Graduation Day (1981)

There are at least two battle axes in this movie, but neither of them are ever used to kill anyone. This greatly annoys me.

Laura Ramstead, an athletic star and graduating member of the track team at Midvale High, runs a race and then collapses and immediately dies as the crowd, her coach, and her fellow track mates look on, including her boyfriend, Kevin. Two months later, Anne Ramstead, Laura’s older sister, arrives home from the Navy. To get there, she puts up with a trucker’s sexual harassment and homophobia regarding lesbians in the military. Once home, she puts up with her mom’s alcoholic and abusive husband. She mainly hangs out and tries to come to terms with Laura’s death. Meanwhile, the track team members are killed off one by one. Also, the music teacher totally bones a girl, which is gross. Anyway, the cops show up to investigate, and hey, everything seems to be pointing to the head coach, because of course it is. We’ve only been shown close ups of his stopwatch for the whole freaking movie, and he’s got grey sweatpants! Just like the killer! The coach gets into a confrontation with Kevin, the last surviving member of the track team, and the cops shoot him. Anne then visits Kevin’s house, finds her sister’s corpse in his bedroom, and discovers that he’s the real killer and has a plan to marry Laura’s dead body and do God knows what else to it. Anne freaks, Kevin attacks, Anne fends him off, and Kevin gets impaled on the corpse of another kid he killed. Anne leaves town, but only after her drunken stepdad may have tried to assault her in the middle of the night. This fucking movie.

I want to go back to something: Kevin’s room. Kevin’s a track star kind of guy, helpful, into having a good time. For some reason, his bedroom is loaded with weapons, including the axes, as well as rapiers, broadswords, and at least one katana. Why is he using the smallest knife he can find to go after Anne? Also, why is his bedroom covered in posters of Vampirella and Frank Frazetta artwork? What freaking Dungeons and Dragons nerd did they find that let them film in his bedroom? And can I come play Dungeons and Dragons with you guys?!

Also, this movie stars Felony. That’s a band, not someone who appears in John Waters films. Basically Linnea Quigley dies in this movie from a broadsword to the neck while her shirt occasionally flaps open, and Felony films a music video in a roller rink nearby, because that’s what it took to make a good music video back in the day. Once they’re done being the centerpiece of attention for the movie (well…that and a topless Linnea Quigley), Felony vanishes from the film forever. That sucks, they would have totally fit in with the Dungeons and Dragons room.

There are some bizarre moments of slasher film logic in this movie, like killing a guy in football pads by sticking a giant needle on the end of a football. I don’t think that thing is NFL regulation, but at least he didn’t deflate it like the Patriots did (oh snap, go Falcons). He somehow kills a guy by sticking huge spikes on a landing mat for a pole vault, and I guess the vaulter just never bothered to actually look at the pad or anything before he ran straight at it and all. He runs around in fencing gear but pulls out a broadsword for some easy beheading action. A fencing uniform just doesn’t seem menacing in a slasher villain kind of way, but I guess I get the point. Now that I’ve realized that could be construed as a bad fencing pun, I apologize.

Is Graduation Day the worst slasher I’ve ever seen? No. It’s also not the most boring; that would probably be Final Exam. But is there much about this movie that makes it worth watching?

Well, ok, Felony.

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