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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, Peter Litten
Cast:
Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone
Writing Credits:
George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, Peter Litten

Synopsis:
A disfigured man seeks revenge on the former high school peers who harmed him.

MPAA:
Rated NR.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $39.97
Release Date: 10/31/2017

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Co-Writers/Co-Directors George Dugdale and Peter Litten
• Isolated Music/SFX Selections Featuring Audio Interview with Composer Harry Manfredini
• “Going to Pieces” Featurette
• “My Days at Doddsville” Featurette
• Alternate Title Sequence
• Still Gallery
• Trailers/Radio Spots


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RELATED REVIEWS


Slaughter High [Blu-Ray] (1986)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 26, 2017)

As a teen in the 1980s, I saw plenty of that era’s cheap slasher flicks. Even so, many of these releases escaped my attention, and 1986’s Slaughter High falls into that category, as I never heard of it until the Blu-ray landed on my door.

Back in high school, the other kids picked on nerdy Marty (Simon Scuddamore). Eventually their pranks went too far and left Marty horribly disfigured.

Five years later, the mean kids get invited to a special reunion at their now-defunct school. Unbeknownst to them, Marty organized this bash, and he uses the opportunity to get his violent revenge.

I support I could come up with a less original plot for a horror film than that, but it’d be tough. To say the least, High embraces a slew of horror tropes – these notions were already clichés 31 years ago, so the movie doesn’t attempt much I could call new.

That said, High doesn’t need to be fresh and creative to entertain – as long as it explored its themes and threw out some fun action, that’d be enough for me. Give us a lively presentation and I’ll be happy.

Unfortunately, High never threatens to turn into a vivid horror tale. Instead, it just sputters from one cheesy scene of violence to another, without anything compelling to connect these dots.

Actually, it takes a while to see Marty in action, as the film’s first act stretches out to infinity. High wastes its running time with long, pointless scenes that add nothing – they simply delay the inevitable and lack any tension or character exposition to make them work.

Even once the movie leaps ahead to the reunion, High continues to plod. We spend dull moments with the gang as they come back together and find nothing of interest to fill these sequences.

Once Marty’s vengeful plan finally kicks in, High has already neared its halfway point. Even for a short film, that seems like a ridiculously slow pace.

Should horror fans hope for excitement from the kills when they eventually emerge? Nope - High opts for cheap scares that emphasize gore but not creativity.

Genre veteran Harry Manfredini’s score creates an odd disconnect. It melds traditional “scary movie” music – mostly self-plagiarized from his Friday the 13rh work - with bad stabs at 80s rock.

The actors fail to deliver performances that seem even remotely interesting, and too many of them were clearly far too old for their parts. The sight of 30-something Caroline Munro as a teenager seems laughable at best, and she’s not the only weak link, as almost all the others fail to pass for their characters’ ages.

Or maybe I’m just mad because we get full-frontal nude shots of Scuddamore but nothing more than teases of Munro in the raw. No amount of naked females could redeem High, though, as it provides a muddled, meandering mess.


The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Slaughter High appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasn’t a bad image given its age, but it came with more problems than I’d like.

Print flaws became the dominant issue. From start to finish, I saw a mix of specks and marks. These didn’t overwhelm, but they showed up on a frequent basis and created distractions.

Sharpness remained decent. Most of the movie showed acceptable delineation, so while matters never became particularly precise, they seemed reasonably well-defined. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes.

Colors were adequate. Though the hues lacked great vivacity, they showed passable clarity.

Blacks were reasonably dark, and shadows presented acceptable smoothness. The print flaws were the biggest concern, but even without them, this would’ve remained a bland image.

When we moved to the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it showed its age but usually sounded decent. Dialogue was acceptable, as only occasional edginess affected the lines. Speech could’ve been more natural, but the lines seemed okay.

Music wasn’t particularly bold, but the score and songs showed reasonable clarity and vivacity. Effects seemed clean and without substantial distortion; though they didn’t have much kick, they reproduced the material well. While nothing here dazzled, the mix held up fine for a 31-year-old mono track.

The disc comes with a good selection of extras, and these launch with an audio commentary from co-writers/co-directors George Dugdale and Peter Litten. Along with disc producer Michael Felsher, both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, effects, and the impact of the low budget.

That last topic gets a lot of exploration in this rollicking track, as the co-directors love to laugh about the ultra-cheap ways of producer Dick Randall. They delve into many other subjects as well and even touch on potential controversy related to the 1984 suicide of actor Simon Scuddamore. The co-directors poke fun at their own movie while they throw out a lot of good observations in this lively chat.

On another audio track, we find Isolated Music/SFX Selections Featuring Audio Interview with Composer Harry Manfredini. The first 23 minutes or so consists of Felsher’s conversation with Manfredini, as they discuss the composer’s career and his work on High. While we get some decent insights, the interview seems a little too brief and rushed.

After that, we hear the isolated music and effects track. Felsher tells us that they could not locate the original music cues on their own, so that’s why we get the effects as well.

I’m not a fan of this kind of presentation, but I know others enjoy it, so hopefully they’ll find merit in the isolated track. Note that this portion of the audio wraps up around the 108-minute mark – at that point, the mix reverts to the original movie sound.

Two interview featurettes follow, and the 18-minute, 29-second Going to Pieces provides notes from co-writer/co-direcyor Mark Ezra. He discusses how he got into films as well as the development of Slaughter, working with Dugdale and Litten, and other aspects of the production. Inevitably, Ezra repeats some info from the commentary, but he still offers a good overview of his perspective.

My Days at Doddsville goes for 14 minutes, 35 seconds and features actors Caroline Munro. She chats about how she came onto the film and aspects of her experiences. Munro provides a likable and engaging view of her time on the flick.

With an Alternate Title Sequence, we see a 41-second reel. This simply substitutes April Fool’s Day - the movie’s original title – for Slaughter High. It’s not especially interesting.

A Still Gallery runs six minutes, 55 seconds. The montage displays 76 elements that mix shots from the movie, promotional bits and behind the scenes photos. It becomes a mostly positive collection.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get two Radio Spots.

When I watch long-forgotten 1980s horror flicks, I do so with low expectations. Even so, Slaughter High failed to turn into anything watchable, as it became a slow, silly attempt at terror. The Blu-ray offers mediocre picture and audio along with a nice set of supplements. Leave Slaughter High on the shelf.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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