Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Bore That Dripped Cliche: "The Dorm That Dripped Blood" (1982)

In this dorky slasher hooey, half a dozen students must clean out an old college dormitory before it is demolished. One reviewer must clean out his eyes and ears before they are demolished by this film.

All the stock characters are here: heroine Joanne (Laurie Lipinski), smartass Craig (Stephen Sachs), hunk Brian (David Snow), insecure Patti (Pamela Holland), and red herring suspects Bobby Lee (Dennis Ely) and John Hemmit (Woody Roll).

Debbie (Daphne Zuniga, they all had to start somewhere) and her parents are the first victims of the unseen killer. The killer then plays hide and seek, cat and mouse, etc, with the cast. One by one, they end up missing until the killer's identity is revealed in a stunning moment that will ring through the ages as a pinnacle point in the art of film...or you know whodunnit if you pay mild disinterested attention to the movie.

Obrow and Carpenter even go through the old device of having the killer explain their motives for the spree, as if anyone but the surviving cast member cared.

The one plus I could find was the pretty good gore effects. The killings have a mean quality to them, from Debbie's death by being run over a few times, to the bloody climactic fight. Sex is kept to a minimum, we get to see a topless girlfriend of Bobby Lee's, but that's it. The film cannot even get exploitation elements down correctly. Another plus is that the killing does start almost immediately, as if the film makers were in a rush to grab the audience's attention. Holding the audience's attention should have been a concern.

"The Dorm That Dripped Blood" is so typical, and so bad, it is no wonder the makers of the "Scream" and "Scary Movie" series had such an easy time skewering the genre. (*) out of five stars.