04 October 2012

+JMJ+

Thirteen Things about April Fool's Day
(As you can see, Horror movies I review in October get some special love!)

13. After each production of Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap, the cast step out to ask the audience for a special favour: to keep the secret of the ending so that everyone else who watches the play for the first time can be as surprised as they. I feel as if the cast of April Fool's Day have made the same request of me. Which means that my challenge is to blog about this movie without giving anything but the heaviest veiled clues away. Well, challenge accepted! =D

And yes, this is your first heavily veiled clue. LOL!

12. April Fool's Day opens with all the expected 80s Slasher elements: an isolated location, a pretty teenage cast, the smell of hormones in the morning, and the best hair and fashion the "Me Decade" had to offer.

Perhaps the only "postmodern" element is the video camera one character uses to record his memories and annoy everyone else at the same time. In the present decade, it would have served as satiric commentary on Horror as entertainment--and it is really because of the present decade that I gave it more than a moment's notice. Which I'm now glad I did, because it actually has something to say about its own film. Something almost Shakespearean.

But of course I can't tell you any more than that. =P

11. Now about that pretty teenage cast and their 80s styling . . .

They actually look really scary here, don't they? LOL!

I don't think all nine teenagers are ever in the same frame at once (The logistics of it would have been too obvious, perhaps?), so I'm glad they had this photo taken. =)

My favourite cast member has got to be Tom Wilson. This is actually the first time I've seen him in a role that is not Biff Tannen. =P Anyone else love Mary O'Toole O'Reilly O'Shea? LOL!

10. Adding the above photo reminded me that the dinner scene gives off a Last Supper vibe, so I was very pleased to go over the story again and realise that there are exactly thirteen characters in the whole film! How cool is that??? =D

9. You know what I like about these older Slasher movies that doesn't necessarily have something to do with the 80s? They're also more old-fashioned . . . in the romantic sense. =P I felt courted by this film, which took its time setting the mood and making sure I was comfortable before it even tried to get to first base.

Quite the contrast to today's caddish Horror movies, which seem to think that all they have to do is bring some beer and show up. (And then they never call you . . . Sheesh!)

8. But a gentle wooing may not be for everyone. I watched this with my teenage brother Camera Man, and he spent the first half hour texting his friends. (Sigh!) But as soon as the bodies started dropping, April Fool's Day had him just where it wanted him. (Snigger!)

Let me put it this way: the next time he makes fun of me for wanting to hold his hand during the scary scenes, I will remind him of how fast he ran after me when I left the living room for a few seconds to top up my drink! ;-)

7. The isolated location is rich girl Muffy St. John's roomy island mansion. (Yes, that's her name. LOL!) And it has the soul of a British manor, longing to be the setting of a good, old-fashioned Whodunit--a wish that is especially evident when the guests start finding some really odd things in their rooms . . . !

6. That brings me to one real nit I have to pick with April Fool's Day, which is that a couple of those odd things don't make any sense. For instance, one character opens his medicine cabinet and finds heroin paraphernalia. But why? Nothing leading up to that point has made him seem like a drug user, and the equipment itself is never mentioned again.

Having done a bit more research, I now know that the original idea for his character was an athlete who ruined a future in sports after his steroid use became public, and that he was supposed to find steroids and not drugs in the cabinet. But then this storyline was cut out of the script and then they had to give him something else to find. Not the smoothest switch.

5. Then again, this Slasher isn't about punishing teenagers for their sins. That "smell of hormones in the morning" is quite the red herring! April Fool's Day is actually optimistic about one of its fornicating couples. =P

4. Now I really want to ask a question which begins with the words, "Would you forgive . . . ?"--but to add more to it would count as a spoiler. Those who have seen April Fool's Day, however, already know what I mean, and I plead with them to tell me!

I steered as clear of spoilers as I could in this post, but I'm willing to discuss anything and everything in the combox. Spoiler-averse readers may scroll down at their own risk!

3. While I'm at it, another question for April Fool's Day fans: "Was anyone else creeped out by the climax?" I don't want to give away too much, but in the few seconds it took for the surprise to set in, I ran through several theories in my mind, each one as freaky as the rest. (My favourite? . . . Ghosts! LOL!)

2. But the ending--or rather, the encore--leaves much more to be desired. Apparently, it was not supposed to be the real ending and was filmed months after production officially wrapped. I was not surprised to learn that. The final scene looks as if it were filmed for a completely different movie. And yet there was no way not to have it.

Generally speaking, Horror movies need that one last "twist" at the end. It's not so much that the genre has taught us to expect it, but that we are hardwired to be suspicious of threats that are thwarted too easily. And in April Fool's Day, there's something a little too macabre about the way the survivors express their relief (if you will): it foreshadows--heck, it fore-demands--what happens last. I just wish they had put a little more thought and care into it, you know?

1. I wrote and formatted an entire post, and you know what? My bum still hurts from the kicking I gave myself for waiting so long to see this movie. Late have I loved you, April Fool's Day; late have I been . . .

Image Sources: a) April Fool's Day poster, b) April Fool's Day cast

7 comments:

Angie Tusa said...

When I first watched this movie I didn't have too many kind things to say about it, except for Tom Wilson because he's just so funny. But the further I got from it the more I came to appreciate some of its charms.

And to answer your question - no, I wouldn't forgive at all! That's one of the biggest problems I have with this movie, that everyone just goes along with it once they find out the secret, and then they all have a big laugh about it afterward. I would be furious!

But if you want to hear more details about what I thought about the film, then allow me to shamelessly plug: I was a guest on the I Hate/Love Remakes podcast where we talked about this film. We talk about some of the changes the film went through as well, and it explains why that epilogue feels so off.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

As you can tell, I was immediately charmed. ;-) But it's also nice to know that April Fool's Day can continue to grow on a person. I was checking out some other blogs and saw that The Mike considers this a favourite, while Eegahlnc says he rewatches it several times a year!

It's so interesting to me that everyone just goes along with the joke. I think it went too far as early as the tape with the crying baby. While I'll buy Kit's forgiveness (because she always believed in Muffy's innocence and wanted to save her until the end), I'm not so sure about Nan's. Alluding to an abortion she is probably still hurting from was a low, low blow from Muffy. >=(

But now I see the real significance of the Boswell quote when Muffy makes her toast! =P We have to believe that they're all such great friends; otherwise, we won't buy the big reveal. How ironic, though, that the one who shares the quote can be said to be the worst friend of the bunch!

Thanks for linking up the podcast, too. =) I'll get to it this weekend.

Angie Tusa said...

Nan definitely suffers the worse, and Muffy's casual "Oops, sorry, didn't realize!" comment doesn't come off even remotely sincere.

But Arch could have died for real thanks to her poor planning, and they just laugh that off too, even making a further joke at his expense.

Basically, I like the movie because of certain random moments, but the hook it relies on just doesn't work at all.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

It's kind of ironic that you mention the random moments, because there are so many random moments in the story itself. =P Muffy's planning (if we can even call it that) seems so haphazard that it's really amazing that she managed to pull her prank off. What if, for instance, Kit doesn't turn her head right when she does? How then to let everyone know that something is up?

Nevertheless, I do like the concept, and although I see that the execution is deeply flawed, I still had a great time watching this and being creeped out. (Yeah, I'm easy. LOL!)

Sullivan McPig said...

Not having seen the movie I still think my answer would be no. I hate most April's fool jokes and anyone who played one on me can count on a pig with a serious grudge.

EegahInc said...

I read the novelization based on the original screenplay before the studio made its changes. Along with explaining some of the 'clues' left in the guests' rooms, there is an entire third act which was filmed but cut from the final release and replaced with the encore you dislike. I'm not sure I like it better because it radically changes everything that came before it, but I'd love to see it as a DVD extra or something.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Sully -- And this prank isn't just any harmless prank, either! =P

I know there's a similar movie in which one of the pranksters actually gets killed in the end, before he can tell the poor victim that it was all a joke. But of course I can't reveal the title . . . . ;-)

Eegahlnc -- I read about the novelisation while doing my research as well, and I'm struck by how different the film and the book turned out to be. I'm guessing now that thousands of copies of the book had already been printed and were ready for retail when the movie was drastically changed and the encore (and prologue!) were filmed?

Only in the world of cult classics, aye? =P