Way back in the mists of time - back when the internet was pretty much in its infancy, and this site was just getting off the ground, there was plenty talk about lost slasher flicks from the golden age of the subgenre. Two titles kept popping up: SUMMERHOUSE SLAUGHTER and GORY GRADUATION.
As many of you know, the thrill is often in the chase - and many a time those elusive slasher flicks fail to live up to expectations. However, these two slasher flicks proved to be more than a little elusive - in fact, they were not only impossible to find but even verify if they existed. Even as investigations continued - and it looked increrasingly likely that they were just hoaxes - it didn't stretch credulity too much to think that thee may have been films that only played at drive-ins in certain parts of the States (that certainly did happen), or perhaps they were made and never released (a surprising amount of films fall into distribution limbo every year, some never to reappear).
However, when the entries for SUMMERHOUSE SLAUGHTER and GORY GRADUATION disappeared off the IMDB.com it was widely decided that these were hoaxes after all, and the search for these slasher holy grails had well and truly ended - in disappointment. Some said that they were simply aka's of that other 'lost' slasher (one that did turn up) CHEERLEADER CAMP II (aka MILLENIUM COUNTDOWN).
But never say never: as you can see from the image above, a novelisation (by Randy Sykes) of GORY GRADUATION does exist, and below is an exlusive extract from that book! So, did the movie ever get made? That's one more mystery to unravel ...
Gory Graduation: Chapter 15
Sherri stood outside the gym hall, staring up the steps towards the double doors. In one hand she absently twirled a handful of braids, the plastic beads clacking together – they had seemed like a good idea at the time: after all, if Bo Derek could work it she certainly could, but now they were just annoying her. In her other hand the graduation mortarboard hung limply against her black clad thigh.
Taking a few baby steps up towards the door, she glanced behind her at the late Summer afternoon. The sun was hazy, heading behind the gothic spires of St. Ham’s Hall. Off in the distance she thought she could hear Blondie wailing from a beatbox; nearby, some kids were tearing off towards the car park, their graduation robes fluttering like the wings of ravens. She watched Toni, Lupe and Joyce pull out of the lot in Toni’s beat up red Mustang; their mortarboards flying high above their heads. They’ll soon be heading to Mike’s post graduation party, she thought; a scowl appearing on her lips. I just need to get this over and I can join them.
'Oh, your hair is beautiful. Oh woah tonight … ATOMIC!'
'Should have stuck with that Farrah flick,' Sherri muttered to herself, before throwing the blonde braids over one shoulder, hitching up her robe and heading to the door. She paused at the Gothic arch, squinting through the dirty glass she could see down the corridor towards the changing rooms at the other end.
'That jerk had better have something good for me,' she hissed, the glass misting for a few seconds. Paul had promised to get her some good grass – preferably some classy Columbian. Boy, did she need it - her stash had run out last week. Tonight’s party would be no party at all if she couldn’t get her pals high, after all, how many times does a gal get to graduate? She allowed herself a smile; her blues eyes twinkled with the thought of the illicit pleasures that lay ahead. Sherri was still amazed she had graduated at all, and she was determined to party tonight like it was the last night of her life – and she made an instant resolution to free Brad of that jock strap once and for all!
Still, quite why Paul had insisted in meeting her here was another thing altogether. She reached into the pocket of her robe, taking out the folder bit of paper. She opened it up and took another look at the badly typed message: “Meet me at the gym. 4pm. Come alone – or else! Paul x”. She knew that hitting the reefer too much could make a geek paranoid, but this was something else – even for a weirdo like Paul!
'Come on girl, let’s get this over with'. Sherri pushed on the doors, and for a moment she thought they were locked. She gave another harder push, something clicked and they eventually creaked open. Slipping inside, she took one more look behind her across the yard; but no one seemed to be watching. The car park was empty; the kids dressed as ravens had finally flown the nest.
Just this one little blackbird left. Sherri never thought she’d be pleased to be wearing this shapeless tent of a robe, but the corridor was unusually cold despite weak sunlight streaming through oval windows high up on the right hand side of the corridor. She shivered a little and took off accross the highly polsihed floor, her sneakers making no sound at all. Part of her felt a little nostalgic, this was probably the last time she would ever be in the gym, but, if she were honest, she was never really going to miss the smell of disinfectant and sweat. Plus, she definitely wasn’t going to be sorry to see the last of Miss Trent – that dried up old fart could blow gym class out her ass for all eternity as far as she cared!
At the end of the corridor were the two doors, one to the boys and one to the girls’ changing rooms, both looking like they could do with a new coat of paint. She had half expected that moron Paul to come bursting out of the doors to the main hall. Despite herself she was feeling a little jumpy. Getting a few hits of grass shouldn’t be hard work for a girl, especially one who was ready to party her socks off. She looked at her watch: 4.05pm. Come on, Paul, where the hell are you?
'Paul?', she stage whispered. She waited for a reply but there was nothing but a muffled silence. What the hell, Sherri thought, what does it matter if I get caught in here? I mean, I do go to this high school - just about!
'PAUL!', she shouted. 'C’mon you ass! … What’s a girl got to do?!'.
A loud noise behind her made her jump. It came from the boy’s changing rooms.
'Paul?', Sherri whispered. 'You’re not going to garrote me with a jock strap are you?' Humor was the best way forward she thought, even if a psycho sex killer really was waiting for her, jock strap taught in his hands. If it was Brad holding the jock strap and nothing else then she could live with that! She pushed the door open and stared into this previously off bounds territory. Ahead, banks of lockers stretched down the far wall and round the corner towards what she guessed would be the showers, if it was anything like the girl’s changing rooms. Several of the doors hung open; their contents hidden in shadow. Overhead, strips of fluorescent lights gave everything a sterile and artificial look. She could see no one inside, but the sound had definitely come from inside here. Hadn’t it?
Sherri stepped inside, but held the door open behind her just in case … Just in case of what she wondered? She bit her bottom lip, holding her breath. 'Hey, ASSHOLE!' she bellowed; jumping, despite herself, at her voice echoing around the tiled walls. She squinted, taking a good look into the room - there was something on the floor at the far end of the room. As her eyes adjusted, she could slowly make out the shape of a box wrapped in pink ribbon bows. 'Brad?', she said. Could Brad being about to give her a graduation present? Was this all a set-up? Perhaps there’s going to be an orgy in the locker room. She felt her shoulders relax. 'C’mon boys, if it’s orgy time I’m your girl!', Sherri giggled and let the door go behind her.
With a swing in her step, Sherri marched across the room towards the box. She went to bend down to pick it up, but a metallic sounding noise caught her attention to her right. Leaving the box where it was she straightened up and looked towards the showers. Furrowing her brow, she squinted. A figure stood silhouetted in the shadows in the doorway; dressed in the same graduation robes as she wore. The figure didn’t move, the mortarboard turned downwards obscuring the face.
Sherri forced a smile. 'Brad?'. The figure didn’t move. 'Paul?,' she volunteered more weakly. Hating herself for it Sherri felt goose bumps spreading over her forearms. 'Look, this isn’t funny – whoever the fuck you are!,' she finally shouted, trying to sound more confident than she really felt.
The figure didn’t move. Sherri instinctively knew something was wrong; she took a couple of steps backwards, leaving the box where it lay. A brief flash of light caught her attention as the figure swung an axe from behind its back; the blade glinting dully under the strip lights. Sherri gasped, instinctively raising a hand to her mouth, as the figure raised its head to look at her – but there was nothing beneath the mortarboard but seemingly an impenetrable expanse of blackness.
Stifling a scream, Sherri turned on her heel. Without looking behind her she ran towards the corner, her heart feeling like it would burst from her chest. She grabbed the wall. With her robes flapping behind her she sprinted for the door out of the boy’s changing room; her sneakers finally making a sound as they smacked against the tiles. Ahead of her, two locker doors were open, like the eyes of a skull staring back at her. She must be hallucinating, there was a giant eyeball in one of the lockers - and it was weeping red.
That momentary slip cost Sherri dear. Her right foot somehow snagged the hem of her robes, and before she could stop herself she was hurtling to the floor. Managing to put her hands out in front of her, Sherri managed not to hit the bleached tiles full with her face, but the force of the fall winded her and sent her tumbling further towards the door.
From the corner of her eye she could see a gathering blackness behind her. Shakily she raised herself to her feet; her hands and wrists aching sharply. The door was her goal, but she found her feet firmly planted to the floor. Standing just a few feet from the open lockers she saw not a giant eyeball, but a head lying at an obscenely jaunty angle: the severed head of Brad. He stared back at her, with milky, sightless eyes. Blood and slivers of flesh were still slipping down the locker door below, but what Sherri couldn’t take her eyes off were the words, written in lipstick, on Brad’s waxy forehead: “Gory Graduation!”. Sherri soon got a closer look than she bargained for. The whistling breeze behind her was perversely refreshing for the fraction of a second before the blade of the axe hit the back of her neck. In a clean sweep Sherri’s head left her shoulders, somersaulting through the air; blood arcing in broad sweeps behind her like a sanguine ribbon. Before the life-force drained completely from her, she saw a gruesome montage of images: the figure in black, like an angel of death, slowly drop a gore soaked axe to its side; her own twitching body, flailing to the floor, with blood blossoming from the neck in lessening spurts. Sherri barely registered her head making that final flip, landing in the same locker as Brad. As she slipped into permanent blackness she felt Brad’s cold, dead lips touch hers.
Another chapter has been unearthed! Read it here.
Ok, I admit it this novelisation doesn't exist (except in my fetid and cheesy imagination!) - this is a little present for readers of the site - and a, ahem, novel way to mark our 8th birthday! Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did putting it together. Who knows, maybe I'll get around to finsihing the book one of these days ...
So, we can finally put the ghost of GORY GRADUTION to rest once and for all ... or can we?
Now, as for that SUMMERHOUSE SLAUGHTER pop-up book I have, that's an entirely different story! ;-)