2 stars   Cheese Rating: 25% Dairylea Lite!

" When the kidding stops
...the killing starts!"

directed by: Jeffrey Obrow
starring: Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs, David Snow, Daphne Zuniga.

(back of video blurb):
       "A near derelict college building stands condemned and menacingly awaits the bulldozers. A group of young students volunteer over the Christmas holiday to clear it of the remaining furniture.

       An insane killer in the building however, has other ideas; and when the lights flicker and fail- the horror begins. A violent and grotesque death is waiting for the students who one ny one are stalked by the maniac. As the terror mounts the blood in torrents begins to flow and the only Christmas present they can expect is to die!"

choice dialogue:

"I don't want to sleep here tonight knowing that nuts' still around.....Alright, why don't we split up and look for him."

slash with panache?

       Well it's cheap and nasty that is! This slasher quickie found infamy on the official video-nasties list in the UK in the early 80's. Quite why it THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (Dutch video sleeve courtesy of Wright On Video- www.w-v-s.nlwas banned and the infinitely gorier FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) got past the puritanical censors with only a few cuts is something of a mystery. In fact the only true 'nasty' bit comes in the first five minutes when a young man is being chased in the moonlight by an unseen assailant. He is caught, strangled and has a machete graphically cut open his hand. The rest is hardly Disney, but you don't really need barf bags either.

       The Christmas setting gives ample opportunity for the teens to parade about in funky knitwear whilst they continually split up to look for "guy...with the fuzzy hair"- who turns out to be just one of the red herrings dotted through the film. Imagine if you put the scores of FRIDAY THE 13TH and PSYCHO (1960) through a blender you'd get the score for PRANKS. Cliches abound,the lights go out...and then...oh shit, the phones dead! But there are a few nicely macabre touches- Daphne Zuniga (who returned to slashHey I know! Why don't we split up? territory in THE INITIATION (1983)) has her head run over by the killer after she faints. Once the 'pranks' stop (and there really aren't that many of them!) the film kicks into gear in the second half and there are a few effective twists and a fair bit of hokey suspense to be wrung from the proceedings. It wraps up with a dopey, but nicely downbeat ending.

       With higher production values (ie. if you could see what was going on half the time!), it could of been a contender. Still, it's largely undeserved legend will live on due to 'that' list.

BODYCOUNT 10  bodycount!   female:4 / male:6

       1: Male teen strangled & hand split open with machete
       2: Middle aged man gets a club embedded with nails in his face
       3: Middle aged woman has throat cut with cheese wire
       4: Teen female has head run over by car whilst unconcious
       5: Middle aged Handyman has a hole put in his head by an electric drill
       6: Male teen hacked to death with a machete
       7: Female teen knocked unconcious and then boiled to death in a huge saucepan!
       8: Male teen clubbed to death
       9: Man shot to death
       10: Female teen burnt to death in incinerator

Click here:       to see US one-sheet cinema poster