Tag Archives: weird-ass twist

Twists of Fury: The Dorm That Dripped Blood

In this feature, Vegan Voorhees examines those jaw-dropping revelations that the slasher film loves to bat our way from the blue, like a pushy parent tossing softballs at a kid who doesn’t want to learn baseball.

This month, we slide dirgey, cheapo 1981 slasher The Dorm That Dripped Blood under the terrorscope. If you haven’t seen it, beware humongaloid SPOILERS

dorm that dripped blood ending twist

Set Up: College students who board at Morgan Meadows Hall are closing down the place for its imminent bulldozing. Good job too, it’s a right shitheap. Anyway, the handful of them sticking around during the holidays are picked off one by one by a shadowy killer. But who? And why? Final girl Joanne will save the day!

Twist: No she won’t. Once everyone’s dead and all red herrings off the hook, the real killer – smartmouth joker Craig – reveals himself to Joanne, tells her he loves her and will kill anyone who stands in the way of their love… AND THEN THROWS HER IN THE FURNACE!

The final shot is Craig being led to safety, while smoke billows from the furnace behind him as Joanne roasts away.

Problems with this revelation: The film is grimy enough without this downbeat ending stapled on, which lets Craig get away with his crime. Not that Joanne was the best heroine, but even so, the attempt at keeping things dark goes beyond the usual killer-is-still-out-there stuff into a place that just doesn’t work. No, I say. No.

Likely Explanation: The Dorm That Dripped Blood has little going for it to make it stand out. It plods along in underlit doldrums, with a few sticky murders chucked in, possibly realising the audience is slowly lapsing into a coma, so the eyebrow-raising coda was thrown on.

Go away.

…Something beginning with overrated

my little eye dvd

MY LITTLE EYE

2 Stars  2002/18/92m

“Fear is not knowing. Terror is finding out.”

Director: Marc Evans / Writers: David Hilton & James Watkins / Cast: Laura Regan, Sean C.W. Johnson, Kris Lemche, Jennifer Sky, Stephen O’Reilly, Bradley Cooper, Nick Mennell.

Body Count: 4


Trailers for My Little Eye looked awesome back in the early 00s, and I went to see it around the same time that the similarly-themed Halloween: Resurrection floated to the surface.

Kind of an awkward marriage between parts of The Blair Witch Project and Big Brother - then at the peak of its popularity – five young hopefuls are plonked in a house in the middle of nowhere (a nowhere covered by an inescapable blanket of snow) for six months with the promise of a million dollars each if none of them leave before it’s over.

As they near the end of their stay, the shady producers begin sending stranger and stranger supplies to the house, such as bricks, a gun, a hammer. that prompt the residents to try and delve deeper into the agenda, amped up when a hiker happens by and claims he’s never heard of the show.

They discover they are guinea pigs to a secret circle of sadistic millionaires who want to see live murders and one of them turns out to be a well-placed psycho who’s happy to start doing the rest of them in until whiney heroine Emma takes him on.

my little eye 2002

In synch with hordes of other it’s-real-no-it’s-not slashers including Kolobos and Voyeur.com, a large spoonful of the film is presented via obscure camera angles as the slow build keeps the audience waiting for that mind-blowing revelation… There are a couple of suitably eerie moments on route, but instead of a huge twist, things just peter out with an annoying and bleak twist ending that succeeds only in cementing the hour-long build up as a waste of time.

Biggest mystery: If the whole thing was just an elaborate trap, why wait six months before killing everyone on the same day?

Blurbs-of-interest: Laura Regan was in Hollow Man II; Kris Lemche was in Final Destination 3; Nick Mennell was in the Friday the 13th reboot; apparently Bradley Cooper did a few films nobody ever heard of.

One way trip

shroomsSHROOMS

1.5 Stars  2007/18/81m

“Get ready to get wasted.”

Director: Paddy Breathnach / Writer: Pearse Elliott / Cast: Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, Max Kasch, Maya Hazen, Alice Greczyn, Robert Hoffman, Don Wycherley, Sean McGinley.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “You can’t fuck up what’s already fucked.”


Ireland supplied this disappointing comic horror in which five American college kids join a local on a camping trip into the woods for Shroom Season, where mind-trips galore await those who dare to sample to delicacies the forest floor has to offer.

Good girl Tara (Kirsten Dunst-a-like Haun) accidentally scoffs a forbidden Devil’s Head mushroom, which is reported to cause a variety of mind-bending affects including violent outbursts and foresight.

Tara begins to experience the latter and hosts visions of her friends’ murders during their respective trips, at the hands of a feral creature – the possible survivor of a massacre at the closed-down young offenders home they share the locus with.

Things kick off amusingly with a talking cow, dogging, and cold-blooded murder. The midriff of the project is consumed almost entirely by the three female characters running through the trees and shrieking like banshees, not too dissimilar to The Blair Witch Project, but not nearly as innovative.

Shrooms2Ultimately, the groan-worthy twist is too understated and pointless to save a film that is neither funny enough nor scary enough to warrant any kind of recommendation. The performances and photography are acceptable but lacklustre, and come the credits it feels like you’ve just wasted an hour and a half on nothing – but maybe that’s the ironic underlying message of this regrettable trip?

Pop Eye.

eyeball-1975EYEBALL

3 Stars  1975/89m

“A blinding vision of horror.”

A.k.a. The Secret Killer

Director: Umberto Lenzi / Writer: Felix Tusell / Cast: Martine Brochard, John Richardson, Ines Pellegrini, Andrés Mejuto, Mirta Miller, Daniele Vargas, George Rigaud, Silvia Solar, José Maria Blanco, Marta May, John Bartha, Verónica Miriel.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “Are you saying the killer’s a sadist?” / “I wouldn’t rule it out.”


That this film begins with a tour guide saying: “Coming up on the left now is Barcelona’s bullfighting arena,” when it’s on the right sets things up awesomely.

Fun little giallo shot on location in and around Barcelona (where I’ve spent a majority of the last year) where a bus chock full of American tourists provides a victim pool for an eye-gouging killer who favours plucking peepers from various nubile young girls. Beware a few minor SPOILERS.

I’m not particularly well-versed in giallo classics, but I’ve seen enough to spot the standard hallmarks in play: Mystery glove-wearing killer, many-a fast zoom into character’s faces as something suspicious is said, “Americans” with Euro-accents, amusing translations and clunky dubbing.

*sigh* I miss the 70s... Oh wait, I wasn't there.

*sigh* I miss the 70s… Oh wait, I wasn’t there.

Being a pre-American slasher product, Eyeball nevertheless presents itself with more than a few 80s teenie-kill aesthetics: There are POV shots as the killer floats towards his next unsuspecting victim, boobs-a-plenty, and a short but sweet final girl sequence – with, shock, a black final girl!

So, Paulette is on the tour and her boss/lover Mark, has run out on his disturbed wife to catch up and romance the hell out of Paulette. This is scuppered by the onset of the killings – first a local girl at La Ramblas, then one of the tour group is murdered on a ghost train, a waitress at a bar they all visit is dispatched while she feeds the pigs (!), and so on.

Naturally, all the men are suspects and it’s down to retirement-nearing Inspector Tudela and his young successor to solve the case before he embarks on a life of trout fishing. Fun. Aside from Mark, there’s a creepy Reverend, the boring husband of a restless wife, a cigar-chomping Texan, and the pervy tour guide, who likes to prank the young girls with his array of crappy fake spiders and rodents. Each of them is afforded more than a handful of the zooms-of-suspicion at one point. Even Jessica Fletcher would be dumbfounded by the sheer number of potential loons on this vacation.

eyeball2Spain is presented in lush colours and inimitable 70s fashion choices, which lends the film a pleasantly diverting quality, as if you’re taking a holiday from the same-old American slasher film conventions.

Nothing really lets Eyeball down, it just suffers from the ridiculousness that haunts the whole sub-genre, with a motive so whacky I had to re-watch to ensure I’d actually not misunderstood it.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual: The females are all super hot and super killed, while the only male victim is old and creasy-faced, and killed off-camera. The men can be slimy, sleazy, and annoying but still survive intact, which is a general motif in most Italian body-count horror.

There’s a curiously long exchange about mud on footwear: “It’s elementary, as I’m sure you’re aware that simple walking can get a pair of shoes quite dirty.” There are eyes in a box, daggers conveniently monogrammed with the initials of a suspect, secret photographers and rolls of film with aaaaall the answers. Eyeball has it all. You won’t be bored.

eyeball1Blurbs-of-interest: Brochard and Richardson were reunited in 1981’s Fear; Umberto Lenzi was later fired as director of Welcome to Spring Break but stuck around to assist his replacement, and also the unsettlingly creepy Ghosthouse.

Wake me when it’s over

DreamaniacDREAMANIAC

1 Stars  1986/82m

“You don’t have to live on Elm Street to have nightmares.”

Director: David DeCoteau / Writer: Helen Robinson / Cast: Thomas Bern, Kim McKamy, Sylvia Summers, Lauren Peterson, Cynthia Crass, Brad Laughlin, Bob Pelham, Matthew Phelps, Linda Watts.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “Do I know you?” / “I doubt it, I’ve gone to private schools all my life and I’m rich.” / “Oh that’s right, you’re Francis! I thought I recognised those small tits.”


Back in the 1980s, I bet many a disappointed video renter plucked this one from the shelf, thinking it was going to rival Freddy Krueger for some intense scares.

Not so. This early DeCoteau vehicle is an endurance test: Heavy metal lyricist Adam agrees to let his girlfriend Pat’s sister Jodi throw a sorority party at the house he’s sitting. Amidst weird dreams about naked people in baths of blood and a woman with a decapitated head, he conjures up Lily, a succubus who trades sexual favours for the lives of horny teenage partygoers.

In typical mid-80s style, nobody’s ever seen or heard of a slasher film, so they all wander off alone, have sex, don’t leave when the power goes out, allowing Lily and a possessed Adam to knife, electrocute, and bite the dick’s off the party guests.

Some of them seem to come back as zombies and need to be killed again, but I wasn’t sure about that… The Spanish copy I watched had quite a bad resolution.

dm1A ‘joke’ is added to the end for reasons unknown, it’s a bit funny, but more or less negates the previous 75 minutes and the entire USP of the film, but DeCoteau was churning out these babies left, right and centre so I doubt anyone really cared. There’s a fair splattering of gory denouements and at least he populates it with his trademark array of easy-on-the-eye menfolk with their shirts off.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kim McKamy was later in Evil Laugh; DeCoteau turned in what may be his only other slasher film (?) in 2001, Final Stab.

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