From IFI/Scope III
Original Theatrical Release Date: May 1st 1981
Plot: A crazed killer in a fencing costume is killing off members of the High School track team. Well of course he is!
Graduation Day is probably the cheesiest and kookiest of the films of the era. And that's probably why I enjoy it so much. This is a movie where people are killed off in bizarre ways (Death by javelin! Death by trampoline! Death by football!) and one that has the gall to play up a recently discharged female naval officer as the prime suspect. The gloriously named Patch Mackenzie plays naval ensign Anne Ramstead, and she really wants to find out why her track team star sister just suddenly collapsed and died during a meet. Patch just might have to use her Karate skills to get to the bottom of this!
Graduation also has a pretty unique vibe for films of the time. Director Herb Freed clearly wasn't satisfied in just making a Slasher Film, so he injects into the Picture an almost lunatic editing style, with montages set against fun music and even a bunch of Slo-Mo action. If you don't end up enjoying the film with it's modest Slasher means, you will still walk away from it not quite forgetting the off-kilter tone. Especially memorable is the "Gangster Rock" roller rink scene. The filmmakers more than likely padded out the movie with having this post-punk, glam band play out the ENTIRE song, but for me it sets the film into a delirium and I get pumped up for the rest of it's running time.
Sometimes you just HAVE to shave your legs in the sink.
Hey, Graduation Day will never be remembered as a classic or even a good Film. But this is a Picture littered with strange little moments that I keep returning to when I need something just a little different while serving up the typical Slasher mystery and tropes. Plus any Movie that has the sense to cast Christopher George as a cranky coach, Michael Pataki as a weird Principal, Linnea Quigley as the school slut and Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White as a giggly for-no-apparent-reason student is absolute tops in my book.
TV Trailer: (Now playing at a theater or drive-in near you!)
Patch and one of the 40-year-old students of Graduation Day.