Which means that since they aren't a dime a dozen I clearly have spent a veritable ass load of dollars and cents on a stack of Nasty Videos that a group of British people who called themselves mediawatch-uk (formerly the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association) found unpalatable. Seriously, I live in Southern California. What's the connection, man?
Who knows? I'm educated, well read and appreciate the finer things in life, but man do I love these movies! I'm reminded of when I started getting heavily into The Beatles (when I was like 11) and I began singing "I am the Walrus". Upon hearing this, my Dad exclaimed "Oh, wonderful! We spend thousands of dollars on Education and now he's the EGG MAN!?" Yes, Dad... after hundreds of thousands on education I'm reviewing The Dorm that Dripped Blood!
Education isn't much of a theme in this film, in spite of the collegiate setting. The Dorm that Dripped Blood resembles Black Christmas in that the story takes place over a holiday break while a murdering psycho decides to get busy with the hacking and the killing and the running and the screaming. This time out, the unseen killer is taking advantage of the fact that this particular dorm is closing forever and will be bulldozed soon rather like the hospital I was born in. (Just kidding... That place is a women's prison now!)
While her boyfriend takes a weekend out with the dudes, Joanne (Laura Lapinski) stays behind to close out the dorm and finalize the surprising final duties before the Vogon Construction Fleet shows up. Luckily she's got four friends who are hanging out to help her. Unluckily one of the four (Debbie, as actually played by Daphne Zuniga) flakes on her and heads out to do some depressing family stuff, leaving Joanne to fend for herself, along, of course, with Craig (Stephen Sachs), Brian (David Snow) and Patti (Pamela Holland). Even less luckily there's a serial killer on the loose who has a serious mad-on for Daphne Zuniga. Must not be a Spaceballs fan.
Soon the unseen killer is making "dorm food" out of the dorm denizens and just about everybody around them. The question of the identity of the killer baffles the "finals week four". It could be the vaguely creepy (and balding) Bobby Lee Tremble (Dennis Ely) who may just have free access to the dorm because he's buying their left over items of furniture at closeout rock bottom prices, so cheap the college is practically giving 'em away! Even more likely is the really creepy (and balding) John Hemmit (Woody Roll) who never left the closing dorm and keeps peeking in through the window at the chicks. Or... did any of the other dormies stay behind too, hunting students like a a Hillbilly after dinner squirrels.
Short commentary: Aren't there six packs to guzzle and panties to raid? What kind of College is this, man? Seriously! MURDER? That's not what College is about! I'm almost 88% sure of that. (I drank a... lot in College, you see, and some memories are a... little cloudy. I'm hoping the unexplained tattoos are the extent of it.)
Any way you slash it (oh, I've used that one already, haven't I?) the bodies just keep piling up in gory and graphically creative ways.
The title The Dorm that Dripped Blood is a reference to 1971's The House that Dripped Blood, but the UK title Pranks... makes... a vague amount of sense as well. Although somebody pulling a Fatal Attraction bunny rabbit on some guy's head seems to go a bit beyond "prank"... beyond hazing even.
Regardless, although Pranks (by any name) is pretty much a corn dog dime a dozen (see first paragraph) slasher flick were EVERYONE is a suspect, this isn't the worst, or the nastiest film on the Video Nasty List. It's not even the worst or the nastiest film on the list of 35 Secondary Video Nasties. This one isn't exactly a compelling mystery, but it is rather fun to figure out who the bad guy actually is. It's not the kind of mystery that has any real potential of making you feel smart or, even, well educated, but it also won't make you cry at the thought of where your 84 minutes (and $6.99) have gotten off to. Plus there is one really nice nude scene.
For those who love that "School" subgenre of slasher films like Black Christmas, The Slumber Party Massacre, Night School, Scream 2, Sorority House Massacre and that internet video of that "Star Wars Kid", put your brain on pause and get ready for some Pranks... even though I can't give it more than Two Stars out of Five! Hey, it might not make you feel like the smartest kid on the block and it might not have all the gratuities ever demanded by the Exploitation Quotient, but you also won't be screaming for your Anacin (with a TAB chaser) either. Like I did when I used to sniff Lemon Pledge in the Projection Booth back in College! But wait, it's okay, folks, it's okay, really! I worked there at the time!
Don't neglect your studies...
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