A group of eight coeds embark on an idyllic weekend at their friend’s private-island cottage.  To commemorate April Fool’s Day, Muffy St. John, the hostess, has planted whoopie cushions, dripping glasses, broken chairs, and other various pranks; but, the harmless hijinks soon take a turn for the more sinister.

April Fools Day 7One by one, the guests are slaughtered by Muffy’s deranged and estranged twin brothers, Buck and Chuck, who, after a three-year stint, have escaped from the Vassar Sanitarium.

Since Macabre Movie Mavericks refrains from spoiling a plot without warning, I must profess—April Fools!

Bloody Rundown

Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Fred Walton’s April Fool’s Day is a clever who-done-it mystery, effectively mixing humor and horror in homage to the holiday.

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Produced by horror maven, Frank Mancuso, Jr., April Fool’s Day is an original classic that some have unreasonably snubbed.  With Charles Bernstein’s unique score and Danilo Bach’s witty screenplay, the film is a departure from the typical slashers of the 1980s.  The characters are likeable and amusing, and, unlike the one-dimensionals featured in many horrors, the audience does not root for their demise.   

April Fools Day 8The well-acted ensemble also stars such horror-movie notables as Deborah Foreman (Sarah in Waxwork), Amy Steel (Ginny in Friday the 13th Part 2), and Clayton Rohner (Dr. Jones in The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)).

Die-Anne’s Diatribe

I love this film. Even the characters’ names are hilarious—Muffy, Buffy, Skip, Kit, Chaz, and Buck, you can’t make this up! The entire movie is charming, and that is no April Fools.


Plot Mutilator

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While on the ferry in route to the island, a practical joke between Arch and Skip tragically goes awry, sending assistant ferryman, Buck, to the hospital.  At the site of the palatial island mansion, however, their guilt-ridden somberness soon gives way to the weekend festivities, as the coeds toast their upcoming graduation and revel in Muffy’s April Fool’s mischief.  But the carefree atmosphere is once again short-lived, shifting to the more mystifying.  The next morning, the friends discover Skip to be missing and Muffy to be behaving oddly.  Not only is she wearing crape soles, Muffy is dressed in a fashion more suitable for the ‘90s grunge era than that of the ‘80s Valley Girl.

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Soon, two others in the group go missing, only to be discovered with both their heads and Skip’s severed.  Has Buck’s kin come to enact revenge?  Or is Muffy’s deranged and estranged twin, Buffy, the culprit?  The suspense continues as does the mutilation by way of castration, hanging, and another beheading.  The surviving two guests believe they have solved the mystery; but, it is too late to escape.  Just as they are to be killed, it is revealed that the entire murderous saga is an elaborate hoax.  Or, is it?

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Deadly Details

Director ∞ Fred Walton
Producer ∞ Frank Mancuso, Jr.
Screenwriter ∞ Danilo Bach
Music ∞ Charles Bernstein
Cinematographer ∞ Charles Minsky
Editor ∞ Bruce Green
Distributor ∞ Paramount Pictures
Release Date ∞ March 1986
Running Time ∞ 89 minutes
Country ∞ United States
Language ∞ English
Cast ∞
Deborah Foreman as Muffy / Buffy 
Amy Steel as Kit 
Ken Olandt as Rob 
Deborah Goodrich as Nikki 
Leah Pinsent as Nan
Clayton Rohner as Chaz
Jay Baker as Harvey 
Thomas F. Wilson as Arch 
Griffin O’Neal as Skip 
Mike Nomad as Buck 
Tom Heaton as Constable Potter / Uncle Frank 
Lloyd Berry as Ferryman 
Pat Barlow as Clara