Archive for Daphne Zuniga

Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982) Review

Posted in Dorm That Dripped Blood with tags , , , on December 2, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- A Crash Course in Terror

Release Date- April 1982

Running Time- 88-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow & Stacey Giachino

Director- Stephen Carpenter & Jeffrey Obrow

Starring- Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs, David Snow, Pamela Holland, Woody Roll, Daphne Zuniga

The Dorm That Dripped Blood was released in 1982 though some listings have it as 1981, but regardless this movie was released at a time when slasher flicks were dominating the market and it seemed every week there was a new one opening. The Dorm That Dripped Blood, which also goes under the title Death Dorm and Pranks is one of the semi-forgotten films of the era and seeing as so many of these films were made there are gonna be ones that fall through the cracks. I originally saw this movie under the title Pranks, which is a heavily censored version of the movie and is missing about 8-minutes, which at the time I didn’t know. I didn’t hate Pranks, but I sure didn’t love it and I had no desire to see it again, but I gave in and decided to give it another try since the version I saw was so heavily edited and while Dorm That Dripped Blood wouldn’t rate as my favorite 80s slasher I’m glad I gave it another shot; I think the film itself is far better than its reputation and despite the cult following it has I think it deserves more of a following. I wouldn’t rate The Dorm That Dripped Blood in my top 10 slasher films, but its one of those underdog films and it would have a place somewhere among my favorite slasher films.

During Christmas vacation a few students stay behind to clean out the dorms that will be knocked down and a new dorm will be built. But unknown to the students staying behind is a killer has also stayed behind and has their sights set on them.

The screenplay by Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow & Stacey Giachino is your standard slasher flick, but well enough written in regards to other films of its type. The dialogue mostly seems like filler as the characters never really have anything important to say, but however they are fairly likable even if they lack depth. When going into a slasher film I don’t expect deep characters, but its nice when they have their own identity and here they do to a certain degree, but can also be a little interchangeable. I guess overall despite the short comings of the script and even if the characters might lack in areas I did for the most part like them and Joanne (Lapinski) does make for a solid final girl. Some of the problems with the script are the standard problems we see in slasher movies; the opening death scene for instance was just random as it was never mentioned again in the movie. There are some subplots thrown in that also never really go anywhere, but overall despite the flaws again the script is decent only hindered by being like the majority of other slasher flicks such as the weird creepy guy lurking around meant to be a red herring. If anything my biggest gripe with the script is its one of those films where the killer remains calm and normal until reveled and then just goes off the wall insane.

Directors Stephen Carpenter & Jeffrey Obrow deliver a mostly well-made slasher film on a very low budget. I think the fact it was so low budget in some areas helps elevate the film. It’s a little rough looking, which gives the film an eerie tone. The pacing of the film is fairly strong, but the 2nd half things can get a bit sluggish, but it never gets boring. There is a decent amount of suspense to go along with the eerie atmosphere. Carpenter & Obrow make good use of their locations and make a fairly standard place seem a lot more isolated and sinister looking. For first time filmmakers Carpenter and Obrow deliver a very entertaining movie that despite having a cult following again is better than its reputation.

The one thing the Dorm That Dripped Blood has going for it is a truly excellent score by Christopher Young that really heightens the suspense.

What the film is probably most noted for by those who have seen it is the off the wall ending, which is something most slasher films tend to avoid. You think to yourself no way the film is going to go there and before you know it the film does. It’s an unexpected ending and I’ll give credit to Carpenter & Obrow for actually having the nerve to do what they did with the ending.

Overall The Dorm That Dripped Blood in an entertaining slasher flick and while the reviews from people that have actually seen the movie are quite mixed, which I fully understand and while the movie may not reach the heights of some of the more popular slasher flicks of the 80s I quite enjoyed this despite some of the shortcomings. Like I said this one has that 80s slasher low budget charm and even if this isn’t one of the elite slasher flicks of the 80s I still enjoyed it.

This movie also marked the acting debut for Daphne Zungia; for some reason her 1984 slasher flick The Initiation in the credits has it as introducing, but that’s a mistake as she did this movie first.

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The Initiation (1984) Review

Posted in Initiation, The with tags , , , on October 1, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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THE INITIATION

*** Out of 5

Tagline- Be Young, Stay Young… and Die Young

Release Date- December 1984

Running Time- 97-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Charles Pratt Jr.

Director- Larry Stewart

Starring- Daphne Zuniga, James Read, Hunter Tylo with Vera Miles and Clu Gulager

Here we go again with yet another entry into the slasher film this time we have The Initiation from 1984. This movie came at a time when the slasher flick was hitting a bit of a decline. One could say that the decline started earlier and I would sort of agree. 1980 and 1981 saw a slew of these movies released and by 1982 things were getting a bit stale even if still fairly enjoyable. By this time all creativity was pretty much gone since it was kinda late into the game and you just make the best film you can and hope for the best. The Initiation doesn’t add anything new to this type of film. But it does try and be different than the basic stalk and slash film.

The Initiation is a semi-forgotten movie and if not for a 2002 DVD release by Anchor Bay then a re-issue as part of a double feature a few years later and a September 2011 release, which seemed to go totally unnoticed this film would be long forgotten and even with the DVD releases of the years not many people seem to remember this film, which is quite surprising seeing as the movie has an excellent cast; we have Clu Gulager (Return of the Living Dead), Vera Miles (Psycho) James Read (Charmed) Hunter Tylo (The Bold and the Beautiful) going under the name Deborah Morehart and of course the star the very sexy Daphne Zuniga. I think part of the reason The Initiation isn’t all that remembered is it came out the same year as A Nightmare on Elm Street and it’s nowhere near as creative or scary, also that year came Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and it isn’t as gruesome or crowd pleasing and finally Silent Night, Deadly Night and it failed to stir up the controversy of that movie.

The script by Charles Pratt tries to be different than the typical stalk and slash movie of the 80s and adds a little bit of psychological horror with slasher movie elements mixed in and while this was an interesting idea and I give credit to Pratt for trying to add more depth to the movie, but it just didn’t fully work. Kelly Fairchild (Zuniga) is a sorority pledge who is being plagued by horrible nightmares since childhood; the dream involves Kelly walking in on her parents having sex she attacks her father and then a man enters the room and a fight breaks out and the stranger catches fire. Kelly is told she suffered amnesia as a child and it’s only a dream, but Professor Peter Adams (Read) is determined to find out the truth on if it’s really a dream or a dark buried secret; on pledge night Kelly and a few of her friends enter the mall her father owns, but somebody has followed them inside and dispatches everybody on their path to Kelly.

The reoccurring nightmare Kelly is having doesn’t really serve much of a purpose besides to set up the twist at the end and the first half of the movie doesn’t really fit in either with the 2nd half as the movie becomes the standard slasher flick and quite honestly you could probably miss the first half and not lose much on the plot or characters. When all is said and done I suppose the first half is just sort of pointless even if the idea was interesting. Pratt does try and add some depth to not only the plot, but the characters as well, but when all is said and done with the exception of Kelly all the characters are rather forgettable and clichéd. Pratt’s script might be a little deeper and complex than most of this type of film, but it’s still brought down by the typical clichés, but overall the script isn’t bad, but just sort of pointless.

Director Larry Stewart makes his feature film debut as prior to this film and after it as well all his credits are TV productions. From a technical standpoint, The Initiation is fairly well-made this isn’t exactly John Carpenter’s Halloween in terms of production, but Stewart does deliver a decently made flick with decent production values. The pacing of the film can be a little sluggish and while the first half of the film can be a tad bit slow it’s never really boring either. However after a while it does start to repeat itself in many areas. Once the characters enter the Fairchild Mall the pacing does get a bit better, but it’s still a bit drawn out at times and it does feel a little overly long at 96-minutes. The suspense and tension are fairly light as the death scenes are all pretty much the same and it really offers nothing that we haven’t seen in previous slasher flicks.

I think what hurts the movie is this late into the game the element of surprise is gone and unless you’ve never seen a slasher movie before there shouldn’t be any surprises in the fate of the characters. Compared to other slasher flicks The Initiation does lack the excitement these films are often known for and everything is pretty much by the books. Stewart also never really takes advantage of his settings either. When all is said and done Larry Stewart delivers a fairly entertaining flick that while gets the job done, but again lacks the excitement slasher flicks often have.

Overall despite the flaws I mostly enjoyed The Initiation and the only things that really bog the movie down is some sluggish pacing and the death scenes could have used a little bit more gore as well. While this film won’t go down as one of the elite slasher flicks of the 80s I actually enjoy it more than such films as Prom Night and Sleepaway Camp. The twist at the end did sort of catch me off guard and while I suppose it might obvious to some I actually didn’t pick up on it though looking back at the film it isn’t too difficult to possibly figure out and while it is a bit silly it does sort of work as well for reasons I can’t fully get into since I don’t wanna spoil the movie. Overall The Initiation is a fun if not flawed movie and while you can do a lot better than this you can also do a lot worse.

The credits state Introducing Daphne Zuniga, but that’s actually a mistake since her first credit was 2-years prior in The Dorm That Dripped Blood and while her role was small she was credited. The Initiation was produced by Bruce Lansbury the brother of Angela Lansbury and he also produced her hit series Murder, She Wrote.

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