Friday, April 1, 2011


Pranks A.K.A. The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
Dir:Stephen Carpenter (The Kindred/The Power)

During the early 80's horror boom, slashers flooded the market and unfortunately with that craze came the repetitive routine of stalk and slash. This film sadly falls into that pile of slash by numbers genre and unfortunately this one just does not have the goods to make it stand out from the pack.
 Pranks starts off with a group of co-ed's that are preparing to help close up a Dorm over the break. Joanne and a few of her friends begin the cleaning when one of the girls has to leave early as her parents come to pick her up, The killing gets started pretty early as The girls parents are offed before the girl is knocked out and run over with her fathers car.Inside the house the rest of the bunch are enjoying some beers before calling it a night and they find that a strange man is spying on them. Apparently this guy is a homeless man that roams the area regularly named John. He continues to be seen lurking around the premises while the group continues the cleaning and discarding of property.The second night the girls once again spot John stalking and they split up to find him and give him a talking to.While the gang is looking through the house Joanne gets trapped in the elevator and after the maintenance man fixes the problem he is killed by a hooded figure with a drill.

" Looks like a scene from a really bad pop music video from the 80's"
 "Ah, The 80's when any bar chick could get a movie role for showing off their tits"
Later that night while the group prepares dinner someone sneaks in after stealing some of the food and smashes the table. The girls now scarred alert the police of the strange man who has been stalking them. When they return Joanna hears some odd noises coming from the roof and once again the guys split up. While the guys go searching for the suspect one of the guys Brian is stabbed in a dark stairwell, Meanwhile Joanne tries to call the police but the power is shut off. Craig and Patti head to the kitchen to look for a switch box and Craig is apparently knocked out while Patti is stuffed into a giant crock pot as the power is turned back on. Craig then returns to Joanne with out Patti and explains what had happened and that Patti is missing. Then we get a shot of John roaming the halls with a machete looking scarred and Joanne happens upon him when a chase begins, Though Craig is nowhere to be found. After Joanne hides from John she finds one of her friends bodies and strikes John with a blade as the cat and mouse game continues until Craig returns to fight John off. Joanne finally manages to get the best of John with a spiked Bat , then it is revealed to not much surprise that Craig is in fact the killer. Yet another game of cat and mouse begins this time between the crazed Craig and Joanne until Bobby Lee A  sleazy guy who was looking to have some late night drinks with Joanne shows up to attempt to make a save. Craig and Bobby fight it out and Bobby seems to have the upper hand when the police arrive. Craig being a smooth talker is able to convince the officers that Bobby Lee is the man responsible for the attack and Bobby ends up getting shot. While the Officers search the premises for victims, Craig carries Joanne towards a incinerator , and the last thing we see are police discussing their findings as smoke bellows out of the vents outside. Leaving us to wonder what exactly happened as Neither Craig nor Joanne are found by the Police.

The only real redeeming thing about this film is the twist ending and even that can be seen coming from a mile away, The film makes it too obvious that the guy you are supposed to think is the killer is not , putting way too much emphasis on his character. The open ending though is a nice touch and leaves you wondering what exactly happened? As for the rest of the film, as I stated it is pretty standard stuff, Group of kids being stalked by a madman , they split up, and get picked off one by one. this is nothing new to the genre but it can work when done well. I for one do not think that every murder has to be over the top gore and shock but none of the killings in this one were on screen and that really does hurt the film tremendously, I mean you are making a slasher film here there should be at least a few on screen slayings...Just saying. Even for the time this film came out it is really tame and in a time period where the slasher film was reigning supreme, thanks to the VHS boom and drive-in's You needed to do something to make your film stand out and this one just does not. I would however recommend it to retro horror fans and slasher completists because it does have it's moments but they are few and far between. This one is not awful it is just awfully forgettable.
Overall: 4 out of 10

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