Ever read about a movie that just sounds so right for you, but then ends up being all sorts of wrong? Well, Splatter University ticks both those boxes. So thanks a lot for crushing those dreams.
Splatter University is a 1984 slasher film directed by Richard W Haines, who also directed The Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Haines worked on a number of Troma films, which I guess proves Troma’s love for him. They distributed his directorial debut, which just happens to be Splatter U.
Apparently this film was originally only an hour long, and was padded with scenes filmed at a later date to make the movie a nice 78 minutes long. Nothing can be more apparent that there was no point to several scenes other than to make this movie longer.
Julie Parker is a sociology professor starting a new job at a university. Upon accepting the position, Father Janson tells her about a professor that was murdered in her classroom the semester before. Julie is shaken by the news, but still accepts the position anyway.
Meanwhile, the students at the university live typical student lives of debauchery and stupidity. Though to be completely honest, I had a hard time distinguishing one from the other. But one student stands out because she’s the only one given a subplot.
The student (who my notes call Kathy, but I’m really second-guessing it here), is pregnant with an unwanted child and struggles to come to terms with it at a Catholic university. Women’s rights are brought up again when Julie teaches her first class. She asks her students to bring up a current topic that they are interested in. One bone-headed boy brings up the latest attempts to reverse the legality of abortion. This gets Julie in trouble with Father Janson because she’s supposed to stick to the curriculum. And if you haven’t assumed he’s the killer by now, you really are stupid.
In a bit of a shock twist, “Kathy” is killed off while at the drive-in with her boyfriend. Poor Julie continues to have a bad time of it, as she was becoming Kathy’s confidant.
Since it’s so obvious who the killer is, the movie then makes you want to believe the real baddie is actually Julie’s new boyfriend. It isn’t, of course, which makes for a pretty eye-rolling second half of the film. I mean Father Janson just screams “I’m a psychopath!” But I suppose this is movie-world so we’re all stupid.
The kids continue to get picked off one-by-one in some pretty silly death scenes (including the knife-to-open-mouth death scene picture above – a new personal favourite). Eventually Julie gets herself into due to being an idiot. Julie gets killed off, boyfriend saves the day, and that’s basically a wrap.
There really isn’t much to the film’s story or plot, obviously. It’s a fairly standard slasher, that mostly shines when it tries to be a little bit different.
Splatter University is really not great by any means. It certainly didn’t live up to its potential. I was more bored more often than I was entertained, but there are glimmers of hope. There is lots of Troma elements in it (even if this isn’t a Troma production). There is humour, plenty of gore and a commentary that is smarter than the average viewer. It just forgot to be interesting.