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  • Writer's pictureKelly M. Hudson

Pranks that Drip Blood!

Joanne (Laurie Lapinski) and four other students are tasked with cleaning out an old dorm on their campus. The wrecking ball is coming for it after the school break so they need to get all the stuff out that is worth saving and be done with it. They have a week. In the ruins of the dorm, where they are all staying on the emptied campus, stalks a killer. One of the girls (Daphne Zuniga in an early role) has to bail early to leave with her parents, dropping the group down to four total; two girls, two guys. In the meantime, a weirdo is hanging around the building, taking stuff out of the dumpster and scavenging. One of the boys warns him off but the guy doesn’t seem to here. Bodies start dropping. Slowly but surely, the killer is knocking off the four members of the group, until only a couple remain. Who is the killer? Is it the weirdo hanging around, Joanne’s estranged boyfriend, or is it one of the four? Joanne finds out, in the worst way possible…

The Dorm That Dripped Blood is a pretty early slasher in the cycle and has some great moments. The killing at the beginning is really brutal, where our psycho bashes a man’s head in with a baseball bat embedded with nails, chokes a woman to death, and uses a car to run over the head of another girl (the sickening crunch is so authentic that they don’t even need to show the crushed head to have an effective gross-out!). This killer works with what he’s got. Later he takes a drill to the back of someone else’s head and it’s pretty damned brutal. It is scenes like those that gives the film a dirty reputation and I longed for more, but a low budget will keep you in constraints as a filmmaker. The movie itself is just fine, the characters are interesting enough, and we’re dealing with upperclassmen here, almost adults, so it doesn’t feel like most slasher films, where it’s high school kids or teens getting the ax. It is interesting to note the prominent display of the Gay Pride rainbow flag in one scene and a rainbow on the wall in another, both scenes dealing with Joanne. Is this a clue to her character (and thus her boyfriend problems) or a shout-out from the filmmakers? I don’t know, but it was pretty cool, nonetheless. My only real complaint is the middle section, where there’s lots of stalking and no slashing, tons of ominous music and shadowy threats, but nothing really happens. They should have thrown a few more characters into the mix, to up the body count. This is a slasher, after all, and I’m there for the blood and carnage, not the attempts at suspense. Mine is a minor complaint, because overall, the movie rocks, coming close to running off the rails in all the best ways, but not able to fully commit to the insanity. The ending, however, will knock your dick into the dirt (or kick you straight in the tits, whichever works for you). Talk about a downer. I liked that they had the courage to pull it off and go for it. I won’t spoil it, but damn.

This is an above-average entry into the slasher cycle. It’s not top-tier but it comes close. The gruesome deaths alone warrant giving this one a watch, but the tone of the picture is fairly grave and unforgiving. It doesn’t get as dark as say, Texas Chainsaw, but it flirts with the edges of it, especially in that ending. I’m really surprised no sequels were made. So if you’re looking for a good slasher that generally goes underneath the radar, give this one a spin. You’ll have a bloody good time!


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