by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
If you were a genre fan back in the ’80s, chances are, as you were perusing the horror section of the local mom ’n pop video store, there was a VHS copy of the classic slasher flick The Dorm That Dripped Blood sitting on the shelf, just waiting to be rented. And you probably rented it. Sadly, those days are over and many of those well-regarded fright films have been lost to time, nothing more than a foggy late-night TV memory. Except that Dorm. Synapse Films, one of the hardest working cult film reissue labels out there, has finally released this extremely entertaining movie to DVD and Blu-Ray, uncut with additional scenes, extended gore sequences and a different sound mix. A group of college students volunteer to help close down an abandoned dormitory and are offed one-by-one by a masked killer in variously awesome gruesome ways that pretty much proved everything that your mom hated about these things, making her put her foot down when you tried to rent them. But you’re an adult now, and mom can’t tell you what to do anymore. Joke’s on her.
Speaking of the ’80s and video stores and the like, Troma’s latest acquisition, Blood Junkie, is a fantastically accurate and incredibly funny recreation of those lost VHS classics, pretty much proving my theory that mom ’n pop video stores were the grindhouses of the Reagan decade. Director Drew Rosa has crafted a loving tribute that hits all the right notes: Laura, a typical high school senior, is left with her little brother for the weekend as the ’rents hit the road. Instead of staying put and watching some TV and ordering pizza, she gets together with her loose gal-pal and two skeezy party-dudes for an impromptu camping trip in the middle of the woods. I’m pretty sure you can guess the rest, and while it may not win any awards for screenwriting, neither did any of the other dead teenager flicks — and look how much we miss those. Rosa has a great time putting the characters through their paces as a blood-guzzling backwoods behemoth takes ’em out and it shows, translating in one big nostalgic smile for a straight 72 minutes.
They all can’t be winners. Like Blood Junkie, Blood Oath is also a recent Troma slasher homage acquisition, minus the fun, originality and production values. It’s never a good sign when, in the first five minutes, B-movie queen Tiffany Shepis is killed off, making way for a massively irritating quartet of idiotic frat boys and sorority girls to get uninterestingly slaughtered in the woods by a hulking redneck in rags. The total lack of on-screen charisma from everyone involved is a real picture-killer; I was bored, having seen this same type of shot-on-video survivalist horror flick way too many times in the past few years to have any charm or interest in them left. Do something different, guys! But, because this is an indie affair I want to say something nice, something positive … I guess I liked the penis-based twist regarding the killer. That momentary flash really disturbed me, and I would not mind seeing the further adventures of the Krupp offspring and her grotesque member in the future. How’s that work?