April Fool’s Day (1986)
Stars: Deborah Foreman, Griffin O'Neal and Clayton Rohner
Director: Fred Walton
Writer: Danilo Bach
A group of college kids invited to their wealthy friend's island manon retreat for a weekend of fun in the early days of the spring season - what could be better? For the nine invited to vit Muffy St John, it would seem the chance of a lifetime. The true tone of the weekend is set, however, as the group witnesses or horrifying accident while being ferried out to join Muffy for the weekend. For the nine friends and their hostess, nothing will ever be the same.
Starring Deborah Foreman as Muffy, the 1986 film titled after the day its climax comes to bear, is a teenage tribute to the clasc Agatha Christie type mysteries full of friends and enemies sequestered together on a lonely estate, as they begin disappearing one by one. The nine college friends find themselves facing far more than they bargained for as their week of fun in the sun turns to something a mite darker. Their quirky hostess, Muffy, has a mischievous sense of humor that quickly turns dark and even mean. Whoopie cushions soon give way to cruelly crafted pranks that play upon the pasts and twisted inner torments of her guests, making it clear that there is some darker intent behind the weekend’s invitation than the others might have surmised.
Only after Muffy’s meanness cuts her guests to the quick to the disappearances start. One by one, the begin to disappear; terrified Kit (Amy Steel) spots the brutalized body of one of her friends, only to have it have disappeared when she tries to alert the others. The group becomes trapped with no means of communication with the mainland, stuck at the home of the mysteriously cruel Muffy and an unknown violent killer waiting in the wings.
The twist is known well to horror fans new and old, but in the effort to keep from spoiling anyone new to the film, it won’t be revealed here. Suffice it to say, it set the pace for horror films for years to come and endeavored to take a creative path towards a somewhat unusual end. By no means a total innovation, April Fool’s Day was still a breath of fresh air when released in an era of formulaic hack and slash horror films with little story and no substance, and still holds its own today among more recent releases.
If you’re looking for a film to celebrate this prankster holiday, let April Fool’s Day make a fool of you – it’s well worth your time. Not presently available on regular DVD release, it can be found on a tandem release with Graveyard Shift and Tales from the Darkde, as well as available for streaming on Amazon and disc rental from Netflix.
One note: do not confuse this film with the 2008 direct to video release by the same name. Though the more recent film is often referred to as a remake, the storylines really have nothing in common and there is no thread drawing the two films together.