Slaughter High (Blu-ray) VS. Slaughter High DVD. Which One Gets the Slaughtering?











slaughter high title card


Commentary with co-writers and co-directors George Dugdale and Peter Litten


Audio Interview with composer Harry Manfredini featuring Isolated Music and FX Selections

Michael Felsher, who produced the special features for this blu-ray, starts out the track talking about how the original master tapes for the score cannot be located. He explains that the track is taken from a mono music and effects audio track, one that is used for foreign markets so the distributors don’t have to dub in effects and music. I appreciated the fact that Felsher took the time to explain why this is the more traditional “isolated score” track. Felsher then interviews Manfredini for about 25 minutes and the rest of the track is the score and effects.


Going to Pieces with co-writer/co-director Mark Ezra (18m 29s, HD)

Ezra takes us through the whole story of Slaughter High, from its beginnings as April Fools Day (changed to not confuse the audience with two films called the same thing. This is also why April Fools Day plays heavily into the film.), all the way to the release of the film. Ezra is easy going and has a great memory about all of this. He even talks about how the dynamic worked with three directors on set (on work on the effects, one worked with the actors, and Ezra did the writing.)


My Days at Doddsville with actress Caroline Munro (14m 35s, HD)

If you are a fan of sci-fi films then you will know Munro from her role in Star Crash, the Italian Star Wars rip off. Munro loves working on horror films because they have things in them that she would never do in real life. She talks about shooting in the school and working with the three directors. Munro seems to love the film even though she knows that she doesn’t look like a high school student in the film.


Alternate Title Sequence (41s, HD)

This is the just the film’s actual title sequence just with the April Fools Day title card.


Still Gallery (6m 55s, HD)

The score and effects track plays while the images are cycled through.


Theatrical Trailer (1m 43s, HD)


Radio Spots (1m 50s, HD)

We get radio spots. I love these things as I used to hear all of these when I was a kid. It was always exciting to hear how a studio was going to advertise a film with only audio.

There are no features on the dvd. There are seven other films, but no special features.







The front cover of the slip sleeve contains the film’s original theatrical poster, a skeleton standing in front of a blackboard, wearing sunglasses and holding an apple with a lit wick in it, the apple reflected in the sunglasses. At the top is a silver border with the Vestron Video logo in the upper left corner followed with a Collector’s Series banner.


The back cover features the film’s plot synopsis, special features listing, and tech specs along with three stills from the film.


The front and back covers of the blu-ray case are the same as the slip except that the front cover of the blu-ray case doesn’t have the silver banner at the top.


The disc art shows the jester mask used in the film, holding a knife with Marty peeking from behind the mask.


The disc is REGION A (locked)



The front of the dvd packaging with the title of “Horror Collection” and features a Brady Bunch-like grid with each of the eight film’s posters taking up space along the outside wall of the grid. “8 Movie Pack” is in the center tile.




The back cover gives us the credits for each film along with the film’s runtime and year of release.




There are two discs in this collection and both feature some very ugly grey disc art. There are four films on a disc with Slaughter High showing up on disc 2.


Both discs are REGION 1 (locked)







nerd talks to hot chick
Blu-ray


DVD

Slaughter High has only been available on dvd in a terrible full-frame transfer that was taken from a tape master. For years, fans have been waiting for the film to get the proper treatment and Lionsgate and Vestron Video have ended the waiting. Framed in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Slaughter High has never looked better. The first thing to notice is the detail. While the dvd had none, the blu-ray is deep in the detail. It isn’t reference quality, but it fits the film just fine. We also get very natural colors and skin tones with nothing looking off or weird. Black levels are good with no crush to be found. The print is not damage free, but what we do find are just specks of dirt and some scratches. This comes with the territory with a film like this.


nerd wishes for good things to happen to him
Blu-ray


nerd wishes for good things, this time with pants on
DVD


Slaughter High looks awful on dvd. Firstly, the film is presented in full frame which leads to all types of framing issues, like when Marty is in the shower stall. He is supposed to naked when the bra is thrown over the stall, but you can see that he is wearing the very pants that were taken away from him moments earlier. Secondly, the picture is just ugly. It is amazing how people were able to watch this version of the film for so long. The picture is dark and hazy. With the film being on a dvd disc with three other films, there are compression issues all over the place. This transfer was taken from a tape master, so there is no detail, no accurate colors, nothing.


classmates race to see who is going to be first in watching the nerd burn
Blu-ray


people race to see what is going on
DVD


There is also some damage to the print that can be seen in the full frame dvd version of the film that is not present in the blu-ray version.







who could that be behind the door? I think it might be a fool.


We only get a mono track, but that is how the film was mixed so that is the track we want. The track is free of any damage and dialogue is crisp and clear. Sure, there is no immersion, but it would have been fake immersion anyways, and we want to see and hear the film in its original glory, so mono it is.     


The sound of the dvd is a 5.1 surround sound track, but it doesn't really matter that much as the surrounds are barely used. Sound is muddled at times and the score sounds flat.





girl runs into sink hole. No one cares.


In high school, Marty was the kid all the students teased, taunted, and tortured mercilessly. One day, things went too far — one of their jokes backfired, disfiguring Marty for life. Now, five years later, Marty has arranged a special reunion for all his high school “friends.” The prom queen, the jock, the class clown, the rebel, and a few select others have been invited and Marty will have his revenge.


As I watched Slaughter High, for the first time, the one thing that kept running through my head was “dumb”. This entire film is one of the dumbest slasher films I have ever seen. The characters are presented as the usual cast of high school characters. You would think that these characters would at least have a brain cell between all of them, but I don’t think that they do.


Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. The classmates that did all the horrible things to Marty are sent invitations to a class reunion. What high school holds a five-year high school reunion? Not many that I know, but I am getting off track. The invited show up to the high school, which has been closed since the year that this group graduated. The school looks rundown, weeds and all types of plants and vines have covered the school and its parking lot. Just look at some of the abandoned buildings in the area you live or work for an idea of what I am talking about. Anyways, this group of geniuses, after making numerous mentions of how rundown the school looks, still believes that there is a party going on but the other people invited, there are no others, just haven’t gotten there yet.


The group then enters the school because there is a storm coming. They see a table laid out with snacks and drinks and start the party without the people they think are coming. They then see that all of their old lockers have been brought into the room, including Marty’s locker. They make a mention that it looks weird, but keep on partying anyway.


Do you see why I think that this is the dumbest slasher film I have ever seen? Anyone with common sense would know that something is up, but these characters are just too dumb to see it. I have a problem with this as we are supposed to relate to these characters a bit. Yes, they did do all those horrible things to Marty, but we want to believe that maybe they are a bit on the bright side.


Nope.


Throughout this entire film, character after character does some of the dumbest things I have seen in a slasher film. The first of the classmates to die does so after drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon laced with poison. After drinking it the man’s insides burst out of his stomach and onto a fellow classmate. All of the other classmates runoff, but the one with the blood finds a bathtub, fills it with water, and gets into it. Why? There is zero reason to get naked and get into a bathtub right after you watched one of your friend’s stomach explode. Sure, we get to see some nudity and the death that happens in the bathtub is really cool, but there is no practical reason for any of it to happen.


There is also a scene where the characters find out that Marty has put an electrified fence around the windows. One of the characters breaks off enough of the fence to be able to get out of the building. He does, but the rest of the cast stays in the building. Why did they break off more of the fence? It seemed pretty easy for the one character. They could have been out of there and Marty might not have even known it.


I am mad that these characters are this dumb because this was always a point of contention for film critics. Critics would always attack slasher films because they were filled with dumb characters doing dumb things that result in them getting hacked up. The thing that most critics overlooked was the fact that many of the slasher films from the 80’s were filled with smart characters, not dumb ones. Take a look at Friday the 13th Part 2. The final girl is a psych major and uses the power of perception to make Jason think that she is his mother. Would a dumb character do that?


Now take the characters in Slaughter High. They are not smart. They keep falling into Marty’s traps because they don’t think. The couple that has sex on the bed deserve to be killed because they are in the middle of a crisis and all they can think of doing is fucking.


Now, I know that I have been bad mouthing Slaughter High, but not all hope is lost. There were things that I liked about the film. There is something about 80’s horror films that I like. They remind me of my childhood and how I remember things. Everything was brown or a muted red or orange and the interiors always looked like a hunting lodge. The styles of the clothes and hair were always the same and everyone smoked. (Not so much in this film).


I also thought that some of the effects were really well done. The girl in the bathtub full of acid was nice and gross and the melting effect on her head was brief but creepy. The ax to the face of another classmate was brutal as was the electrified bed. The film does have a creepy feel to it which can be attributed to the school that the film was shot in.


Slaughter High is a film that I think is a bit overpraised. When Vestron Video announced that the film was coming to blu-ray, people flipped their shit. I was excited too as I had never seen the film before. I was disappointed with the film because of the hype. I think that in a year or two I will sit down with the film again and give a second chance. Even though the acting is horrible and the script could have used another pass through, there are some things to love about this film. Just too bad that it isn’t enough for me to recommend the film.


The Film5
The Picture8
The Sound8
The Features8.5
The Packaging8.5

Summary

I am thankful that Lionsgate and Vestron Video have decided to give us another 80's slasher film on blu-ray. The downside comes in the form of the film not being all that great. There are some fun moments and the effects are pretty cool, but the film suffers from an incredibly weak script and some of the dumbest characters I have seen in a slasher film yet. The pluses do not outweight the negatives here.

The blu-ray is a much better release than the film deserves. We get the best picture and audio this film has ever seen and a special features package that is worth going through. There isn't a whole lot there, but what is there is good. I wish that Vestron Video and Lionsgate had spent the budget for this release on something that is a bit more deserving. That said, I would recommend this blu-ray to slasher fans and completists.
7
Overall Score


The Film5
The Picture2
The Sound3
The Features0
The Packaging2

Summary

This is an ugly presentation of any film, let alone one that horror fans have been begging for for years. The picture is one of the ugliest pictures I have ever seen and the sound isn't all that much better. Now that there is a proper blu-ray for this film, the dvd can finally be retired.
2
Overall Score





The Winner is: VESTRON VIDEO 

There was no chance in hell that the dvd would win. I have seen comparisons for others films where the dvd had a slight edge over the blu-ray, but here there was zero chance of that happening. I am just glad that I get to retire another dvd, but because this set contains films that haven't received a blu-ray release yet, I better hang onto it just in case.

CHECK OUT PAGE 2 FOR MORE SCREENSHOTS! REMEMBER, SCREENSHOTS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!
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