Original vs. Remake: April Fool’s Day

 

Howdy, folks, and welcome to Wednesday’s Blue Light Special. This week’s blue light special is an installment of the Original vs. Remake monthly series. Our monthly movie is April Fool’s Day…because, yanno, it’s April. As usual, I’ll do the original, and Tiffany A. White will do the remake. Be sure to hit her blog on Friday to see what she has to say about the remake.

The Movie

392px-Aprilfoolsday_poster

Synopsis:

A group of friends gathers for a weekend of partying at a remote estate on a private island, but this group of pranksters realizes the joke is on them when they start to disappear one by one…

Watch the trailer:

 

About

April Fool’s Day hit theaters March 27, 1986–right in time for Spring Break. It starred actors and actresses who were popular in teen films of the time:

  • Clayton Rohner (Just One of the Guys)
  • Amy Steel (Friday the 13th Part 2)
  • Deborah Foreman (Valley Girl)
  • Deborah Goodrich (Just One of the Guys)
  • Ken Olandt (Summer School)
  • Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future)
  • Griffin O’Neal is an interesting inclusion in the cast because he’s the much lesser known brother of Tatum and son of Ryan. He was in eleven movies between ’76 and ’92. Click here for a really interesting interview between Grifin O’Neal and Larry King.

April Fool’s Day is billed on Amazon as a mystery/horror. That’s accurate. The film uses mistaken identity and well-placed clues to keep viewers guessing right up to the final act.

This film appeared in they heyday of 80s slasher films. At first glance, it seems to fit into the genre as one of the less famous, largely forgettable entries. All the clichés of the genre are represented in one way or another.

The cliches:

  • the gruesome accident in the first few minutes as foreshadowing
  • the partying teenagers
  • the typical foreboding music
  • the big, isolated house
  • the grisly, cringeworthy murders
  • the death of sinners (people doing drugs or having premarital sex die early on)
  • cheap scares that make you jump

It isn’t until the final minutes of the film that it becomes apparent April Fool’s Day is not your typical slasher movie.  The only way I can describe it (without giving away the twist ending) is to say that Wes Craven did something similar with Scream. He managed to poke fun at all the slasher film standards while still putting a fresh spin on things.

Is it a Blue Light Special?

If you have Netflix streaming or Amazon Prime Streaming, it is. This baby is free with subscription to both of those. Otherwise, it’s $2.99-$3.99 to rent at Amazon or iTunes and $9.99-$17.99 to buy at the same places.

The movie is good, and the twist ending really had me smiling ear to ear (because I had forgotten it). But this movie is also dated. I don’t know that I’d want to pay to watch it.

Two final housekeeping things:

  1. Those of you who mentioned having a hard time seeing the blog — My wonderful, patient web-designer, Laird Sapir, has made some adjustments. Let me know if this works. 
  2. Be sure to check out Stacy Green’s new mystery/suspense novel, Tin God. Take my word for it: it’s good.

Be sure to check out Tiffany A. White’s review of the remake on Friday.