Friday, March 28, 2008

April Fool's Day

This was one of the more clever slasher movies of the mid-80's in the fact that it very effectively psyches you out and truly lives up to it's title with one of the greatest endings ever made. The story goes something like this... Muffy St.John ("Valley Girl" actress Deborah Foreman) is a popular and somewhat rich and eccentric college student who has invited eight friends to come and enjoy spring break at her newly inherited island estate. Being that it's April Fool Day, the jokes are aplenty. It starts when two idiots fake a knife stabbing accident while on the ferry to the estate and a few people have to dive into the water to save him. Everybody has a chuckle, but when one of the men that jumped into the water is accidentally crushed between the ferry and the dock, the hilarity is instantly turned to panic and remorse. He's rushed to a hospital, which leaves everyone on edge because he really looks like he ain't gonna make it. Muffy greets everyone and tries to lighten the mood with the commencement of their spring break festivities. Continuing with the April Fool's Day tomfoolery in a much calmer fashion, the jokes include endless dribble glasses, exploding cigars and a trick chair that flips you backwards when you sit in it. After the party when people start retiring for the night, they all find strange things in their rooms. Drug paraphernalia, bondage equipment, newspaper clippings of grisly car accidents, just to name a few. The next day, Muffy is not quite the same. She's all of a sudden very shy and timid. She looks disheveled, confused, and is wearing a drab outfit and nurses shoes. She also keeps getting her close friends names wrong. To make a long story into a shorter long story, everybody starts disappearing or showing up dead. The last two people left, a romantic couple named Rob and Kit discover certain clues such as a photo of two female twins in the father's study, a letter addressing the family that "Ms. St.John" has escaped from an asylum. They know Muffy hasn't been in an asylum because she's been at Vassar College with all her friends. When they sneak back into the house through the basement, they notice height measurement marks on the wall, like the ones used to measure a child's growth rate. Only there's two height measurements side by side, labeled Muffy and Buffy. They see a painting with the eyes cut out and real eyes staring from behind the painting. They pull the painting away only to have Muffy's severed head fall into their laps. It's now quite clear that Muffy has an insane twin sister named Buffy, who has escaped an asylum and has murdered her twin sister Muffy and assumed her identity and that she's the killer. Kit is cornered in the dining room by Buffy, brandishing a huge knife. Then, while trying to fend off Buffy's knife attacked she manages to open the dining room door and stumbles into another room filled with all her supposedly dead friends just sitting around hanging out like nothing has happened. Buffy enters the room, lifts the knife and plunges it into her hand and then retracts it, revealing a fake knife. Kit is less than amused as everyone shouts out "April Fools!". Evidently, everyone got sucked into it and was only a part of it after they had been killed off. As it turns out, Muffy has received the estate as part of her inheritance, that's true but only if she can prove that it can carry itself. She wants to turn it into a country inn, but not some ordinary "run of the mill" country inn. Instead, being one that specializes in a once in a lifetime whodunnit weekend, and she needed a rehearsal so she suckered all her friends into it. It's a totally unexpected ending because the movie has every indication of being a typical 80's slasher flick with a typically predictable ending. This has always been one of my favorite movies and it's gained quite a cult following in recent years. Truly an enjoyable 80's classic.

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