World's Funniest Critic - The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
Although my college dorm didn't drip blood, the guy I shared a bathroom with did. Actually, it trickled more than it dripped, and it wasn't the right color for blood. The first time I saw the stuff, it looked little more than a puddle of some thin, cream-based soup. A chowder, perhaps a bisque, with little chives in it. When I asked my roommate about it, he said that all he really knew was that it tasted kind of salty and he was scooping about a spoonful of it out of his bellybutton every couple of hours.
Though I didn't like where the stuff came from(or who it came from, for that matter), I tried not to worry about it. Whatever it was, it seemed harmless enough. I just had to remember to wash the stuff away before I stepped in the shower every morning. Eventually, though, the bottoms of my feet began to peel and blister, and a crust formed around the drain that proved resistant to all store bought acids that were available (in Fort Collins, at least, a pretty soft city for Colorado).
My dorm was pretty interesting, really. It was the building where they stuck all of the foreign kids. About half of the immigrants were Chinese boys who were too timid to look you in the eye, while the other half was South American girls who weren't afraid to put their tongue in places usually reserved for bowel evacuation. So, I could always get help with my math homework, although it was hard to pay attention when I knew Carmen Dominguez was all alone in her room(hopefully eating hot peppers).
I was a freshman, who, for some reason, was thought to belong somewhere in between those two demographics(which one I was closer to being, I'm still not sure of). During Halloween week, the American half of the dorm's population hung up pictures of famous serial killers in the hallway. I stuck up a photo of Vanilla Ice.
Two major events threw the dorm into a buzz that year. The first was when some guy posted photocopies of his reproductive organ all over the place. It was pretty impressive, ten inches or so, and right underneath, written in sloppy magic marker, was his cell phone number. The Chinese kids, for obvious reasons, had no idea what it was. They simply had no frame of reference, although their minds probably swirled with theories. I think they, finally, decided it was some kind of eel, ready for chopping and woking. I wonder if it made their mouths water.
I did have a frame of reference, however. Back in high school, a guy of similar biological fortune(a football player, of course), used to enjoy swinging his thingy from side-to-side so it could take a peek all the way around his waist, while spraying us with greenish urine like some circus trick shot, forcing everyone into the kneeling duck-and-cover position. It was less a penis, really, than some kind of gross animal sidekick you'd see on a Saturday morning cartoon.
This brings us to the second noteworthy incident, which occurred at the tail-end of the school year, which is known, nowadays, as The Columbine Massacre. Littleton, Colorado was just a pleasant chitty-chitty-bang-bang away from our campus, and someone I knew made mention of a huge ruckus he'd witnessed as he passed through that neighboring town. He said that 50-60 kids were dead in Littleton, and the killers were these two nerdy types who wore all black and had remote control helicopters with real missiles built on them. One morbidly obese student, a guy who was just doused in denim, sporting a cowboy hat and leather boots, too(a sophomore in the agriculture department), said that he'd heard the killers were Jewish extremists, and that today was some kind of Yiddish holiday when the Jews made symbolic sacrifices to their tentacled goat god. I think some of this stuff turned out to be untrue.
I quickly discovered that Colorado was no place to be a weirdo. Woe to those people who, for some reason, expressed their self-avowed individuality by dressing up Goth-style, for they would be on the receiving end of many a chicken-fried knuckle sammich, with a steel-toed boot to the belly and a 'Yeeehah!' for an appetizer. The campus was unsafe for the time being, but that just made it all the more adventurous. Particularly, those dark stacks in the library's bottom floor, where anything could be waiting to thump you one.
Anyway, when a movie opens up showing a title card that contradicts the title written on the box and poster, you know that you are in for something very special. And I was not disappointed with the first scene, which features some stellar conversation between lead character Joanne and her boyfriend Tim. I'm not certain about every word, though. It opens with our protagonist and her beau seated on a couch, awaiting the director's cue, smack dab in the heart of what must have passed for a party in 1982(but looks more like 1977).
Hey, why don't we get up from this couch
and walkaway, now.
Far out, man.
Okay, but I don't want to get caught up in
another one of those conversations that
sums up our whole lives in just a few minutes.
Okay, so nothing about our unsatisfactory
relationship. Got it. Remind me, again,why
you are staying at school while everyone
else is leaving? I know we've been discussing
this for four weeks now, but for some reason,
the night before vacation, I can't remember.
Jeeze! What's with your memory, Tim? Is
it the quaaludes?
It's possible. Assuming you could still
get quaaludes in 1982, which is now.
Oh Tim! The school is closing down
this hall, silly, so me and a few other
students are going to be irresponsibly
left behind, without oversight, to
clean it out and sell off the furniture.
It's pretty much the best idea, ever.
Hey, I just know you're gonna have a
great time. I'm gonna go hang out now
with my friend who looks like he may be
yet another far less talented younger
brother of John Belushi.
Okay, and I'll wander around and have
short conversations with everybody who is
involved, just as if I were introducing
them all to an invisible spectator.
Would you just go, already! Jesus
Christ! You're a fucking nightmare!
The motif of THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD is rather familiar. Isolated young people being smooshed by a deviant who's doing it for some reason that would leave Sigmund Freud scratching his noggin. One of the major differences between this, and most slashers to come, is the lack of sex as a precursor to a victim's demise. Fans of this will be sorely disappointed. There is one random pair of breasts in this film, but you pay a penalty for it when you have to see her disgusting boyfriend, who looks some white trashier half-brother of Kris Kristofferson, talking on the phone with his shirt off. But don't worry, there's plenty more to hate yourself for coming up.
We see the beautiful Daphne Zuniga, for the first time, I believe, in this film(I wish I could clone her, the only problem would be waiting 10 long years for her to mature). Zuniga is the star of one of my favorite films THE SURE THING, not to mention a long list of girly tv shows I couldn't watch all the way through if I were trapped under a boulder.
In a rather strange murder for a slasher film, Debbie(Daphne)faints after finding that her mom has been permanently Nyquilled by the killer, who then carefully backs over her with her parent's car while she's K.O.'ed on the cement. I found this a bit unrealistic, because if a 19-20 year old girl is safely passed out in front of most college age guys, killing her is probably way down their list of things to do with her. On a busier week, some fraternity would've built a booth around her and sold tickets to 'Debbiestock'. After all, there was no such term as 'date-rape' back then. If anything occurred within that gray area that's found between sexual battery and consensual sex, the girl was usually instructed to say the rosary and apologize to the boy's parents. Man, was I born too late.
I think if Debbie had not fainted and been murdered, she would have realized that with her parents out of her life, and their insurance money about to make her rich, things weren't half bad. That next semester she could be living off campus in her own apartment with a Pac-man machine and one of those new-fangled VTR home entertainment devices.
The movie tries to distract you from figuring out who the murderer is by throwing a decoy killer at you, some creepy guy who's hanging around the dorm, but isn't a student. If you are well past potty training, you won't fall for this. Just keep your eyes on the prize, my friend, and you'll be okay. Keep them trained on one of the two ridiculously obvious suspects, one of which gets painted in blood early in the film.
Did you know Bruce Willis was dead before the end of the THE SIXTH SENSE? If so, you will probably figure this mystery out during the opening credits, which flashes the film title PRANKS. This is, really, just another clever ploy by the filmmaker. He thinks if you easily figure out who the killer of PRANKS is, you will be surprised when the killer of THE DORM THAT DRIPS BLOOD is revealed. Does that make sense to you? If it does, holy shit are you crazy.
Although the film opens with a rather interesting shot of a hand being split lengthwise by a huge knife, don't expect to see too much more of that, later on. Most of the good murders don't happen on screen. When Debbie's head gets crushed under the wheel of her dad's car, it's not shown, but implied by off-camera sounds of 'daphne-splutter'. When Patty(did I mention her? who the fuck cares)is shoved in a pressure cooker by the killer(while another student is, actually, STILL THERE WITH HER, making it not such a leap of faith to pin him as the murderer), her death is, like Debbie's, implied with foley sounds of steamed rice being prepared for someone's General Tso's Chicken dinner.
Okay, so you don't get to see any gore, but you do get to see the terrible things that a baseball bat can do to a roasted Cornish hen. Believe me, it ain't pretty. There is no trick photography evident when the killer beats the shit out of the group's late supper. It's shocking, and it's REAL.
What have I learned from THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, you may ask? Well, to put it succinctly, without exaggeration, I learned how to love again. I think I understand now, the importance, and incalculable worth, of every human being on Earth not involved in the making of this film. It reawakened my appreciation for the whimsical, often comical, consequences of creating in a collaborative art form other than this film. When people come together, work together, respect each other, great things can happen.
Great things like World War 2 - probably the best war ever made; Football - a great way to ensure the streets are safe for a couple hours a week, while I go to the bookstore; Gang Bangs - something almost as fun to watch as it is to participate in(does anyone know where these things happen? Seriously, just give me one solid lead and I'll never bother you again, I swear).
Yes, I put DTDB inthe same category as all of these terrific things, and I offer no apologies for it. What stands this film apart from them, however, is that it's simply impossible to improve upon. No matter how much better you can make the picture or sound quality, through computer enhancements, etc., I doubt you'll ever notice any qualitative difference in the experience of viewing it. But if you are ever forced to choose between watching this and having your legs torn off by a giant, just remember how much you need your legs to get home.
I highly recommend this film, in much the same way that I used to highly recommend friends double-bag their peenoids with Carmen Dominguez.