April Fool’s Day (1986)
What’s It About: April Fool’s Day?? This is Halloween time! Are you drunk? Yes.
There’s a spring break party at Muffy St. John’s house, and you’re invited… to die!
A bunch of college douches take a ferry to Muffy’s (from Waxwork) island house. They talk about sex and boners, and Biff from Back to the Future plays a game called “Stretch” where you like throw a knife then bend over to get it without falling over. I’ll never really understand it. But Biff and his friend Skip pull off an incredibly elaborate prank where Biff gets pissed at the game for some reason and throws the knife in Skip’s stomach. He falls in the water and the stripper guy from Summer School (Rob, who has a muscle man’s mullet) and the ferry assistant dive in to save him but it turns out it was a very complicated fake knife harness set up. The assistant stays in the water to tie up the ferry but it slams into his head, taking out one eye and half his face. It sort of brings the good vibe down, but only for a little while.
The gang arrives at the house and in between talking about boners, they’re all pulling April Fools pranks on each other like dribble glasses, break-away chair legs, cigar loads, and crying baby tapes.
Soon we have our first deadly wrongdoing as Skip is grabbed in the boathouse.
Tangent: Before Skip is grabbed, a cat jumps out at his face. You see this happen a lot in horror movies. Has this EVER really happened in real life? I refuse to believe that a cat has ever jumped off a shelf straight into someone’s face while making an ungodly cat sound. They usually just stare at you and keep licking their nuts.
Anyway, the next morning, Muffy’s acting pretty suspicious, totally out of the blue, so something is UP.
Meanwhile, Rob and Kit (from Friday the 13th Part 2) are going to make it in the boathouse but Skip c-blocks them when they see his body floating beneath the floorboards. They run back to report this turn to the rest of the gang and they take off to find this “Skip.”
Biff is walking through the woods looking for Skip when he gets trapped by the kind of foot snare that hangs you upside down with a black mamba underneath. And a killer. Biff caused 300 bucks’ damage to his car, and he’s gonna take it out of his ass.
Muffy is acting and looking like a total freak. The water craps out at the house so Nikki (from Just One of the Guys) and Harvey (from nothing) go to the well, but Nikki falls in going after the broken bucket and finds Skip and Biff’s heads floating there, plus Nan’s body. Two heads are better than Nan.
Let’s check my notes: “This isn’t some more evil twin bullshit is it?”
Time to call for help. But Probably Evil Muffy explains to Kit that it could take all night for help to get there because of the “tides” even though the ferry ride was like 15 minutes and I’m pretty sure they’re on a lake.
That goofy dude of the group, Chaz (also from Just One of the Guys) wants Nikki to lighten up a little bit, even though their friends just died in a horrible fashion. Either he’s the killer or the most insensitive prick on the planet. Well 10 seconds later, I guess he’s dead from being stabbed in the dick? Then someone steps out of the closet for Nikki.
Rob and Kit find Barbie dolls representing everyone in the group up in the attic, and some of them are staged in the way the people died, like Nan in a bowl of water with Biff and Skip’s heads and Nikki’s doll smeared with blood. I guess Chaz’s doll has blood on his wiener but it was hard to tell.
Rob and Kit then find Nikki stabbed up and Harvey hung… I mean hanged, so they finally decide to split.
They go to the boat but there’s no keys, only a really convenient letter about a crazy “St. John” girl. They run in the boathouse and find an orgy of evidence that Muffy has a crazy twin named Buffy. Buffy comes after them in the house and while Rob gets locked in the pantry, Kit runs from Buffy into the living room… where everyone’s alive!!! Turns out the entire thing was actually all an elaborate prank by Muffy, who wants to turn the island estate into a murder-mystery resort. Nobody was in on it until after they “died.” You thought all your friends were dead for a while and probably pissed yourselves and will have night terrors the rest of your lives! All in good fun! April Fool’s!
But Nan gets the last laugh when Muffy goes up to her room and she fake cuts Muffy’s throat! Happy New Year!!
Is It Actually Scary: It’s really more of a black comedy than a horror movie. But even so they don’t really even attempt to scare you.
How Much Gore: There’s quite a bit of blood, a pair of severed heads, and the ferry guy’s eye injury is awesome. But since it’s all technically fake, does it count?
Dumbest Moment: Well, if you think about how things work in this movie it really doesn’t add up. Since all the deaths are fake, all of the circumstances of the death have to be set up in a ridiculously short amount of time. Like when the ferry guy’s head is crushed, he literally has about 9 seconds to apply a very detailed and realistic patch of gore on his face… IN the water. And when Chaz is killed there’s about 15 seconds in between when Nikki leaves him and comes back to find blood on his wiener. So in that time someone had to come in, tell Chaz about the prank, have him readily agree to participate, and set up the blood.
Any Nudity: For a movie about horny college kids alone in a big house for a weekend, there’s surprisingly none. There’s a sex scene between Chaz and Nikki but they’re in some really odd pretzel position and you can’t see anything.
Overall: I really enjoyed this picture. The cast is an awesome assembly of B-level ’80s talent. You recognize pretty much everyone from other ’80s movies and they all do a fine job and really make everything in the movie work. If Leah Thomson had played Muffy I may have given it 18 stars. The humor is great, and while the kills aren’t exactly creative I liked the way everything was done offscreen and the survivors just kind of bumped into them. All in all, a fun flick to watch whether it’s April Fool’s Day, Halloween, Flag Day or November 5th, 1955.
Score: 8 Thomas F. Wilsons (out of 10)