April Fool's Day soundtrack

April Fool’s Day (Expanded 2LP Deluxe Edition Review)

Back in the 1980s, Horror film’s theatrical posters and VHS covers immediately drew in your attention. Creative and inventive, most utilized some nifty little trick that made them stand out. That in mind, perhaps the most captivating in the crowd was 1986’s April Fool’s Day. Relatively simplistic in nature, the unforgettable image is of a smiling group of college kids sitting together at a table with their host raising a toss to the celebration… although unbeknownst to them concealed behind her is a knife in her left hand, and a hair braid in the shape of a noose draped down her back. Nothing less than engaging, this imagery burns into your brain as both clever, yet a little disturbing. They always say to never judge a book by its cover, but how did this film hold up against the actual cover? Depending on who you ask, April Fool’s Day was a bit of a different type of Slasher from others being released at the time, but also quite memorable. 

A major studio film, released through Paramount Pictures, April Fool’s Day had a relatively substantial budget with around $5,000,000 to work with. Offering an upper hand, it also featured a talented cast of rising actors and actresses such as Amy Steel (coming off her standout performance in 1981’s Friday the 13th Part 2), Deborah Foreman (who won over hearts in 1983’s Valley Girl), Deborah Goodrich (recognized from 1985’s laugh riot Just One of the Guys), Clayton Rohner (also from Just One of the Guys, as well as 1986’s Modern Girls), along with Thomas F. Wilson (famously known as Biff Tannen from 1985’s mega hit Back to the Future). Just only a portion of the talented, recognizable cast, the film also featured a stupendous creative team behind the lens; this included Fred Walton (who wrote and directed 1979’s When A Stranger Calls) acting as director, Danilo Bach (the writer of 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop) as the screenwriter, Charles Minsky (who worked on everything from 1990’s Pretty Woman to 1991’s Dutch) acting as the cinematography, and Frank Mancuso Jr. (responsible for the production of numerous Friday the 13th sequels) on as producer.

All very impressive credits, bringing it all together, like any Horror film, was a rock-solid soundtrack. An aspect which makes or breaks the tension, but also the peaks and valleys of a suspenseful scene, for April Fool’s Day call to bring it to life was made to iconic Charles Bernstein. Bernstein, an award-winning soundtrack composer associated with a list of projects, in the world of Horror cinema most recall his work on 1982’s The Entity, as well as 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Capable of pushing and pulling where needed to create a mood, Bernstein’s stylistic approach cements an emotion, especially in the case of April Fool’s Day.

One of the lasting highlights of April Fool’s Day all these years later, the original motion picture soundtrack was put out there in 1986; consisting of nineteen cues and runs, lasting for a little over thirty minutes. Fun enough for a movie soundtrack lover, then in 2015 Varèse Sarabande reissues it as part of their LP to CD subscription series. The first time it was ever available on CD format, now in 2024, Varèse Sarabande return with their latest, most exciting pressing of the April Fool’s Day soundtrack ever with a newly expanded 2LP deluxe edition.

Initially planned for a 2023 release, but pushed back, the new set arrived on April 24, 2024 through Varèse Sarabande and is rather expansive. Breaking it all down, you get the original 1986 soundtrack (presented in the easily recognized synthesizer format), but also the original 23-track orchestral film score, plus five previously unreleased bonus tracks out of Charles Bernstein’s own vault. Really a rather comprehensive presentation, this release marks the first time ever the original orchestral film score is available. A great collection to have, adding to it all, the handful of bonus cuts are also exceptionally ear-tingling.

Beyond all of this, you also are given a new set of well-written, stimulating liner notes drafted by Film composer Brian Satterwhite. All very pleasing for a collector and fan of April Fool’s Day, the other noteworthy detail is that while you can purchase this set as black vinyl pressing at select-retailers, there is also an opportunity to score a copy on Killer Crimson splatter vinyl exclusively at VareseSarabande.com… however it is highly limited to only 500 copies.  In all, if you are a soundtrack lover and enjoy the underappreciated April Fool’s Day, this is something you might seriously consider picking up. No jokes involved, Cryptic Rock gives the expanded 2LP deluxe edition of April Fool’s Day 5 out of 5 stars.

April Fool's Day soundtrack
April Fool’s Day Soundtrack / Varèse Sarabande (2024) 

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