Graduation Day (1981) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Herb Freed
Starring: Christopher George, Michael Pataki, Carmen Argenziano, Linnea Quigley
Rated: R/Region A,B/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Vinegar Syndrome
After a high school track runner, named Laura, suddenly dies from a heart attack after finishing a 30-second 200-meter race, a killer wearing a sweat suit and a fencing mask begins killing off her friends on the school track team one by one. The suspects include the track coach Michaels, Laura’s sister Anne who arrives in town for the funeral, the creepy school principal Mr. Guglione, and Laura’s strange boyfriend Kevin.
In case you didn’t know it, if you were in the business of making horror films in the 80’s it was a must to name a film after every holiday and major event . Holidays were a must but this film that is now hitting Blu-ray by way of Vinegar Syndrome took the sentimental day of Graduation and turned it into a slasher (a very odd one) that packs some cool kills and some of the worst music you will ever here. There is nothing fancy about this one. It is a “who done it” slasher movie that makes it look like more than a few people could be the killer based off the fact that they each own a grey hoodie and black gloves. Things here move slow, things here get so bad they are comedic, but we do get Vanna White and Linnea Quigley in the mix. Now, can you name me a stranger combo in a horror movie? Vanna is actually here because her uncle made the film for the record. The movie is probably hit and miss overall, it isn’t Friday the 13th by any means as far as slashers go, but it isn’t something as dull as Drive-In Massacre either. Some seem to love this, others not so much. You may recall it was released by Troma on DVD originally and there is a good reason why it seemed to fit in with their usual mix as well as it does.
But if we look at the positives we get some creative violence. We get a sword in a football to someone’s gut, which I’d rank up there in some of the wildest and wackiest kills we’ve ever seen in a slasher movie. We have a great decapitation as well. So, if you can just make it through the nerve wrecking editing effects and very slow plot movement you do have some stuff to look forward to. If only this movie would have ended about fifteen minutes before it actually did we might have been able to go a little higher on the score. Nostalgic slasher fans will have some use for this one. I’m afraid more traditional horror fans might find it lacking, but it does come with one of the most off the wall craziest ending you’ll ever see this side of Pieces. I think as far as the transfer goes, this one looks better than it has or ever will look, so if you are nostalgic for this one and are looking for a good version to watch, this one fits the bill none the less. Nothing about this release is perfect, but this is the type of release that you normally don’t see movies like this get and I’d give all the credit in the world to Vinegar Syndrome for that.
– Audio Commentary with Producer David Baughn
– Audio Commentary with The Hysteria Continues
– Interview with actress Patch Mackenzie
– Interview with director Herb Freed
– Interview with producer Dave Baughn
– Interview with editor Martin Jay Sadoff
Quality of Transfer: 87%