The Horror Honeys: Take a Tour of Splatter University

Take a Tour of Splatter University

A Slasher Honey Retro Review by Chassity

Splatter University (1984)

What do you do when all the horror movies you’ve seen as of late start to blend together because they all look and feel the same? When every new option on DVD, VOD, or in the theaters is disappointing because you’re starting to feel like you’ve seen something like it before, hated it then and would probably hate the new updated version? 

You revisit the first horror movies you fell in love with (again), just to take a break from all the reboots, re-imaginings, re-calibrations, and sequels. And if you’re me, that means watching the Scream movies and listening to Randy Meeks name drop a number of horror movies. And then deciding, if these are movies mentioned in the horror movies that brought me to the genre, and I haven’t seen most of them, then surely it’s about time to take a break from the mainstream, the movies of my generation, and the movies geared to people in the teen and early 20s bracket. So, I set out to start tracking down and watching every horror movie mentioned in the first two Scream movies that I hadn’t seen, hoping to find some new (to me) slasher movie to fall in love with. 

First on the list was Splatter University

And while this may not be a love match, I don’t regret watching it or feel like it was a waste of an hour and half. 

The Plot: A patient escapes from a mental institution and begins a murder spree which ends on a college campus with the murder of a female professor. Later, when another woman is brought in to replace her, a second round of murders take place in the midst of a mystery surrounding the relationship of two professors. 

The Good:  It’s that old sense of familiarity. The gore is simultaneously subtle and in-your-face. It doesn’t waste any time with ridiculous exposition or boring backstory. Splatter University gives suspense and a backstory slowly and so cleverly that you don’t even know you’re being fed…well, anything really.

One of the most interesting things about it is that, to fight off being generic, it contains elements of other movie genres. Instead of focusing on the students, the movie centers around a professor. A new professor who is unsure of herself but cares about her students. Unfortunately she just doesn’t know how to get through to them? I found it to be reminiscent of elements from emotional dramas about teachers who win the affections of their tough as nails students through compassion. 
And speaking of compassion, this movie has people actually reacting to the murders that take place. I’ve mentioned before how rare that is, and it always makes me happy when I see it, because it adds a sense of realism. 

The Bad: Call me crazy, but I felt a little weird about the characters in this movie, and their behavior. Though not far from it, this isn’t a high school teen slasher, or at least it shouldn’t have been. But if you didn’t know that the title had the word “university” in it, you could totally believe the students in this movie were still in high school. They were extremely immature, entirely uncaring about their educations, and pretty much made real life frat boys look like monks. I’m not kidding. Maybe I’m just having graduation goggles, because it hasn’t been that long since my college days and I’m just reaching that point of nostalgia, but I don’t remember people I went to college with, or at any of the colleges I visited with friends, acting like this. It actually frustrated me to the point of taking me out of the film. 

The other “bad” thing? The acting is about as horrible as you’d expect. 

The Ugly: If I hadn’t made a stern decision to watch each of the movies on my list all the way through, I would have turned this one off within the first ten minutes because of one thing. Now I understand that times change and things weren’t always as they are now, but the scene at the mental institution rubbed me the wrong way. Simply because it featured a multitude of stereotypes, and offensive ones at that, about people with mental illness. I could feel myself getting upset as I watched it (I’d like to think unnecessarily so), and had to remind myself that it wasn’t made in quite the time of political correctness and social awareness that we now live in. 

There is another “ugly” thing about this movie: if you know anything about your Slasher Honey, you know how I feel about horror movies that try to send a certain “message” about religious people. Extra hatred when you combine that message with a movie with characters who have a borderline hatred for women. This movie tries to do that, and I’d be pissed off… IF it had pulled this off successfully. It didn’t. 

So, the end result? Like so many others, this is not a horror movie for casual horror fans. It’s the kind of movie that isn’t there for entertainment and easy scares. Instead, it’s one of those movies that was made for people who don’t just like slasher movies, but love them and watches them as part of a ritual or tradition. If this is you, Splatter University is a must-see. 

Slasher Honey Rating: 3 slit throats our of a possible 5

Splatter University is available via Amazon Instant Video and DVD

Did YOU attend Splatter U?
Chat about it with Chassity on Twitter: @ChassMM