Graduation Day

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Back of Box:  The Troma Team is proud to present the suspenseful, heart-stopping shocks and mystery of GRADUATION DAY.  It's just weeks before high school graduation and members of the track team are being mysteriously and gruesomely murdered, one at a time.  When the team's star runner, Laura Ramstead, falls dead at the end of a championship meet, her sister Anne (Patch MacKenzie) comes to town and a series of grisly murders begin.  Is Anne responsible?  Or is it coach Michaels (Christopher George) who has been fired because of Laura's death?  Perhaps it's the campus policeman who is disliked because of his over-zealous drug investigations.  Or is it Laura's boyfriend, Kevin (E. Danny Murphy), who can't reconcile himself to Laura's death?  You won't want to see GRADUATION DAY alone!
Plot:  A high school girl drops dead after winning her track meet.  Fast forward to graduation day that same year, someone is targeting the track team and seems to have a 30 second time limit every time they kill.  The plot isn't overly original, but the motive was, and is, one of the most original I have come across.  The killer isn't that hard to identify, but the film throws the blame well and sets itself up to be a fun ride.
Acting:  I must say I was pretty impressed here.  Christopher George fits perfectly as the over-bearing Coach Michaels.  Patch MacKenzie was top-notch as the strong-willed, older sister, Anne.  E. Danny Murphy is sympathetic as Kevin, but borders creepy a little to closely.  I will say that he did pull off the parts that mattered.  Linnea Quigley...need I say more.  The only character that really annoyed me was Officer MacGregor (Virgil Frye).  His character was supposed to be the comic relief, but the maybe 15 minutes of screen time he gets are filled with annoying antics and hypocrisy.  He didn't make me laugh, he pissed me off.
GoreBody Count (9)  The budget shows here, but that's what makes it so endearing.  Some of the things they pull off are a joy to watch.  My favorite would have to be the fencing sword through the neck.  Other highlights include a spiked football (Literally) through the stomach and a broadsword decapitation.  The pole vault onto a bed of spikes gets a shout out for originality.
Suspense:  The opening still gives me chills, but I think it's because the whole thing is in slow motion.  The locker room stalk scene is probably the best thing this films offers for this section.  However, the end twist and sequence leading up to the final showdown trip me out.  That, and the final showdown is one for the books, it all happens in the middle of the day.  The only thing that disappointed me about this section is Linnea Quigley's chase scene.  It was a brilliantly set up, wooded background chase scene, but it was completely ruined by the band performing at the dance.  Felony's "Gangster Rock" isn't necessarily a bad song, but it is a horrible choice for chase scene music.
Directing:  I love a director that knows his way around a P.O.V. shot.  Great angles, awesome set ups, and moving shots light on the Blair Witch effect.  Herb Freed has a great eye and he had the ability to keep things moving without sacrificing what he wanted the audience to see. 
Tech:  It's pretty bad when the lighting is so bad that sometimes you can't tell what's happening during the day.  Of course, that means night was even worse.  The sound was loud and had a tendency to distort.  The soundtrack is mostly synth, but somewhat minimal.  The band Felony breaks up the monotony a little, but toward the end the soundtrack decided to head into chaotic territory.  Everything about this section was all over the place.  Not good.
Other:  I have to use this space to compliment the motive of the killer once again.  Just finding out why the stop watch is used makes the whole film worth it.  Oh yeah, Linnea Quigley topless.  Even better, Linnea Quigley topless chase scene.
Final Word:  Definitely one for the collection.  If you're a slasher fan, and you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.  True, the tech section leaves something to be desired, but don't let that take away from the charm of this film.  It's still worth it.


Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!