The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)

Nothing at all wrong with a little “old school” slashing!

The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
Directed By: Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow

The Prologue
I, as many of you I’m sure, was excited to get a chance to take a look at the new blu-ray/dvd combo pack of The Dorm That Dripped Blood (aka Pranks) from Synapse. I had never heard of the film up until I saw the press release, and one great thing about Synapse is, even if the movie turns out not to be mind blowingly great, the set is still usually very much worth the purchase price alone. They take great care of what they put out, and the films are cleaned up very nicely. Thus is the case here in this bloody tale of kids getting off’ed at a college. It’s bloody and it’s very Giallo like..Argento should be proud (if he’s ever seen this).

The Movie
On the eve of Christmas vacation, a college dormitory stands condemned… the dark halls now vacant, and unsafe. Student Joanne Murray and her close friends volunteer to help close down the building, unaware a psychopathic lunatic is hiding in the shadows.  As the students disappear one by one, Joanne discovers the horrifying reality that if she is to survive, she alone will have to find a way to slay the brutal murderer. Synapse Films is proud to present THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD in a never-before-seen alternate version containing additional scenes, extended gore sequences and a different sound mix.  This transfer was created from the only existing 35mm answer print of the original “Directors’ Cut” entitled DEATH DORM, a version of the film thought to have been lost for over thirty year.

The film for sure is a bit of a throwback, very typical for it’s time, bit at the same time very missed today in the world of horror. Not just relying on blood, the film really sets up a “who did it” story that would remind you a great deal of the foreign Giallos of the decade before. While the slower pace will turn some away, if you have patience for your movie watching adventures, I don’t think you’ll have an issue at all with you see on the screen, even if at certain times the movie does show it’s age a tad bit too much. Then again, it’s a “who done it” that makes you question if Mr.Wes Craven might not have been a big fan of this movie.

While it’s not the all out gore fest that you might hope for. The film does indeed give you more than a couple memorable kills and natural effects to go along with them. Hands get sliced, people are drilled in the back of the head (perhaps the most memorable kill), and if you love that sorta stuff, as I do, then you will enjoy that when it happens. You just kinda wish at times that you did get a lot more of it. I also think any of you Halloween/Black Christmas fans will be happy to notice that it has a lot of the same classic slasher shots and mentality going on. Only you don’t know who the killer is at first, and you get a resolve to the whole thing by the end.

While the third act does seem to drag just a bit too long for my taste, I think the ending is actually a somewhat shocking one that won’t go over the heads of the audience. I also think it’s actually done in a very smart fashion. Also the very last few shots you see come across as somewhat shocking, sad, and a little funny all rolled into one. They don’t make them like The Dorm that Dripped Blood anymore, and after seeing this I’m sure you’ll agree that maybe they should. Some stuff kinda drags, but you get some nice gore and the characters aren’t that bad either. With the zillion slashers that came along in the 80’s, many got looked over and this was perhaps one. But now is as good a time as any to get familiar with it.

The Conclusion
Not the fastest moving movie ever, but it’s for sure not a waste. I’d call it perfectly acceptable and if you get the combo pack over at Synapse, you will get the best transfer the film has ever gotten along with some cool bonus features. If you like a faster pace, this one might not float your boat, but if you are already a fan of this movie or like stuff like Black Christmas, you should for sure check this one out.

The Rating (6.5/10)