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For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, March 27 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since April Fool’s Day is just a few days away, it seems only fitting that we take a look back at the 34-year-old movie that uses that day as an excuse for yet another holiday-centric slasher flick. (There was also a 2008 remake but it’s no better than this one.) So why has it been chosen for a Blu-ray upgrade by the Shout! Factory (under its 'Scream Factory' imprint)? That's apparently above my paygrade. My review was published in the Deseret News on March 28, 1986.

“April Fool’s Day” had to come along, I suppose. After all, all the other holidays have already been turned into slasher films, such as “My Bloody Valentine,” “Happy Birthday to Me,” “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” etc.

It seems the only ones left are possibly the “Arbor Day Massacre” or maybe “George Washington’s Birthday Killer.”

As you might guess, “April Fool’s Day” has a group of teenagers stranded in a mansion on a remote island where someone begins killing them one by one.

The kids have gathered there at the invitation of their college buddy Muffy, played by Deborah Foreman, who has managed to shine in comic roles in “Valley Girl” and the otherwise horrid “My Chauffeur.”


       Deborah Foreman, 'April Fool's Day' (1986)

It is April Fool’s Day, of course, and everyone is playing pranks on each other, of course, and when the killings begin, they too look like they might be pranks … of course.

“April Fool’s Day” is, I think supposed to be a black comedy spoofing other slasher films, like “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween.” But it’s not funny and it’s not scary, failing as both comedy and horror.

The R rating is deserved, for graphic gore, sex and considerable profanity, and absolutely no acting whatsoever.

The only other recognizable name in the cast is Griffin O’Neal, son of Ryan and brother of Tatum, without as much talent as his father and sister have … which wasn’t all that much to begin with.


Everyone runs around screaming and there are deadpan lines of dialogue like, “This is just like Agatha Christie.” If Agatha Christie were alive, she could sue.

Frank Mancuso Jr., who produced the “Friday the 13th” series, also produced this film, allowing Danilo Bach to write the script and Fred Walton to direct. In the press kit Bach is credited with co-writing “Beverly Hills Cop” and Walton last gave us “When a Stranger Calls,” the latter being a less-than-successful variation on the same theme.

The press kit also describes “April Fool’s Day” as a movie in the tradition of Hitchcock and De Palma. Hitchcock, of course, has passed on, but maybe De Palma can sue.

If you go to “April Fool’s Day” the joke is on you. You’ll be paying $5 to be fooled.