Not Making School Any Easier – The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)

The Dorm That Dripped Blood, also known as Pranks and once upon a time as Death Dorm in its original uncut form, is a slasher that is remarkable for its ending as well as being banned and making the Video Nasties list back when it was still in full force. Though it does seem quite tame compared to the horror films being released currently, it still features quite a bit of blood and some very violent murders by a killer that remains unknown until the final act of the film.

One could say that if you have seen one slasher you have seen them all, but if there is one thing a person could definitely say about this genre or any other, it is that sometimes a film can surprise the viewer and that is just what this particular movie does. There are of course, all the same tropes one expects to see in such a movie as this like the faceless killer and a slew of bodies piling up. The makers of the film even throw in a red herring in the form of the older guy hanging about the school whom the young lady named Joanne is quite wary of, a girl who is thrust into the center of the entire affair through no fault of her own and who it becomes known, is the object of the killer’s affection. What sets this apart is the killer’s creativity in his kills, if one can call it that, though in the movie most of the murders that are committed are simply victims of opportunity and done away with whatever is at hand. A power drill to the head is quite vicious as is the use of a pressure cooker and then there is making do with good old strangulation which might not be new in any way, but it is a classic way to go and it always looks horrific when done properly, which in this film it was.

What most will enjoy best of all though is the ending. It almost comes out of nowhere and does so without apology. With the killer desperate and nearly out of options, with the heroine unconscious and unable to do anything while the police close in, writers and directors Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow, with a little help from Stacey Giachino on the script do the unthinkable and create not only a horror movie, but one with an actual ending that can be called horrific and not because of what they show, but what they do not. There are few films that feature a payoff such as this and the ones that do are better for it, bucking the trend where the killer is killed or captured and with the hero standing tall. Here, things are left wide open and it gets the audience thinking of just what could happen if the film were to continue of if a sequel were to manifest, of which none ever did.

Starring Laura Lapinski, Stephen Sachs, David Snow and Daphen Zuniga, The Dorm That Dripped Blood stands out from the pack with some kills that shock and a conclusion that proves there is still room to innovate and to keep the audience guessing throughout.

3.5 out of 5

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