Monday, January 28, 2008

No "Last Girl" in Splatter University

I'm eligible to vote for the SAG Awards, but when I checked the ballot this year, it was full of films and TV shows that I'd never seen. Like, none of them!

But how can I be expected to see any of this stuff? I'm too busy watching horror movies, many of which I've seen several times already. Why just these past few weeks I re-watched The Haunting, Slaugther High (to name a few) and ... Splatter University!

Splatter University is one of the cheesiest, crappiest, lowest budgeted of the 1980s many cheesy, crappy, low budget slasher films -- yet I like it a lot!

I'm not sure why, but it's got ... something. Its low budget ambiance is similar to that of Don't Look in the Basement. Harsh lighting (no time to set up fill lights), a hollow echo in many of the scenes (no budget for sound blankets), and a no-name cast. Yet Splatter University is one of the few Troma productions which I enjoy -- this and Mother's Day.

What both these Troma films have is that their humor doesn't overwhelm the horror. Tromo is so low budget, their films are often produced in a campy, tongue-in-cheek style. Splatter University and Mother's Day both have that humor, yet the horror remains intact. You can't say that for most Troma films. In many Troma films, the camp kills the horror. (And usually, their films aren't even funny, because the filmmakers and cast are obviously having too much fun onscreen.)

Lloyd Kaufman told me in the summer of 1981 (when I very briefly worked for Troma) that he thought it was the humor that placed Mother's Day) above the typical splatter fare. I got the impression that Mr. Kaufman did not appreciate the horror genre that much; he seemed to hold a greater affection for comedy, and it shows in Troma's output.


If you haven't guessed this already, the Last Girl is (unexpectedly) killed at the end of Splatter University. Stabbed to death in an elevator. (Here she is in an earlier scene, at work, teaching at college).

So it seems that a number of 1980s slasher films (contrary to the cliché) did not have a Last Girl.

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