I have an admitted weakness for 80’s slasher movies that take place on a holiday. While Graduation Day isn’t a holiday per se, it sure seems like a good enough day to hack up some teenagers to me. In addition, it’s got a truly GREAT cast: Christopher George from Pieces is the track coach, Michael Pataki from Rocky IV is the principal, and Return of the Living Dead’s Linnea Quigley and Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White are the screamers.
Graduation Day is all about a killer (who wears a fencing mask) bumping off the members of a high school track team. The psycho holds the team responsible for the death of a loved one who died of exhaustion during a track meet. The killer murders people by slashing throats, putting a sword through someone’s neck, decapitation, and tricking a guy into pole vaulting onto a bed of spikes. We also get an ingenious scene where the killer puts a blade on the end of a football and throws it right into the abdomen of a jock. There’s also a cool gimmick in which the killer uses a stopwatch to time his murders.
Nudity wise, there is one undressing scene that takes place in the girls’ locker room and a great scene where Linnea takes off her top while seducing her music teacher into giving her a passing grade. There’s also a hilarious performance by a wonderfully cheesy 80’s band called Felony who sing a great song called “Gangster Rock”. The ending, while a bit protracted features multiple returns from the dead by the killer, a Psycho-esque stuffed corpse, kung fu, AND a nightmare sequence.
If this feels less like a review and more of a laundry list of stuff that happened during the movie, I’m sorry. Graduation Day exists solely to show off naked females and then have them murdered. In this respect Graduation Day succeeds.
If I really wanted to critique the movie, I’d tell you that the pacing is painfully slow, the red herrings are woefully obvious and some scenes are so dark that it’s hard to tell what’s going on. I’d comment on the uneven performances and director Herb (Tomboy) Freed’s lack of style. But what’s the point? If you want to see teens being murdered on one of the happiest days of their lives while occasionally showing off their boobs, then Graduation Day will fit the bill for a night of harmless, brain dead entertainment.
Best line: “The world is my toilet!”