A Sci-Fi Honey April Fools List by Katie
Today is April Fools’ Day; the day when pranksters and bullies alike gleefully indulge in their trickster fantasies with an excuse that it’s all in good fun, under the guise of a questionably mean-spirited national holiday. That being said, there are plenty of times before and after April 1st that teens attempt cruel and shortsighted pranks that go horribly awry, usually resulting in the premise for a good revenge-slasher flick. To celebrate today’s Day of Fools, let’s take a look at the 10 horror movie pranks that have led to some unfortunate (and unforeseen) consequences – usually resulting in the demise of the practical joker, and anyone else who gets in the way of the prank victim’s fiery path to retribution. Here’s hoping this list will make YOU think twice about whom to make the butt of your tomfoolery today.
** Warning: Spoilers Ahead! **
10. April Fool’s Day (1986)
The Prank: Of course no prank movie list would be complete without mentioning the one that centers around this holiday of hijinks. A group of teens are invited to the sprawling mansion of their rich-girl schoolmate, only to encounter a whole slew of gags planted around the house – from the silly (a whoopee cushion) to the sinister (a decapitated head).
The Consequence: This film is low on the list because of what all these pranks ultimately amount to; let’s just say, it’s not the slasher movie you may have been hoping for. Still, points for setting the film on/around the titular day of tricks, when it can be difficult to know what’s real and what’s merely an elaborate joke at your expense.
9. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
The Prank: In the ‘School Bus Massacre Revisited’ segment of this anthology film, a group of trick-or-treaters out to make some mischief on Halloween night take neighborhood weirdo-savant Rhonda to the scene of a grisly vehicular manslaughter. After telling the story of a bus driver who drowned a group of developmentally disabled children, the pranksters pretend to be the undead victims, rising from the lake to attack poor Rhonda.
The Consequence: Joke’s on them; the undead children really DO rise from the lake, and proceed to attack and slaughter the pranksters – as Rhonda saunters away unscathed.
8. Joy Ride (2001)
The Prank: On a cross-country road trip, Lewis (Paul Walker) and his scamp of a brother, Fuller (Steve Zahn), trick a long-haul truck driver over a CB radio into believing that he’s going to have a romantic rendezvous with a gal named ‘Candy Cane’ (aka, Paul Walker donning a girly voice).
The Consequence: The truck driver (CB handle: ‘Rusty Nail’) was fully expecting to get it on with Candy Cane after a long night on the highway, and does not take kindly to being made a fool of. The rest of the film follows Lewis and Fuller as they drive for their lives to escape the nasty road retribution of Rusty Nail.
Bonus prank: Rusty Nail demands that the brothers strip naked and walk into a crowded restaurant as part of their comeuppance, which is a great delight to both the truck stop patrons as well as the audience.
7. Urban Legend (1998)
The Prank: We’ve all heard this (ultimately false) warning from law enforcement: if you see someone driving around at night with their headlights off and you flash your brights to alert them, they’ll straight-up murder you as part of a gang initiation. Teenaged Natalie (Alicia Witt) and her high school BFF test this rumor by aggressively pursuing the first car that flashes their brights at them, inadvertently running him off the road and killing him.
The Consequence: The ill-fated victim of their prank happened to have a psychotic girlfriend at the time, who subsequently followed Natalie to college and slaughtered all of her friends by reenacting other well-worn urban legends. Surprise! Major props to this killer for sticking to her theme and pulling off some elaborately detailed revenge murders.
6. Jawbreaker (1999)
The Prank: A trio of pre-Mean Girls ‘Plastics’ kidnap their girlfriend and gag her with a jawbreaker, binding her and duct taping her mouth shut before tossing her into the trunk of their car. Sounds like good clean fun, right?
The Consequence: Wrong. Poor popular Liz has swallowed the jawbreaker in terror, obstructing her windpipe and causing her to choke to death while rolling around in the back of the car. The rest of the film follows her clique’s desperate attempts at covering up their fatal prank, complete with cat-fighting, backstabbing, and a revenge-fueled reveal set at (where else?) the Prom.
5. Sorority Row (2009)
The Prank: While the original 1983 film also began with a prank (on the sorority’s house mother), the 2009 remake is a witty and worthy predecessor whose opening-scene prank on a fraternity bro is sure to drop a jaw (and break one). A college coed (Audrina Patridge) enlists her sorority sisters to help fake her own death to get back at her philandering boyfriend, and something goes wrong when they “pretend” to dump her lifeless body in a well.
The Consequence: Thinking that her lungs need to be punctured so her body won’t float to the surface, philandering boyfriend stabs a tire-iron through his girlfriend’s chest… killing her for real. When someone comes back to terrorize all of sorority row with said tire iron, all hell breaks loose – in a deliciously campy, gloriously gruesome way.
4. Terror Train (1980)
The Prank: Arguably the most disgusting and cruel trick on this list, Terror Train’s pranksters are members of a pre-med fraternity who think it would be funny to fool awkward, dorky pledge Kenny into thinking he’s going to score with 1970s-era Jamie Lee Curtis.
The Consequence: Kenny instead inadvertently climbs into bed and “scores” with the med-school cadaver the fraternity planted there – and is so traumatized by the ordeal, that he’s committed to a mental institution. When he returns later to massacre members of the fraternity, who can really blame him?
3. Slaughter High (1986)
The Prank: Again, the perceived ‘nerd’ is picked on, this time at a high-school level. Marty (Simon Scuddamore) is continually tortured and abused by the popular kids, who do everything from public shaming, to sexual abuse, to poisoning, to rigging a science lab experiment to backfire in his face.
The Consequence: Marty is left horribly disfigured by the lab prank and is also committed to a mental institution, where he spends his days and nights fantasizing about executing murderous revenge on his high school tormentors. But is it just a fantasy…?
2. The Burning (1981)
The Prank: Cropsy is a put-upon caretaker trudging through a thankless job at a summer camp, victim of the boredom and maliciousness of adolescent campers. The teens leave a wormy skull with candles in the eyes by his bed and startle him from his sleep, hoping to get a rise out of watching him freak the fuck out.
The Consequence: Cropsy is so startled by the skull-candle that he accidentally knocks it onto his bed, setting the whole cabin (and himself) ablaze. Left physically and psychologically scarred by the incident, Cropsy heads back to camp – garden shears in hand – to give the campers their deadly comeuppance.
1. Carrie (1976)
The Prank: Carrie White might seem awkward and unassuming, but she’s the exact opposite of a person you’d want to mess with – whether you’re her sadistic bible-thumping mother, or the petty popular kids who think it would be funny to rig her to win Prom Queen before dousing her with a bucket of pigs’ blood on stage.
The Consequence: Carrie decides she’s had quite enough abuse, thank you, and turns the prom into a raging inferno of murder and destruction – before going home to crucify her mother with kitchen knives, naturally.
Which is YOUR favorite horror prank?
Tell Katie on Twitter: @moonrisesister