The Horror-Verse: “Graduation Day” filled my day with disappointment


Graphic by Shehzil Imran and Maya Imran

“The Horror-Verse” is a blog in which I bring to light both the good and bad movies of the horror genre. If you too love horror movies, but hate wasting your time on the vast amount of sub-par ones, this blog is specifically catered to you.

Since the school year is coming to an end, I can think of no better horror movie to watch than one related to a topic on the mind of many students — graduation. As a huge slasher movie fan, I was more than excited to watch the 1981 film “Graduation Day.” However, the disappointment I feel after watching this movie outweighs any initial anticipation I had.

“Graduation Day” takes place at Midvale High School when track athlete Laura Ramstead (Ruth Ann Llorens) suddenly dies from being pushed to her limits to win a race. As graduation nears, Laura’s sister, Anna (Patch Mackenzie), comes to town to honor Laura on the big day — however, murders amongst the track team begin to break out at the hands of a masked killer. 

If there’s one thing I enjoy more than a good slasher movie, it’s a classic 80s or 90s horror film. These movies often tried to one up each other, providing a multitude of plot twists and originality that made many slashers into classic staples in the horror genre. With this notion in mind, it was exactly what I was expecting from “Graduation Day” — a classic, enjoyable and somewhat cheesy slasher film that encapsulates the period in which it was made. And while the movie had its cheesy moments emulating the 80s, I haven’t watched a film as boring as this since “A Quiet Place” (which was, to put it bluntly, a snooze fest). 

The movie understandably opens with the sudden death of Laura, but shows little explanation of what happened to her. The audience doesn’t see the immediate effects Laura’s death had on students other than the track team and audience showing concern in the moment of her death. Along with an underwhelming and lengthy opening scene, the most important aspect of a slasher film was even more of a let down: the kills. The very first kill in a slasher movie is arguably the most important, as it sets the tone for the rest of what’s to come. Yet, the inevitable death of the first track member was slow, vague and poorly executed — even though many horror films weren’t the best with effects in the 80s, this film takes the cake for the most poorly executed deaths.

Don’t get me wrong, the general idea for “Graduation Day” genuinely sounded interesting. Even upon reading more about certain characters and their plans, the attention to detail on specific aspects was commendable. However, this can’t outweigh how awful the film itself actually was.

I have seen some horror fans argue that “Graduation Day” is worth the watch in the scheme of classic 80s slashers, as they believe it was fun, cheesy and entertaining. But, I beg you, reader, to take my advice and not waste your time on this movie — nothing in it justifies an hour and 37 minutes of your time. If you want that iconic 80s horror vibe, please just watch “My Bloody Valentine,” “The Evil Dead,” “Prom Night” or literally anything else.