Pranks (aka The Dorm That Dripped Blood, Death Dorm) (Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow, 1982) – Part 1 in a series of collaborative Love/Hate Reviews

posted in: Duane, Jocelyn, Joint Review, Review | 0
We thought that doing Love/Hate reviews might be something fun and challenging for us to take on but our tastes are so similar that the idea pretty much fizzled out as fast as it came. As luck would have it, it reared its head organically when we decided to watch this. We took it as a sign that we may have let a good thing slip through our fingers, so without further ado – our first entry into an ongoing series of bad-attitude reviews.
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A group of college students prepare an old dorm building for demolition over the Christmas holiday, but are stalked and killed off one by one by a mysterious killer. Could it be the “weird-looking guy with the fuzzy hair” on a Doritos-fueled spree of HATE, or is something more sinister afoot?
Duane: Ok first off, I want to reassure any fellow Xmasophobes that this really isn’t a Christmas-themed movie. I think you maybe see two strings of lights and they mention the holidays near the beginning of the film, so no need to avoid it based on that fact (this is important to people like me).
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Originally landing itself on the BBFC’s Video Nasty list, Pranks was never prosecuted and was removed some time thereafter. There never seems to be any rhyme or reason as to how those stuffy limey fucks operated, but this film does have a few wonderfully nasty little scenes in it that would probably make your Grandma shit her diaper.  We’re talking some pretty standard 80s slasher fare here; students getting stalked and butchered by an unseen assailant, dispatched in a different way every time. The gore is quite good (in fact the drill sequence rivals some of those in Driller Killer, which is high praise indeed) and the kills are pretty mean-spirited and brutal for the most part (stupid boiler pot scene notwithstanding). Unfortunately the film is devoid of sleaze/nudity save for one pair of tits.

Daphne Zuniga (The Fly II) makes her screen debut before becoming more well known as the uber-squinty Jo Reynolds on the original Melrose Place(and if you hated her in that, you will certainly enjoy her fate here).
Jocelyn:  Oh my God, Duane! There’s no fucking need to even mention that it’s supposedly Christmas in this movie; if you blink you won’t even realize. This fucking thing actually hurt to watch. I turned it off 3 times and kept having knock-down/drag-out fights with myself to finish it. I shouldn’t have to open a bottle of wine to get through a fucking slasher film.
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Wait. You said the gore is ‘quite good’? You mention Driller Killer in the same sentence as this atrocity? Sometimes I wonder how you sleep at night lying to these good people like that. There are some *okay* effects and by that I mean one tepid drill-kill and a decent hand-slice, but the rest of the deaths aren’t really seen or are of the totally mundane kind. Oh no! Someone is getting hit with a bat in the dark! Clutch at your pillow as someone disappears! Bite your nails in terror as someone is choked from behind and they show you 3 seconds of it!

I made it a point to make sure that I had the UNCUT version of this although for the life of me I can’t figure out what’s so god damned vicious about it. I am totally convinced that the movies that made it on the Video Nasty list were all funded by the BBFC because creating buzz about them was the only way some of these flicks were getting seen; Pranks is certainly no exception.

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D: That bat scene was pretty brutal. I love how he just keeps braining the guy over and over and over.  And to be fair it was a SPIKED bat, making it an improvised morning star, thank-you-very-much (who says all those years playing Dungeons & Dragons were a waste?). And backing over that bitch’s head with the car? Classic. It’s not a gore film by any stretch but it’s certainly a step up from a lot of the neutered fare that was shit out at the time.

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What was with all the rainbow flags strewn about? I’m not entirely sure if it was some sort of gay pride message or what but they seemed oddly out of place in an old run-down dorm office. Also of note (and I refuse to spoil it) was the way the film ended. It certainly isn’t your typical “let’s get the survivors some coffee outside the ambulance while the police show up and the killer’s body has disappeared” type of thing. I thought it was very refreshing and kind of bleak. I would recommend this film to slasher fans, without a doubt.
J:  I swear to God I don’t remember seeing any of that. Granted, blood was shooting out of my eyes and I was chugging wine and popping roofies, but neither of the kills you mention do I even remotely recall. I was watching a vhs rip that was as dark as Gacy’s crawlspace, so I think that hindered what small enjoyment I may have gleaned from those scenes.
The whole god damn story is awful! They throw five characters in a situation (characters that have no personalities and are as interesting as a sack of doorknobs) that you don’t know so the last thing that you can do is give a shit about what is happening to them. The movie just *starts* as if you’re supposed to know and care about these dolts. Why did they focus so much on the main chick’s inability to make a decision about living with her boyfriend?! She kept talking about it over and over again; SHUT THE FUCK UP! Why is the movie called “Pranks” when there aren’t any fucking pranks in the whole movie?! (Oh, wait! A guy throws a fake spider in some eggs! Of course it makes sense to title the film after that millisecond of action!)
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What was with the clandestine late-night call from sleazy guy who leaves his little-titty girlfriend? It had nothing to do with the rest of the movie, he just showed up alone at the end to fight the killer, WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT FUCKING CALL?! The big “reveal” at the end made no fucking sense! I hate it when movies do that!

Spoiler!!!
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I fucking hated this god damn movie so much that I wish I could kidney punch every actor in it repeatedly for the duration of the run-time. Oh my god! I forgot to go off about the fuzzy-haired “weird” guy! Fuck it! I’ve wasted enough time on this piece of shit. May the cast and director of this movie endure a long, painful bout of gonorrhea. FUCK YOU, Pranks! You suck so much shit through so many tubes!

Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
Duane:
Jocelyn:
(only because Duane refused to revise the ratings scale to include negative numbers!)
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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