April Fool's Day (1986)

R | 90 mins | Horror, Comedy | 27 March 1986

Director:

Fred Walton

Writer:

Danilo Bach

Producer:

Frank Mancuso, Jr.

Cinematographer:

Charles Minsky

Editor:

Bruce Green

Production Designer:

Stewart Campbell

Production Company:

Hometown Films
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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Frank Mancuso, Jr., who was partially responsible for the success of Friday the 13th (1980, see entry) and its subsequent sequels (1981, 82, 84, 85, 86, 88, 89, Part 2 – VIII), was looking for a new project that combined the classic horror of his film series with elements of directors Alfred Hitchcock and Brian DePalma’s suspense thrillers. He hired screenwriter Danilo Bach just off the recent success of Beverly Hills Cop (1984, see entry) to polish his original concept.
       Mancuso choose Victoria, British Columbia, for the six weeks of principal photography after considering Seattle, WA, and Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Two properties located on a private estate were chosen for location filming. One house was primarily used for first floor interiors and exterior shots. The upstairs bedrooms of a second residence were also filmed. Most of the shoot occurred at these two locations with the exception of opening scenes, involving ferry rides to the harbor town.

      End credits list John La Salandra incorrectly as “John ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producer Frank Mancuso, Jr., who was partially responsible for the success of Friday the 13th (1980, see entry) and its subsequent sequels (1981, 82, 84, 85, 86, 88, 89, Part 2 – VIII), was looking for a new project that combined the classic horror of his film series with elements of directors Alfred Hitchcock and Brian DePalma’s suspense thrillers. He hired screenwriter Danilo Bach just off the recent success of Beverly Hills Cop (1984, see entry) to polish his original concept.
       Mancuso choose Victoria, British Columbia, for the six weeks of principal photography after considering Seattle, WA, and Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Two properties located on a private estate were chosen for location filming. One house was primarily used for first floor interiors and exterior shots. The upstairs bedrooms of a second residence were also filmed. Most of the shoot occurred at these two locations with the exception of opening scenes, involving ferry rides to the harbor town.

      End credits list John La Salandra incorrectly as “John LaSalandra.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1986
p. 3, 38.
Los Angeles Times
28 Mar 1986
p. 16.
New York Times
27 Mar 1986
p. 13.
Variety
26 Mar 1986
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
a Hometown Films Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
Key grip
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Elec best boy
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company elec
Company elec
Company elec
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed - prod
Asst ed - prod
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Set dresser
Set dresser
Scenic artist
Carpenter
Stand-by carpenter
COSTUMES
Ward head
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward consultant
Dresser
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Dial ed
Foley
Foley
Sd coord
Re-rec mixer
2d re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Title des
Opticals by
MAKEUP
Head makeup artist
Asst makeup artist
Hairstylist
Asst hairstylist
Makeup eff
Makeup eff
Makeup eff
Makeup eff
Makeup eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Loc liaison
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Payroll asst
Asst to Mr. Mancuso
Prod secy
Casting assoc, Los Angeles
Casting coord
Casting - New York
Casting - New York
Craft service
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Caterer
Caterer
Security
Prod services provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst stunt coord
Stunt man
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Too Bad You're Crazy," music and lyrics by Charles Bernstein, performed by Jerry Whitman with Linda Harmon, Angie Jaree, and Donna Davidson
"Mama Told Me (Not To Come)," music and lyrics by Randy Newman, performed by Three Dog Night, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
DETAILS
Release Date:
27 March 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 27 March 1986
Copyright Claimant:
YCTM Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 April 1986
Copyright Number:
PA286178
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Color by Metrocolor®
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28085
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Muffy St. John invites a group of college friends for a weekend April Fool’s Day party at her parents’ island estate. Chaz shoots videos of Nikki Breshears, Kit, Arch Cummings and Muffy’s distant cousin, Skip, as they wait for a ferry ride to the island. Back at the house, Muffy cleans the basement, finds a Jack-in-the-box, and remembers it was a birthday gift with a rubber demon that popped out when the handle was cranked. In the present, she returns the toy to the shelf without releasing the creature. At the dock, Kit carries Nan’s heavy suitcase. As ferryman Cal insists he will not wait for any stragglers, two additional friends, Rob Ferris and Harvey “Hal” Edison, Jr., arrive. Hal, an awkward, preppy guy from Muffy’s economics class, flirts with Nikki as she sunbathes during the ferry ride. Hal tells Nikki he wants to interview for a job at Southern Regional Sales, a company owned by Muffy St. John’s father, next year when he graduates. Soon, Arch tells Skip that he is done betting and losing in a knife-tossing contest. When Skip needles Arch to keep playing, Arch angrily tosses the knife at him. Skip sustains a stomach wound and falls into the water. Rob dives in to save Skip, but it turns out Arch and Skip have schemed the first April Fool’s joke. As the ferry approaches the shore, Buck Williams, a deck hand, misses tethering the ferry’s rope to the dock, and the ferry accidentally gouges Buck’s eye. When Constable Sam Potter arrives in a motorboat, Cal borrows the constable’s vessel to race Buck to the hospital. Muffy is at the dock ... +


Muffy St. John invites a group of college friends for a weekend April Fool’s Day party at her parents’ island estate. Chaz shoots videos of Nikki Breshears, Kit, Arch Cummings and Muffy’s distant cousin, Skip, as they wait for a ferry ride to the island. Back at the house, Muffy cleans the basement, finds a Jack-in-the-box, and remembers it was a birthday gift with a rubber demon that popped out when the handle was cranked. In the present, she returns the toy to the shelf without releasing the creature. At the dock, Kit carries Nan’s heavy suitcase. As ferryman Cal insists he will not wait for any stragglers, two additional friends, Rob Ferris and Harvey “Hal” Edison, Jr., arrive. Hal, an awkward, preppy guy from Muffy’s economics class, flirts with Nikki as she sunbathes during the ferry ride. Hal tells Nikki he wants to interview for a job at Southern Regional Sales, a company owned by Muffy St. John’s father, next year when he graduates. Soon, Arch tells Skip that he is done betting and losing in a knife-tossing contest. When Skip needles Arch to keep playing, Arch angrily tosses the knife at him. Skip sustains a stomach wound and falls into the water. Rob dives in to save Skip, but it turns out Arch and Skip have schemed the first April Fool’s joke. As the ferry approaches the shore, Buck Williams, a deck hand, misses tethering the ferry’s rope to the dock, and the ferry accidentally gouges Buck’s eye. When Constable Sam Potter arrives in a motorboat, Cal borrows the constable’s vessel to race Buck to the hospital. Muffy is at the dock to meet her friends, but asks the constable about the commotion. He borrows Muffy’s family boat, and warns the group not to stray far until Buck’s condition is known. At the St. John estate, Muffy reveals she will inherit the property when she turns twenty-one. Chaz documents everyone’s reactions to the elegantly set dining room table with his video camera, while Hal explores Mr. St. John’s study and pockets several cigars. At dinner, Nan finds a whoopee cushion planted in her seat, while Arch is catapulted from a chair with trick legs. The friends have a good laugh and Muffy serves wine. Both Nan and Muffy take turns making toasts. As the friends sip the wine, they are soaked when their goblets turn out to be dribble glasses. Muffy laughs and tells her friends “April Fool’s!” Later, Hal lights a cigar. Chaz and Arch find they are roommates for the night, and joke about being gay lovers. When Hal opens the closet and dresser in his room, he sees several newspaper articles, describing deaths from car accidents during the island’s foggy nights, but hides them when Chaz pokes his head in the room. Chaz leaves, and Hal’s cigar explodes. Meanwhile, Nan follows the sounds of a baby crying and finds a tape recorder playing. Skip wanders in a drunken stupor into the boathouse by the dock. In the dark, someone grabs him. In the morning, Muffy, looking disheveled, runs away when her friends see her in the kitchen. Soon, the party moves out to the lawn for soccer, and Arch wonders why Skip is missing. He invites Nan to join the game, but she declines. Kit and Rob retreat to the boathouse for lovemaking, but their happiness is cut short when they see Skip’s seemingly dead body, floating in the water below. They alert the others, who find Skip’s knife. During a search in the woods, a booby trap leaves Arch dangling upside down from a tree with a poisonous snake snapping at his body. With Skip and Arch now missing, the friends call the constable but the phone is out of order. Muffy makes tea to calm everyone’s nerves, but when the plumbing malfunctions, Hal and Nikki walk to the well to get water. The bucket becomes detached and Nikki climbs down the well to retrieve it. When she falls, the bodies of Skip and Nan float to the surface. As she screams, Hal rescues her. Although the friends suspect the ferryman is acting out some sick form of revenge, the constable’s telephone call lets them know that he has been at the hospital with Buck. Constable Potter advises them to stick together in the house until he launches a flare by the dock as a signal to meet him. As Kit secures the windows in Mr. St. John’s study, she notices a photograph of twin girls. Hal tells the group he overheard Nan being upset with Muffy about being reminded of an abortion by an object she found in her room. Hal admits to being jumpy about finding the newspaper articles in his room but denies causing a car accident. Meanwhile, the women claim Muffy has been acting strange all day, and has refused to stay with the group, preferring to retire to her bedroom. Nikki and Chaz follow her upstairs, while Rob stands watch in the attic where he can better see the constable’s arrival. Hal offers to stand guard on the staircase. Upstairs, Nikki dashes around, packing her bag while Chaz tries to calm her. He wears a leather mask, hoping to humor her, and reclines on the bed. When Nikki returns she informs Chaz that he is not amusing only to discover he has been murdered, and his lower extremities appear severed. In the attic, Kit and Rob find a group of dolls, representing the friends who have been murdered. Rob tells Kit the constable said not to trust Muffy, but did not explain what he meant. They go downstairs when they hear the constable, but discover Chaz and Nikki’s bedroom is a bloodbath, and Hal has been hanged. Rob and Kit race out of the house, looking for help. At the dock, they find the St. John’s motorboat, but no key. They find a letter warning that a Miss St. John escaped from a mental institution and is considered unstable and extremely dangerous. They do not understand the letter because Muffy has been at college with them, but they return to the house to get the ignition key. They enter the house through the basement, and see a trail of blood on the floor. They find Muffy’s clothes in the furnace, and her severed head. They see a Muffy and Buffy growth chart on the floor, and realize the letter was a warning about Muffy’s twin sister. In the kitchen, they cannot find the boat key. Meanwhile, Buffy, pretending to be Muffy, arrives at the kitchen door with a huge knife. Rob is trapped in the pantry while Buffy chases Kit into the dining room, where she pleads for her life. Then, Kit pushes open the sliding door to the living room, and sees all her friends alive. Buffy, who is really Muffy, demonstrates that the knife is a fake and has a retractable blade. The friends all laugh, and scream "April Fool’s." Meanwhile, Buck appears in the pantry, removes his bloody facial makeup, and plants it on Rob’s face. Rob runs to the living room, and discovers the others. Muffy thanks everyone for being great sports, and explains that the weekend is a dress rehearsal that will allow her to keep the house. When she inherits the property, she will be able to maintain it as a country inn, specializing in once-in-a-lifetime-who-done-it weekends. While sister Buffy is imaginary, Muffy’s twin is actually Skip. She reveals Buck is a professional makeup artist, the constable is her uncle, Frank St. John, and Cal, the island ferryman, was in on the joke. Muffy hands each friend a bottle of champagne and a celebration begins. Later, Muffy returns to her room drunk, and finds a present on her bed. Inside, she finds her childhood Jack-in-the-box. She cranks the handle until a harlequin is released. At the same moment, Nan sneaks from behind, and slits her throat. Muffy screams until Nan shows her the knife and blood are fake. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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