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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Compilation > Western > The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981/aka Pranks/Synapse Blu-ray w/DVD) + Trek Stars Go West (VSC/MVD DVD)

The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981/aka Pranks/Synapse Blu-ray w/DVD) + Trek Stars Go West (VSC/MVD DVD)


Picture: B & C+/C     Sound: B- & C+/C     Extras: B-/D     Main Programs: C+/B-



Now for some interesting material that genre fans will get a kick out of.



Shot in 16mm film on cameras from a film school, the Jeffrey Obrow/Stephen Carpenter slasher film The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981) is a decent independent entry into the genre when it was still fresh and those making the films still tried to have ambition and ideas to make things work.  Though I had not seen it for many years, some of the moments I recalled after seeing them and it is a film from the cycle that deserves and gets top rate treatment from Synapse on Blu-ray and the set includes a DVD.


Like Halloween forerunner Black Christmas, the potential victims to be are going to spend Christmas vacation at their rather empty dorm, but there is a killer on the loose and that killer is brutal.  Those staying behind are closing down things voluntarily to help out, but it might be the last thing they ever do.  Though it was never considered a classic of the genre, it is one of the most interesting indie entries and the cast (including a young Daphne Zuniga for a time) is actually decent with their limited acting.  Though not brilliant, the film is underrated and fans should revisit it immediately to see what kind of films kept the trend going.


Then we have the hilarious compilation Trek Stars Go West which collects episodes and a few clips of Western TV shows that were popular (Bonanza, The Lone Ranger) and some that did not last long (Tate, Outlaws, Last Of The Mohicans 1957) with early work by Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, DeForest Kelley and James Doohan.  Ironically, Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wrote some Western teleplays for Have Gun – Will Travel (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the show they would all make a classic had at least a few elements of the genre.


The set also adds Shatner’s lame Spaghetti Western attempt, White Comanche from 1968 made during the latter months of Trek’s original run.  It is bad, but interesting.  Guest stars on episodes in this collection include Robert Redford, Lon Chaney Jr. (in a normal role on Mohicans) and the two-parter of Outlaws includes no less than Victor Buono, Cloris Leachman, Jack Warden and Edgar Buchanan.  This is a fun set all around.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 image on the Dorm Blu-ray is very interesting as it is a very accurate transfer form the original 16mm film.  Though there is much grain from the Fuji stocks used in that time for the film, color is wide ranging and what you would get from such a film print at that time.  It is impressive and not unlike Criterion’s Gimme Shelter Blu-ray (reviewed elsewhere on this site) in that respect.  It could not look better and will surprise those who have an eye for film versus video.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 Dorm DVD image is as good as that format is going to deliver it, but no match for the great transfer on the Blu-ray, which sadly looks better than the Blu-rays currently out for the original Halloween and Black Christmas.  The Blu-ray has a solid DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless Mono track that is warmer and richer than the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the DVD, but both are from the same cleaned up soundmaster.  The 1.33 X 1 image on Trek is from poor sources (Ranger is from 1949) all the way to the Comanche feature with its faded color and poor print and all feature Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono that is second generation or worse.


Trek has no extras, but Dorm offers (in both formats) the Original Theatrical Trailer, a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless isolated music score of Christopher Young’s music, reversible cover with different artwork for the Blu-ray case, Interviews with Young and Make-Up FX Creator Matthew Mungle and a feature length audio commentary by the co-directors.  I enjoyed the extras even more than the film, making this a fun set.


For the original Trek series on Blu-ray, try these links:


Season One



Season Two




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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