“A caretaker takes care of places, a janitor, he janits.”
Opening Scene, Doddsville County High School: A popular girl, Carol, lures the school nerd, Marty, up to the girl’s locker room for some sex. Little does he realize it’s April 1st, but then again he has to know cuz it’s also his birthday.
A group of her friends, looking like a film crew, are in pursuit of the ultimate April Fool’s Day prank. They sneak in while Marty is undressing behind a shower curtain and get situated. When he comes out they all yell “April Fool’s!” and oh Geezus, within the first six minutes we get some dick-age.
I don’t know if the janitor is a pervert or just spotted something suspicious as he passed the girl’s locker room (or why the girl’s locker room door has windows to begin with), but he promptly goes down and tells Coach what’s up. Coach goes up to the locker room in time to catch them flushing Marty’s head in the toilet. Props to Coach for actually taking Marty’s side instead of just siding with his own, as most of the pranksters were jocks. He puts them on 3:45 gym punishment.
On the way to the gym, Carl and Ted pay Marty a visit and give him a joint as a peace offering. Marty lights up the joint in the Chemistry lab and suddenly his stomach starts bubblin’ so he goes to the bathroom. Why would a nerd spark up his first joint in a Chemistry lab, or at all? While in the shitter, Skip goes in and mixes some kinda white powder into one of Marty’s beakers. When Marty returns, a fire ignites and a large jug of nitric acid falls down from a tall, unusually shaky shelf. It breaks open and splashes him in the face.
The kids in the gym hear the noise and smell the smoke from the lab. They all run up and arrive in time to watch him die, did he die? The point is, they were too late.
Ten years later: Carol is now a B-movie actress and her high school reunion is tonight. She takes a shower and someone comes into her house. It’s just her friend setting up a weak jump-scare. Who sneaks in while you’re showering and yanks the shower curtain open?
The only people who arrive at the reunion are the original gang that terrorized Marty. They can’t get into the school so they get some beers and hangout anyway. At nightfall they decide to break into the school just in time to beat the thunderstorm.
They enter the gym and turn on the light. There’s a big “Welcome Back” sign, decorations, and plenty to drink. Also, their old lockers, even Marty’s, are there and each contains something they lost that year. Inside Marty’s is the high school yearbook he never got. It was funny cuz earlier I noticed that when Carl and Ted gave Marty the joint they were standing in front of lockers that were all slightly different heights. It looked like when you stand up all your books on a shelf.
Skip explains that Marty survived, but most of the skin grafts didn’t take, leaving him a mutilated monster. All these years later he can finally admit that they took a normal boy and turned him into a lunatic, but none of them seem to feel too bad about it. He goes onto explain that Marty continually tries to escape the nuthouse and haunts the halls. Little does he know that he is foreshadowing what’s about to happen right now.
11:30: Smoking weed and doin’ blow. Carol walks Nancy to the bathroom. Skip and Frank beat them there for a little jump-scare, but upon leaving get a little jump-scare of their own. The janitor still works there, only now he is the caretaker and the school has been shutdown for the past five years. The school is getting knocked down in a month so he doesn’t care. Why is he even there? What is he caretaking and why? Red herring? They give him a beer and separate. Then he gets killed.
Back in the party room: It’s after midnight and once again April Fool’s Day, which is a great excuse for a horror flick to say that all bets are off, anything goes, and nothing has to make sense, the goal is usually to trick the audience. That’s what all 80’s slasher films did when it wasn’t known who the killer was: Trick the audience, which they got away with until the sequel came out.
Ted shotguns a beer then his stomach explodes so the others quickly leave the room. They try to escape through the main door, but they’re locked in.
They find a window so Carl climbs out and runs to Carol’s car cuz it’s the fastest. He gets in, but it won’t start, something long and sharp goes through his back and out his chest. I couldn’t tell what it was, all I know is that Carl is dead and the killer is the backseat. The car magically starts up and drives back to the school. The others are watching and somehow Carl’s body is now propped up against the gate, like he’s just chillin.
Shirley is alone taking a bath to get Ted’s blood off of her, the only boob-age we’ve seen thus far. Why does the high school have a bathtub? She turns the water on and it turns brown, either she’s in Flint, Michigan or it’s nitric acid! Who would know how to do something like that? Marty the chemist! Who apparently also dabbles in plumbing. The others come up and immediately figure out that Marty has come for revenge, even though it was an accident. They take no responsibility, ‘cept Carol, but Carol is the most guilty of them all cuz without her there’d have been no joke.
Susan shows up, which is weird cuz it’s after midnight and she just walks right on into the building that the others are trapped in. She wanders down a hall and comes to a door with a mural of Marty on it. Hands break out....
Skip and Joey devise a plan to break out on a tractor. It’s a little rusty, but Joey’ll fix it.
Elsewhere, Stella comes onto Frank. She’s Joey’s wife, but informs Frank that he’s the father of her baby from when they had sex back in the day. Joey thinks it’s his. He talks her down, Joey is the better catch, but she ain’t having it.
Back at the the tractor, a figure walks in. Joey assumes it’s Frank and asks for a wrench. Joey is under a tractor held up by a jack while a murderer is on the loose and doesn’t even think twice when he hears footsteps. He dies a horrific death while his wife is trying to fuck her true love.
Meanwhile, Frank can’t get it up until she challenges his libido.* The bed frame is attached to a generator and upon climax, they both get electrocuted, which is why you don’t fuck with nerds. Why did the school have a bed?
And then there were three? Skip, Carol, and Nancy. Nancy turns on them. It’s their fault. None of this woulda happened if it wasn’t for Skip and Carol. And she’s probably right.
Skip disappears, but it’s 11am, somehow April Fool’s ends at noon. Skip gets hanged but manages to escape.
Carol and Nancy walk around to the previous murder scenes, but there’s nothing there. They continue to walk and find a room playing the video of Marty getting his head flushed and a yearbook opened up. Nancy is next! Nancy runs off. Outside, she sees a guy in a joker mask and falls into a well? I’m not sure what the fuck, but she climbs up in time to have Joker put his foot on her head and push her back down.
Back to Carol, on the run. She is the last girl, but I wouldn’t call her the Final Girl. She begins to discover bodies, then the Marty door as Joker breaks through. She hits him a couple times with her bat then runs away.
At this point, I’m expecting the plot-twist: Skip is the killer! The killer is wearing the same joker mask Skip wore the day it all happened. Also, he explained what happened to Marty, then even though hanged, managed to break free and we haven’t seen him since? Plus, he’s a main character who hasn’t really done shit else, yet they also haven’t made him an obvious red herring. Marty is the scapegoat (I think that was the plot of Most Likely to Die).
Now, Joker is back and trades his bat for a javelin. Carol finds a hatchet and plants it into who she thinks is Joker, but it’s Skip. So much for my theory. Before she even gets a chance to mourn Skip she Ronda Rousey’s Joker out a window from the second floor. He lands and she tosses the javelin down after him as the clock strikes noon. She walks away, but he gets up, and once again has a weapon.
He chases her into the girl’s locker room where it all started. He takes off the mask, it’s Marty revealing his half melted face. He looks exactly the way he looked the day it happened. He impales her with the javelin. He won! Until he goes into the hallway and gets haunted by the voices and ghosts. Suddenly, Marty is the one trying to escape, but he can’t!
He wakes up, head bandaged and he’s in the hospital. It’s the day of the incident. It was all a dream? An alarm goes off. There’s screaming in his room. A doctor comes in to see what’s going on. Disguised as the nurse, who is now dead, Marty stabs the doctor in the eyeball with a syringe. WTH? The End. I liked my ending better.
Afterthought: In reviewing this film, I read that there is a sequel that takes place right after this film, like it begins with him escaping the hospital, but it’s not on IMDb So I’m not sure if that’s true. It actually helped that all the headshots of the cast on IMDb are from this film cuz there were a lot of characters.
Although this film had one of the most eye catching covers of all 80’s horror, the cover in no way represents the movie at all.
I liked the score, most of it sounds very 50’s Horror.
The Gilligan Award goes to Carol. Even though all of the characters were in on it, they probably couldn’t have pulled it off without her.
Not So Fun Fact: Simon Scuddamore, the actor who played Marty the nerd, committed suicide shortly after this film was released.
What did we learn? Survival Tips:
1) Don’t pick on nerds!
2) Don’t smoke joints around volatile chemicals!
3) Don’t keep a large jug of nitric acid on top of a shaky shelf!
4) Lock your doors when you take a shower!
5) Make sure to finish the killer!