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Review: The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)

Reviewer Daniel Perry


The Dorm That Dripped Blood was one of those rentals I loved to partake in as a teenager in the mid 1980’s. Over the years it has become a genre favorite of mine although it isn’t the best of the best so to speak.

The story concerns a small group of college students who are spending their Christmas break cleaning out an old dormitory on their school campus. The dorm is going to be torn down and replaced with apartments. Of course this dorm comes complete with a campus weirdo, John Hemmit (Woody Roll) who may or may not be a student there, it is never really said but hey ya gotta have a campus weirdo right? Right. As the students start to clean out the dorm, they are terrorized by who they think is Hemmit but no one can really prove it. Soon people start to meet grisly ends. Heads are bashed and crushed, strangulation and a drill to the noggin round out some of the highlights in this somewhat gory slasher.

When four of the students are left they decide they have had enough and are going to go after Hemmit who they “know” is responsible for cutting off the power to the dorm and cutting the phone lines. One by one they begin to disappear until only Joanne (Laura Lapinski) and Craig (Stephen Sachs) are left. Just when you think you know beyond a shadow of a doubt who is chopping up the students, a twist is thrown at you from out of nowhere! An okay twist but not the best in the slasher genre.

The low budget is very evident in the film but it tends to add to the atmosphere. You have everything you need! An old run down dorm with plenty of poorly lit hallways and boiler rooms! It’s golden! The John Hemmit character is totally classic with crazy eyes and wild frizzy hair and the film ends on such a bleak down note which was something you don’t always get. (and it didn’t set you up for a sequel!) If the budget had been a little bigger this film could have faired better. The music is a little too edgy and doesn’t always seem to really go with the suspense that is building (or attempting to be built) on the screen. The pacing could have been a little better as well. The movie tends to drag in several spots but overall The Dorm That Dripped Blood is a fun hour and a half to kill on the weekend.

It is also known as Pranks and Death Dorm (Death Dorm is actually what the film is copy written under in the final credits) and boasts the screen debut of actress Daphne Zuniga (The Fly II, Spaceballs).



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