April Fool’s Day – The Holiday Beloved in 1986

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1986 was a great year for April Fool’s Day, when not one, not, two, but THREE movies were released about that holiday (and almost having that name!)
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Viacom


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April Fools Day banner Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Viacom


After John Carpenter’s 1978 film Halloween, the hunt began for holidays filmmakers could use as a backdrop for their slasher efforts. Over the next several years, filmmakers would make a plethora of horror films set at Christmas and a seemingly infinite number set at Halloween. The holiday pickings had become a little slim, when, in 1986, Hollywood realized they had somehow neglected to exploit the craziness that is April Fools Day.

Not one, not two, but three horror films went into production with the working title of April Fools Day. But although three April Fools Days entered, only one film left with that title intact: the Paramount Pictures version directed by Fred Walton (director of When a Stranger Calls ). Take a peek at the trailer here:

Trailer for April Fools DayPhoto Credit: Paramount Pictures / Viacom


A second film, a joint US-UK independent film, was released in the US as Slaughter High; its holiday moniker remained intact only for foreign release in Japan and France. Take a peek here:

Trailer for Slaughter HighPhoto Credit: Lionsgate Entertainment


A third film, an MGM film by Canadian Director William Fruet (House by the Lake and Spasms ), was released as Killer Party ; it is sometimes referred to under its alternative title, The April Fool. Take a peek at the trailer here:

Trailer for Killer PartyPhoto Credit: Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

The three April Fools films rode the tail end of the slasher craze of the 1980s. Each attempted to appeal to the young adult market, featuring college or high school students as the perpetrators and recipients of holiday pranks, some amusing and others deadly. Each suffered from the MPAA’s war on violence, suffering cuts that, by relegating violence and gore to off-screen status, confused the plot for moviegoers.

The original Paramount April Fools Day ended with an unexpected twist, which led to many film-goers complaining the April Fools joke was on them. Slaughter High fell into obscurity, but was eventually recognized for its contributions to the horror genre, and was rewarded with a premium release by UK genre historians Arrow Films. Killer Party is best known for its use of contemporary music, both the opening music video April (You’re No Fool) by White Sister, and use of Laura Branigan’s hit The Lucky One.

Watching any of the three films would be a holiday treat. Watching all of the three is marathon, fit only for a fool – an April Fool, that is.



If your video library is collected on discs, you’ll want to order the 1986 classic “April Fool’s Day” on DVD from Amazon.com. Note: Despite the ad title, there does NOT appear to be a Blu-ray version available.– McC

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 ad pic april fools video

If your video library is collected in digital form on a hard drive, you’ll want to buy the digital download of “April Fool’s Day” (1986) from Amazon Video. Or, if you prefer, you can watch it before you buy (terms apply). Sorry, this title is not eligible for Amazon Prime Video. – McC

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