hot little runners (Laura) so hard that she has a heart attack and dies as she crosses the finish line. At least they won though, right? Well, they may have won the big Track Meet, but they're all about to lose... their lives!

Someone is out for revenge you see, killing off everyone on the Track Team, because they're obviously to blame for Laura's heart defect. One by one they are dispatched by an unknown killer, who at times shows up in full fencing garb... because running shorts, a mesh shirt, and a head band aren't really all that terrifying?

You know, you're a Track star... you could have run!
More Track Team members (as well as a few random whores) keep getting offed, and their parents freak out because, where are their kids? The inept Principal of the School concludes that the missing kids are just out raising hell. None of it really makes much logical sense.

Typical 80's Horror tropes and cliches ensue, followed by an ending that will leave you saying "Oh, I guess that's over, huh?"

Nothing is over until Christopher George says it is!
Graduation Day is basically nothing more than a fun, harmless little Slasher Flick. Aside from the technical flaws on display here, and the obvious lack of visceral gore, the movie manages to be entertaining enough.

Christopher George was one hell of a B-movie actor, wasn't he? A heart attack sadly took him from us at the far-too-early age of 54, but in the last years of his career he gave us some great Genre flicks to remember him by; Mortuary, Pieces, Graduation Day, City of the Living Dead, amongst them. He had charisma to spare, and never took his Horror roles too seriously, which for us, always made for a good time.

Did you know that Vanna White (who is in this movie) was his niece? Or that he posed in Playgirl? He didn't give a shit, he did what he wanted! The scene in this movie where he's watching a chick do her routine on the uneven bars, while licking his lips and appearing to be getting off, was a creepy/funny thing of beauty.

We miss the guy, and we'll gladly watch flicks like Graduation Day (be they good or bad) to get the chance to see him do his thing.

An all-time classic.
Nothing is more frustrating that a decent Slasher Flick that doesn't show the kills on screen, and in their full glory. I get that back in the early 80's, violence was scrutinized much harsher by the MPAA than it is now, and there wasn't a big Home Video market in which directors could release an Unrated Version of their films, but come on. It's a Horror flick, it's supposed to be nasty and terrifying!

The MPAA can truly suck it.

Why has this movie never been cleaned up and released with a proper transfer? We're not asking for the world here, and this movie definitely doesn't deserve the world, but a decent looking transfer would be nice, you know? This movie is so dark in places, that you can barely make out what's going on at times.

Most of the kills in this one either happen off screen, or are too dark too properly see. We do get to see the after-effects of a throat slashing, some deadly fencing hi-jinks, a death by football, and pole-vaulter meeting a spiky end.

For the most part, the gore in this one is rather disappointing.

You could actually see the dead guy breathing in this scene.
Linnea Quigley shows her boobies twice, and dies painfully because of it! Well, maybe not "because of," but it certainly didn't help things.

Not all Slasher Flicks are created equal. Also, Linnea Quigley gets naked in everything.

You shouldn't have bought that vowel!
Graduation Day is a serviceable Slasher Flick, which is definitely worth a look, especially for fans of retro Slasher Flicks. It's not the greatest example of a good Slasher, but hell, it's fun enough to give it a go, especially since Christopher George and Linnea Quigley are a part of the cast.

You can get this one on DVD via Amazon, but beware; the print is old and isn't the best looking.


Graduation Day boasts some 80's-hot chicks, including a young Linnea Quigley, and a pre-Wheel of Fortune Vanna White. Not easy finding good, hot pics of either of those girls, I tell ya.

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