Horror Movie Review: Splatter University (1984)

Sticking solidly to the slasher formula, Splatter University was directed by Richard W. Haines and starring Forbes Riley and Dick Biel.

The movie opens at an unknown mental institution where a unknown patient manages to escape, killing along his way to a local college. Once there, the killer offs a University professor and then the movie cuts to the next semester.

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It’s abrupt and leaves many unanswered questions. Such as where did the killer go? Anyone who has seen slashers in the past will be able to predict the next stages of the movie and it sticks rigidly to the formula.

The students of the university soon start getting killed off by an unknown person. Obviously, it’s the escaped mental patient but as we never saw his face, just who he is remains a mystery. At least until the films surprisingly well done twist ending.

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Surprising because up until that point, Splatter University does little to earn any good will. It’s just so run of the mill and unoriginal even by 1984’s standards. A cast filled with cookie cutter characters such as horny males (including one who actually howls like a dog) and useless females who run, fall and die.

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The star is Forbes Riley who plays a new teacher but she’s doesn’t engage the screen. Nor does the movie go far enough to try and convince you that she could be the killer. A little more mystery surrounding her would have been good, instead the film hangs a sign over the actual killer’s head and only an asleep viewer will fail to guess who it is.

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But wait? Didn’t I say the twist ending was good? How could it be if you already know who the killer is? Well, that’s not what makes it good. What makes it standout is that for the only time throughout, Splatter University breaks convention and has the ‘final girl’ die. It’s such a surprise that it almost makes up for the lacklustre effort of the rest of the film.

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With a decent amount of gore, some ‘so bad, it’s good’ dialogue and that ending, Splatter University isn’t a total waste of time. You just have to put up with a total lack of originality. As well as boring characters and mostly miss acting to really get anything out of it.

Splatter University
  • The Final Score - 5/10
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