April Fool’s Day is a 1986 slasher film directed by Fred Walton (When a Stranger Calls, When a Stranger Calls Back, Dead Air, & The Rosary Murders). It was called “Weekend of Terror” in France & “The Horror Party” in Germany. It was written by Danilo Bach (Beverly Hills Cop, Someone to Watch Over Me, Escape Clause, & April Fool’s Day 2008). It was produced by Frank Mancuso Jr. (Friday the 13th franchise, Species franchise, Body Parts, & Ronin). The original ending was much darker but the studio rejected it after it was pitched. The budget was $5 million & it grossed $13 million at the box office. A direct to video remake was produced in 2008.
On the weekend leading up to April Fools’ Day, a group of college friends consisting of Harvey (played by: Jay Baker from Toy Soldiers, Naked Lies, Sunset Grill, & The Best Times), Nikki (played by: Deborah Goodrich from Just One of the Guys, Out on a Limb, Remote Control, & The Deliberate Stranger), Rob (played by: Ken Olandt from Leprechaun, Summer School, Super Force, & T.N.T.), Skip (played by: Griffin O’Neal from The Wraith, Ghoulies Go to College, Assault of the Killer Bimbos, & Night Children), Nan (played by: Leah Pinsent from The Bay Boy, Brutal Glory, Virus, & The Industry), Chaz (played by: Clayton Rohner from Just One of the Guys, Sometimes They Come Back… for More, The Human Centipede III , & I, Madman), Kit (played by: Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part 2, Walk Like a Man, Play Nice, & What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?) & Arch (played by: Thomas F. Wilson from Back to the Future franchise, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Freaks and Geeks, & Blood In, Blood Out) gather to celebrate spring break by spending the weekend at the island mansion of Skip’s cousin Muffy St. John (played by: Deborah Foreman from Valley Girl, Waxwork, Destroyer, & Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat). As Muffy prepares details around the house, she finds an old jack-in-the-box & recalls receiving the toy at a childhood birthday party. Her friends joke around on the pier while awaiting the ferry. As their antics become more extreme, local deckhand Buck (played by: Mike Nomad from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives & Cocoon 1/2) is seriously injured in a gruesome accident. Once on the island, it turns out that Muffy has set up a variety of pranks throughout the mansion. In spite of this, the group try to relax until Skip goes missing. Others start vanishing one by one on this weekend trip. The remaining group members then discover that the phone lines are dead & there is no way to get off the island until Monday. They do some of their own investigating & find some suspicious clues that make them a little more worried about the surviving guests. As they dig deeper into everything, it gets more dangerous in the mansion with the shady characters involved. No one can trust anyone now. Who will last this gruesome vacation? Or Will they all die lying from these sick pranks????
April Fool’s Day is one of the most unique 80’s slashers ever made. It’s type of film that you are going to instantly either love or hate based on the crazy ending. It’s definitely a feature that you have avoid spoilers for or it will be ruined for you forever. The script is very creative & you honestly never know where it’s going to go until the finale. It’s loaded with twists & turn, the mysterious path it takes is very fun & entertaining. I will warn you since most people expect this from an 80’s slasher production, this doesn’t have all kinds of nudity, it’s not sleazy, & it’s honestly very tame when it comes to the kills in it. It has nice special fx but it’s not full of gore like it’s competition from around then. This horror comedy has some hilarious moments & it does have you second guessing everything once it kicks in. The cast is great for April Fool’s Day & it has all kinds of familiar faces in it from other known projects. That’s one of true highlights about this film. It has a top notch score from composer Charles Bernstein (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cujo, The Entity, & Deadly Friend). It took a minute to warm up to this because I won’t lie when I see it originally, I was very pissed off at the ending. As I got older, I’ve grown to appreciate it for being something totally different in this popular sub-genre. It stands out from all the others & you’ll never forget it after experiencing it, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Scream Factory! This 1080p (2.35:1) transfer is a major upgrade compared to the previous DVD from Paramount. This is the best it’s ever looked on home video & I’ve seen this film in every possible format over the years. It has a few audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 on this collector’s edition release. I prefer the 5.1 when it comes to this new release, it’s definitely better than all the other past home video versions. All the dialogue is crystal clear (not as much on the 2.0 track), all the suspense is elevated, & the music has a killer boost to it. I love the score for this feature & it sounds great here. It also has English SDH subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this collector’s edition blu ray from Scream Factory! All of the interviews on this disc are exclusive & brand new to this release. “Horror with A Twist: Fred Walton on APRIL FOOL’S DAY: Part I” is an almost 24 minute interview with the director. He goes over the films that he grew up watching & what inspired him to make movies. He brings up meeting screenwriter Steve Feke at school. He chats about his first short The Sitter from 1977 & how he ended up turning it into a full length feature in 1979. That film became When a Stranger Calls which is considered a classic in the sub-genre. I actually reviewed it somewhat recently on here, check it out. He talks about his first big Hollywood experience. He talks about doing the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode An Unlocked Window. He says his Hitchcock presents episode got him the April Fool’s Day gig. He said he didn’t love the script or project at first but he needed the money at the time. “Horror with A Twist: Fred Walton on APRIL FOOL’S DAY: Part II” is a 23 minute interview with the director. He goes over some of his earlier work which includes wrestling film Hadley’s Rebellion. He finally gets into his experience with this film April Fool’s Day. He brings up working with producer Frank Mancuso Jr. & various actors from the production. He goes over how he put together the cast for this. He tells a story about the snake from the movie. He explains why he doesn’t consider this a slasher. He talks about this experience is why he moved away from LA. He says he isn’t sure why this film is still praised & it has such a reputation after all these years. “Well of Lies: Deborah Goodrich Royce on APRIL FOOL’S DAY” is a little over 16 minute interview with the actress. She chats about starting out in dancing. She says after years of coming up short, she decided to give acting a shot. She talks about getting a major gig on All my Children. She brings up getting the Just One of the Guys role from accident. She chats about her experience on April Fool’s Day. She talks about a re-shoot & cut scenes. She says she is surprised by it’s popularity after all this time. She brings that a sequel was written for her & Clayton Rohner but nothing never happened from it. “Looking Forward to Dessert: Clayton Rohner on APRIL FOOL’S DAY” is a little over 17 minute interview with the actor. He chats about his father working in the entertainment business but he never had any interest in it. He talks about trying other things but he really got into theater so he decided to risk it all for acting after making a hard decision. He brings up working with director Fred Walton & how he was the nicest guy ever. He goes over his experience & character on April Fool’s Day. He chats about the location & it’s many different endings. He talks about the cast & producer Frank Mancuso Jr. “Bloody Unforgettable: Composer Charles Bernstein on APRIL FOOL’S DAY” is a 26 minute interview with the composer. He chats about his influences. He talks about working on horror with Wes Craven & his process. He goes over his experience working on this film. He says it was a strange horror film & he had to set the right tone with the music for it. He mentions that technology was changing during this. “NEW The Eye of Deception: Charles Minsky on APRIL FOOL’S DAY” is a little over 17 minute interview with the cinematographer. He says he tried other departments but the camera always grabbed his attention over everything else, he says it’s the best spot to have. He mentions he got lots of experience from working on low budget projects. He says he had a hard time getting gigs with the union at first. He says it took awhile but he finally got his chance as a cinematographer. He chats about getting the April Fool’s Day job & working with Fred Walton on it. It has a “Theatrical Trailer” for the film. It has 3 “Original TV Spots” for April Fool’s Day. I love the brand new cover artwork for this, it’s very creative. It has a slipcover & reversible original artwork. Scream Factory once again hits a home run when it comes to home video, April Fool’s Day finally gets the proper treatment it deserves. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!