Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Is the coach killing off the track team? Christopher George
GRADUATION DAY (1981). Co-writer/director: Herb Freed.

Laura, a pretty young runner on a high school track team, drops dead due to a blood clot and everyone somehow blames the pushy, hard-edged coach, George Michaels (Christopher George). This includes Laura's sister, a Navy ensign named Anne (the strangely-named Patch Mackenzie). Well, someone is sure pissed off about Laura's death because the other members of her team start being killed off the day before their graduation. Suspects and other persons of interest include Anne's nasty stepfather, Ronald (Hal Bokar); the obnoxious principal (Michael Pataki); Laura's sensitive boyfriend, Kevin (E. Danny Murphy); Officer McGregor (Virgil Frye); "Blondie," the Principal's assistant (E. J. Peaker); Inspector Halliday (Carmen Angenziano); and the weird Mr. Roberts (Richard Balin). Although there is some attempt to create a few interesting characters and a minor kind of sub-text, Graduation Day is a depressing and unpleasant movie with mostly unlikable characters; even the cops could care less about the teens' disappearances. The murder scenes are handled without any special flair, and the pace is too slow to create any suspense. The actors are professional enough, with special mention to Patrick Wright as a sleazy truck driver and Linnea Quigley as the "sluttish" gal who has sex with a professor. "Graduation Day Blues" is sung by a guy who seems to be doing an Elvis Presley voice impersonation. Herb Freed was also responsible for Haunts, which was slightly better than this. Remade in 2015.

Verdict: Minor-league slasher film. **.


angelman66 said...

Did Christopher George ever make a good movie? I only remember him as the hubby of blond TV game show celebrity Lynda Day George...and of course from his revealing early 1970s Playgirl shoot. Good-looking man, but what was his claim to fame?

William said...

I think he was the star of a show called "The Immortal," in which a wealthy man has underlings chase after him because there's something special -- "immortal" -- about his blood. The show didn't last long, however.

Anyway, I think George was the star of it?

Gary R. said...

Prior to "The Immortal," Christopher George starred in the World War II action series, "The Rat Patrol," which ran for two seasons, '66-68. The actor playing his Nazi adversary in the series was Hans Gudegast, before he changed his name to Eric Braeden ("The Young and the Restless").

William said...

Yes, I remember "Rat Patrol" but forgot George was in it. And certainly forgot about Eric Braeden being in it, although I knew he used to be Hans Gudegast. he found long-lasting soap success on Y&R.

Thanks for the info, Gary!