Taglines: Guess who’s going to be the life of the party!
A group of eight college friends gather together at an island mansion belonging to heiress Muffy St. John to celebrate their final year of school. They soon discover that each has a hidden secret from their past which is revealed, and soon after, they turn up dead. Yet, are they really dead? Or is it just part of some very real and cruel April Fool’s jokes? The hostess, Muffy, is the only one who apparently knows what’s going on. But then again, is it really her doing the killing?
April Fool’s Day is a 1986 American mystery horror film directed by Fred Walton and starring Deborah Foreman, Amy Steel, and Ken Olandt. The plot details a group of college students on a weekend getaway at the island estate of their wealthy classmate, which is infiltrated by a killer. The original music score was composed by Charles Bernstein. It was filmed in British Columbia, Canada and has a largely American cast.
About the Story
On the weekend leading up to April Fools’ Day, a group of college friends, consisting of Harvey, Nikki, Rob, Skip, Nan, Chaz, Kit and Arch, gather to celebrate spring break by spending the weekend at the island mansion of Skip’s sister, Muffy St. John. The tone is set almost immediately, with Muffy preparing details around the house when she finds an old jack-in-the-box she remembers in a flashback sequence. Her friends, meanwhile, joke around on the pier while awaiting the ferry. En route to the island, as their antics become more boisterous, local deckhand Buck is seriously injured in a gruesome accident.
Once on the island, it turns out that Muffy has set up a variety of pranks throughout the mansion, ranging from simple gags such as a whoopee cushion and dribble glasses, to more complex and disturbing pranks, such as an audiotape of a baby crying in someone’s room and heroin paraphernalia in a guest’s wardrobe. In spite of this, the group try to relax, until Skip goes missing, and Kit catches a glimpse of what looks like his dead body. Soon, Arch and Nan also go missing. During a search for the pair, Nikki falls into the island’s well, where she finds the severed heads of Skip and Arch, along with the dead body of Nan. The remaining group members then discover that the phone lines are dead and there is no way to get off the island until Monday.
One after another, members of the group either vanish or get killed before their bodies are found. After putting some clues together, Kit and Rob realize that everyone’s earlier assumption is wrong; the kinsman of the deckhand injured when they arrived is a red herring. It also turns out that Muffy has a violently insane twin sister named Buffy, who has escaped. In fact, the “Muffy” they have been around since the first night was Buffy, pretending to be Muffy. They discover Muffy’s severed head in the basement.
Buffy chases them with a curved butcher’s knife, and the couple gets separated. Kit flees from Buffy by escaping into the living room where she finds everyone else there, alive and calmly waiting for her. It was all a joke, or more accurately, a dress rehearsal. It is revealed to the audience that the whole film was never a slasher film from the start, but rather pretending to be one. Muffy hopes to turn the mansion into a resort offering a weekend of staged horror. She even had a friend who does special effects and make-up in Hollywood help. Each “victim” agreed to take part as things were explained to them.
April Fool’s Day (1986)
Directed by: Fred Walton
Starring: Deborah Foreman, Griffin O’Neal, Clayton Rohner, Deborah Goodrich, Pat Barlow, Leah Pinsent, Amy Steel, Jay Baker
Screenplay by: Danilo Bach
Cinematography by: Charles Minsky
Film Editing by: Bruce Green
Set Decoration by: Della Mae Johnston
Art Direction by: W. Stewart Campbell
Music by: Charles Bernstein
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: March 28, 1986