Graduation Day

 

 

   Legacy Entertainment (no web page- you’ll see why as you read on) is a budget outfit that popped up years ago as one of the early budget providers. Their specialty, it seems, is out-and-out thievery of other peoples’ titles. Sure, they release some of the same PD flicks everyone else puts out (hyping stars in early works like Robert DeNiro on Swap Meet and Sarah Jessica Parker in My Body, My Child to name two), but they also sell licensed works like the first 3 Sleepaway Camp movies and this one- Graduation Day (1981). The trouble is- they ain’t paying for their use, so this is some ol’ fashion bootleggin’…

 

   So the movie starts off at a High School track meet, where a girl just after winning a race drops dead from a heart attack. I guess this pissed SOMEONE off, because now a killer is on the loose, offing the track team one by one. Who would due such a dastardly deed- the Principal (genre stalwart Michael Pataki)? The Coach (the late Christopher George– who will appear in anything that pays him a check… remember 1980’s Pieces)? Or is it the sister who’s come back from the Navy; weirded out by the creepy step-father and who is constantly snooping around and jumping out of bushes? Maybe it’s someone else? Or maybe you’ll just give up twenty minutes or so into the movie because you don’t give a damn? Well, maybe- but you’ll miss out on routine throat slashings, impalings, beheadings, and death-by-football; Vanna White desperately trying to act; a sprinkle of nudity (including some early chest-baring by Linnea Quigley); and worst of all, gratuitous leg-shaving (well, maybe Pataki’s slacks-bulge is ACTUALLY worst of all). This is an oh-so typical 80’s Friday the 13th rip-off, with the Ten Little Indians-style set-‘em-up-for-the-slaughter pace, but not any worse than the 500 other ones that came out around that time. Not as bloody as Maniac or as funny as Prom Night– very average but competent (oh, and don’t miss the accidental joke when a character opens a door to the class shop labeled “George Michaels- Woodworking”- spooky foreshadowing, huh?). By the way- the director (Herb Freed) is an old pro at this kind of flick; he made others like Haunts and Beyond Evil as well, and helped this one make a TON at the box office …

 

   Legacy has the gall to issue to wholesale thieve this from a Troma VHS copy, complete with TROMA’S OPENING TITLES! The release is full screen and slightly muddy, but watchable. In the vein of Digiview or East West, their so-called ‘Trailer’ is actually just a list of other titles Legacy sells; 97 minutes. The DVD comes with 12 chapter stops; you’ll never know what you’ll miss so I recommend the fast-forward button instead. I got this at FYE for $2.99…

 

 

   Graduation Day– 2* out of 5