Friday, July 13, 2018

Splatter University (1984)

There are few things about the 80s more true than the following:

1. Kids went to college.
2. Slasher movies happened - sometimes at colleges.

The topic of this week's B-Movie Enema is the 1984 slasher flick, Splatter University.  However, it's not really 1984.  The film was initially filmed in 1981.  When the runtime was only 65 minutes, they went back and filmed 13 more minutes in 1982.  So, really I guess this movie has three potential years of release.

And the movie REALLY struggles with the dimension of time - more on that later.

This movie has a marvelous Wikipedia page with the following factoid:  "The filmmakers were originally told they would have two weeks to shoot at Mercy College, but the school cut their time by a week, so many members of the crew wound up sleeping in the classrooms to ensure the film was finished. When students returned to school they were alarmed to find crew members cleaning up fake blood."

That's fantastic.  Imagine coming back to school at Mercy College, which Mark Zuckerberg is an alum, and just seeing these guys conspicuously mopping up puddles of blood everywhere.  Then you get a call from your doting mother asking you how your first day back to school was and you telling her that there was a fucking massacre on campus and guys were still cleaning up all the blood from it.

Anyway, Splatter University was distributed, for a time, by Lloyd Kaufman's Troma Entertainment.  I'm not sure exactly how to feel about that.  It's been a while since I visited a Troma film - the last being two years ago with Pot Zombies, the current "worst movie ever covered on B-Movie Enema" leader (no small feat I might add).  I want to give this at least somewhat of a benefit of the doubt just because this should have some super hot early-80s chicks in it, but is this going to be like the movie Mother's Day or is it going to be like Pot Zombies?

I'm almost scared what the answer is, but I guess there's only one way to find out, and that's to just crack this son of a bitch open.


The movie opens in a psych ward where someone has gone missing.  Thankfully, this place is real classy.  How do I know?  Because this guy is here:


Guys are just roaming around like zombies.  We have guys walking around playing with plastic cows.  There's one guy who was mentioned as trying to take a bath in a toilet.  Then one guy's roaming around picking his nose and eating the boogers.  While one of the doctors tries to find the missing nutso, Daniel Grayham, another searching the building finds him in a closet.  Grayham stabs the guy in the dick and kills him.  He then steals the guys clothes (still with a giant bloodstain over the dick area) and makes off for freedom.

That's it!  Opening over.  It's time to get to the opening credits with some kinda bitchin' synthwave music which makes me hopeful that I'm about to watch Blade Runner, but also sad because I'm about to watch Splatter University.

Three years later, at St. Trinians College, a teacher working late is attacked and stabbed in the boob.  I'm gonna guess it is Grayham because he stabs naughty bits.

So cut, now, to "The next semester.  Yesterday..."

Is...  Is this some kind of joke?  We started at the insane asylum.  Then jumped to three years later.  Now it is the next semester.  But...  Also yesterday?

So we're now what?  Three and a half, or possibly four years after the start of the movie?  Is it necessary to put the "Yesterday..." part in?  Could we just have picked up the following semester and say "Fuck off" to the yesterday bit?  I mean, like later put in "The next day..." if this is important, but really, is this a joke?  Is this supposed to be clever?  Or, no, maybe not clever, but cheeky?  Or possibly an out and out comedy?  I mean two people are dead by stabbings in the dick and the boob, so maybe it is supposed to be funny?

Movie, you're dangerously flirting with Pot Zombies territory.

Despite having a massive case of being unstuck in time since we've entered three different time frames in five minutes, I shall soldier on.  The newest teacher shows up and she's a fox.  Movie, you've started winning me back over.

Ms. Julie Parker (played by Forbes Riley) meets with Father Janson (Dick Biel - which sounds like something I wouldn't want my doctor to tell me I have).  He hires her on the spot...?  Or maybe she was assigned to the school and he was just now talking with her?  I don't know and I don't care.  I do know that he tells her that she's taking over the classroom that the lady got stabbed in the boob in and some kids tell spook stories about how it is cursed.  She seems a bit unnerved by that fact, but still accepts the job - probably because every horror movie needs to have its lead fox, and Forbes Riley is the lead star of the movie so, yeah, she takes the job of being the movie's lead fox.

Later that day, which might be tomorrow now.  Or possibly today.  I don't know, movie.  I'm seriously lost in some sort of strange time loop. Julie moves into her new home.  Someone knocks on her door, and she's greeted by Mrs. Bloom, the landlady, and she is kind enough to give us some exposition about the murdered teacher and other slayings going on around town.  Julie has met two older people in her new town, and both can't stop talking about murder.  I'm sure that has to sit well with this young, single lady who is absolutely brand new to town.

In another part of town - in what is likely another decade altogether - we meet the literal "meat" of this movie.  A bunch of kids are just hanging out in the parking lot of a burger joint drinkin' Budweisers and fuckin' about.  I only know that this one chick is named Cathy because they say her name a lot and they make a point to mention she's not had her period in over a month.  One of the dudes' girlfriends is Cathy's friend and they chat about pregnancy and stuff.

Cathy and her friend are barely likable.  The others are total asshats.  I hope they die.  Also, you never see Cathy's consoling friend ever again in this movie.

The next day...  Fuck guys, I am really tired of trying to sort out what the day or time or whatever is.  Anyway, Julie starts her first class, and these fucking assholes in class blow her off by ignoring her, sleeping in class, etc.  She is observed by one of the school's preachers, and these fucking douches in her class just continue to make it hard for her.  Afterwards, all the students bitch about her as a shitty teacher.  The preacher rats out Julie when a debate starts when one of the dickwad students talks about abortion.

Remember earlier when I said that the movie had to have 13 minutes added from its original runtime when it only came to a total of 65 minutes?  It's real fucking clear which scenes were added.  For one, the later shot scenes are shot with completely different lighting and actors.  We're introduced to that one group of idiots who are getting drunk in the parking lot of the burger joint.  Then we meet an entirely different group who are just as bad as the first group.  Actually, they are probably more unlikable.  Other than mentioning Cathy and her ex-boyfriend that was name-dropped earlier in the movie, these people don't even seem connected to the other scenes of the movie.  I'd wonder if the previous set of kids first seen were the added scenes, but considering Cathy has a rockin' Pat Benatar haircut, and the redhead seen in later scenes looks like Julie Brown who stuck her finger into a light socket, methinks the second group was added in the reshoots.

However...  All that said, and with as disjointed as this movie feels with these completely different characters, this movie is not without its charm.  This Frankenstein project of a movie has a likable lead in Julie, and kids you want to see dead.  These all count in the positives column for a slasher flick.

However, for all those unlikable fucks that populate this shit college, only one has been killed so far in this slasher movie.  That's frustrating.

On the other hand, Forbes Riley (credited in this movie as Francine Forbes) actually does have a pretty extensive career in both TV and movies.  She played mostly bit parts, but scored roles on popular shows like 24 and Sweet Valley High.  She's still working today and the only person in this cast that has a headshot on IMDb.

And she has sexy mail-readin' clothes...


In the mail packages sent to her was an unexpected envelope full of unsolicited religious propaganda stuff.  Now, granted, she does work at a catholic college, but still...  Oh for the love of fuck:


So it's three weeks later (because that's important for some reason) and Foxy McTeacherpants is still struggling with her students.  When she asks for projects she said were due, the students retort that she claimed the projects weren't due until the end of the month - which who knows when that is because time is a very bizarre concept to this film's universe.  She suddenly realizes that her students are assholes and literally conspired against her.  Cathy has also found out she's pregnant.

Remember Cathy?  She's part of the original group of students we met at the start of the movie that have been tossed aside for the other kids that are even less likable.  She wants to talk to her boyfriend about the bun he put in her oven.  Cathy has also confided in Julie who suggests she talk to Father Janson who, in turn, is creepily staring out his office window at the two ladies talking.  Anyway, so this fuckhole boyfriend takes Cathy to the drive-in to talk about whatever she wanted to talk about.  He first bitches out the girl at the box office about the cost of the movie.  He then makes Cathy pay for the movie and keeps the change for himself.

I think the movie wants us to hate the fucker - especially after he tries to fuck her at the drive-in and asks whether or not she's on her period or something.  I might be wrong, but I think that's what the movie wants us to feel about this guy.  He gets distracted by someone shining a flashlight and leaves Cathy by herself at the car.  Fed up, she goes looking for him, she gets killed.

Wonderful.  I guess the killer got a two-fer.

The movie spins its wheels for a bit at this point.  Father Janson asks Julie what she and Cathy talked about earlier in the day before she was killed.  Julie refuses to tell him what the topic was and Janson says that it would be in her best interest to tell the police when they question her about the murder.  The redhead add-on girl from the other group of people awkwardly forced into this movie comes to see another preacher at the school to seek comfort and guidance about how a guy she knows came to her to fuck after the murder.  This preacher had been seen previously pulling some shenanigans with another teacher at the school.  There's another whole fake out subplot going on with this male teacher, Mark, who Julie likes who has suspicious goings on.  Another teacher warns Julie that he might not be all he's cracked up to be since he knew the teacher killed at the beginning of the movie at some undetermined and also overly determined point in the past or possibly future.

The point is that this movie, for being less than 80 minutes in length is super slow pokey at getting to its point.

But then, suddenly, the movie takes off at full speed with Julie and the other teacher snooping around Mark's apartment to see if they can find anything that implicates him in the murders that have been going on.  Why Julie now suspects anything is bizarre because we didn't really see her friend convince her of nuthin'.  But because this movie needs to get somewhere, and needs to get somewhere super fucking fast, here we are.

So Julie finds all sorts of newspapers in a locked desk talking about the killings.  But she's nearly caught when Mark comes home unexpectedly.  He also finds all his newspapers all over the place and sees the teachers driving off.

Four hours later, or possibly two days ago, Julie's friend suggests that maybe they go talk to Father Janson about what Julie found in Mark's apartment.  Julie says she trusts Father Janson even less than Mark.  Julie's friend decides to talk to Father Janson so Julie isn't implicated.  The next day, or possibly fifteen hours before, Julie sees her friend's car.  They find her mutilated corpse in a supply closet.  I guess we're finally at the Splatter part of Splatter University.

Okay, I guess we're down to either Mark or Father Janson being the killer.  Mark feels like a red herring, and Father Janson is a Catholic Priest so...

Father Janson is the fucking killer.  I mean no duh, right?

I know, right?  I didn't know you were in this either!
Things ramp up a bit when Mary Elizabeth Winstead is killed at the school.  Who she is, we do not know.  Why she is getting killed, we do not know.  Julie decides, rightfully so, to get the fuck out of Dodge as soon as the next day.  Mark tries calling Julie, but she won't have it.  She calls Father Janson to tell him she needs to see him tonight because she knows who the murderer is.  Oh, and the redhead from the second group of kids was killed.  Whatever.

Mark then confronts Julie at her apartment and she fucks him up with a vase and runs away.  She hurries to the university where Father Janson is acting like a super weirdo by throwing a bunch of porno mags in the garbage and cuddling with his crucifix.  Because he's not at all a deranged maniac.  Julie says she believes Mark is the killer.  Father Janson isn't so sure.

Not sure why, but... Okay.
Now here's the thing.  Janson is absolutely the killer.  He's actually the escaped madman from earlier.  He even reveals that his wheelchair he is always rolling around in is an act.  Now, Julie says she believes Mark is the killer.  Why does he now need to try to kill Julie?  Is it the fact that he knows she didn't wear a bra in this climax?  Is he driven nuts but dem tittaes?  Couldn't he just try to kill Mark, say he's the killer, then call it a day and move onto the next school?  Yes, yes, I know he's crazy, but still.  What if she escapes?  He's fuuuuucked.  Like, super fucked!  I bet he couldn't take Mark in a fight and if she gets to him or Mark catches wind of what's up, Janson is totally fucked.

Now, here's where what goodwill this movie had is totally lost.  Janson catches Julie trying to escape and straight up kills her!  What the actual holy motherfuck of all monkeyballs is that?  He stabs her in the back and like runs the knife up through her spine.  Mark finds her body and decides to take it out on Janson's ass.  Which is, yeah, cool, except...  The movie transitions from Mark seeing the bloody crucifix to Janson being studied by a couple psych ward doctors who reveal he's actually Daniel Grayham.

Ugh...  Fuck this movie.  It was fine up until the end.  Okay, for somewhat shock value or for sympathy, I'll grant you killing the pregnant girl.  Okay.  That's not cool, but okay.  However, the entire movie is loaded with fucknugget asshole guys who made me want to punch a puppy's scrotum out of frustration over their own stupidity, and every single one of them lived.

Now, you can possibly argue that Julie had a fairly realistic end seeing how bad things happen to people in unfortunate ways all the time.  Okay, sure.  But you already killed the one teacher who, seemingly did nothing wrong, you killed Julie's friend, and you killed the pregnant girl.  Plenty of bad things happened to decent people who had no strikes against them.  Killing Julie is reprehensible for this shitfuck movie to do.

While it is in no way Pot Zombies in its level of shittiness, Splatter University flushed what was good about it right down the pooper with a single stab of a knife.

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