April Fool's Day (1986)

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Released 15-Jan-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 85:20
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Fred Walton
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Deborah Foreman
Ken Olandt
Thomas F. Wilson
Amy Steel
Jay Baker
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Charles Bernstein


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Finnish
Dutch
Italian
Portuguese
Greek
Turkish
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    April Fools Day is one of hundreds of 80s slasher flicks that were made as a result of the enormous success of John Carpenter's much celebrated Halloween. Set, as usual, in an isolated house next to a foreboding lake, the film starts with a gathering of the usual mad killer fodder, who are setting out for (you guessed it) an April Fools Day party weekend. The group is made up of oversexed college students who relish in the practical jokes inherent in this most humorous of calendar dates. Once at the location they are met by the host, Deborah Foreman, a college associate who starts displaying unusual personality discrepancies. The party weekend begins and so do the practical jokes, followed inevitably by the killing.

    What makes April Fools Day different to most slasher movies is its sense of humour and self-referential screenplay. This is all the more unusual as this film was made a good decade before Wes Craven's overrated Scream changed the face of horror. This does not make the film good mind you, but it does make you wonder where Craven came up with the inspiration for his highly successful film.

    The cast are fairly mediocre, displaying acting skills not far removed from that of a school play. The one exception is Thomas F. Wilson, better known as Biff Tannen from the Back To The Future movies. He has all the best one-liners and jokes, and runs rings around the other cast members in the acting stakes. The direction is pedestrian at best. The killings are mostly done off-screen, and the make-up effects are decidedly ordinary. For example, there is the inevitable sequence involving a severed head that you'd swear was a cabbage wearing a bad wig and lipstick. April Fools Day is not a horrible experience, but it is little more than a curiosity that can occasionally bring a smile to your face.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    April Fools Day is presented in an aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    The general sharpness of the print is decent with an acceptable level of shadow detail. There is some aliasing present during the brighter scenes, but this doesn't call attention to itself. There is a constant level of grain throughout the transfer which is never distracting, but is more noticeable during very dark sequences. There is little to no low level noise apparent.

    The rendition of the colours is mostly natural, but is a little washed out due to the age of the source material.

    Film artefacts are apparent throughout the movie, but are mostly dark and non-intrusive.

    Overall, Paramount has provided us with a decent transfer considering the movie. I'm actually amazed (and thankful) that it has been presented in widescreen at all - a very pleasant change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film has been given a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio track, along with 2.0 surround-encoded French, German and Spanish tracks.

    Dialogue is always clear and there are no discernable audio sync problems.

    The score is highly forgettable, a standard genre effort that doesn't out-stay its welcome.

    The surround channel usage is very uninspired with the majority of sound occupying the front two speakers. You get the occasional `scary' sound effect popping up from the side speakers, but you could count these instances on one hand.

    The subwoofer barely gets any use and has much in common with the almost non-existent directional sound effect usage.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R4 and R1 discs are almost identical. The PAL transfer would be the preferred choice here.

Summary

    April Fools Day is a mediocre horror comedy at best. You get the occasional laugh, but mostly at the filmmakers' expense. Paramount have provided a decent transfer, with a very ordinary soundtrack and no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Thursday, January 16, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
SpeakersSS-MS215

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Comments (Add)
No extras on April Fool's Day DVD. -
Same question as the above post! -
no trailer -