Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Phil's Horror Watch: SPLATTER UNIVERSITY (1984) from Vinegar Syndrome - Jan. 30, 2019


Starring Forbes Riley (as Francine Forbes), Ric Randig, Dick Biel, Kathy LaCommare, Laura Gold, Ken Gerson, Noel Stilphen, Mary Ellen David, Sal Lumetta
Written by Richard W. Haines, Michael Cunningham, John Elias Michalakis (as John Michaels), Miljan Peter Ilich
Cinematography by Fred Cohen, Jim Grib
Edited by Richard W. Haines
Produced by Richard W. Haines, John Elias Michalakis (as John Michaels), Miljan Peter Ilich
Directed by Richard W. Haines
Originally released by Troma Entertainment
Released by Vinegar Syndrome

Welcome back horror hounds to another horrifyingly scary installment of Phil's Horror Watch! Now as some of you may know, the 1980's had some of the best horror films ever made! With the slasher genre in full swing, and with latex make-up and special effects becoming more advance, horror movies were now more stained with blood and gore than ever before, and fans were flocking to the nearest theater to watch it all unfold on the big screen. One of these gems was the Troma Entertainment horror flick SPLATTER UNIVERSITY, which was just released by the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome.

The film's official synopsis: Years ago, a madman escaped from an asylum, slashing his way through to freedom and continuing his bloody rampage at nearby Saint Trinian’s College. Now, years later, new teacher Julie Parker, begins to sense that something isn’t quite right at the small town college and it’s not long before her students and fellow faculty members begin disappearing or, worse yet, are found brutally butchered. Determined to uncover the truth behind the ongoing violence, Julie begins her own investigation, unaware that she’s putting herself at risk of becoming the ruthless murderer’s next target.

The film was the feature length debut of Richard W. Haines, who would also co-direct another Troma classic CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH in 1986. Haines actually shot the film in 1981, but when it was edited together, he realized that it was only 65 minutes long. The following year, he shot extra footage to pad the film out to a lean, mean 79 minutes running time. However, this wasn't to be the first obstacle that he had to face. The film was shot at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and Haines and his crew were told that they could film there for two weeks during their spring break. But shortly after production began, the college told them that they only had one week to film, and many of the crew members slept in several of the classrooms so they could finish the project.

Original Theatrical Poster (1984)
While cheesy in some scenes, the film is quiet mean and nasty, with kills galore and bloodshed everywhere. The cast were fine in their roles, but shout out to the amazing Forbes Riley for carrying the film on her shoulders. She was the standout out of everybody; bringing depth, vulnerability, and class to her character Julie Parker. Again, she was fantastic, and I was shocked about what happened to her at the film's finale! Holy crap what a freaking ending!!

The movie was originally released to theaters on July 13, 1984 by Troma Entertainment, an independent film studio founded in 1974 by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz that's still in business to this very day! Believe it or not, the film actually played on the infamous 42nd Street in Times Square in New York! The movie was a success, and was eventually released on VHS from Troma, and later on DVD. Fun Fact: Troma model Elizabeth Kaitan was featured on both the film's poster and VHS cover, but wasn't in the movie. In late, 2018, Vinegar Syndrome announced that they would be releasing the movie on Blu-Ray for the very first time.

As for the transfer, it looks really fantastic! The film was newly scanned & restored in 2k from 16mm camera negative and looks better than ever. English SDH subtitles were also added to both disc and the combo features reversible cover artwork. For collectors, there's a special limited edition embossed slipcover and is limited to only 1,500 units! The slipcover is designed by Earl Kessler Jr. and looks awesome! This limited edition slipcover is available only at the Vinegar Syndrome website.

The combo disc comes packed with some cool extras. The special features include commentary track with director Richard W. Haines, a separate commentary with The Hysteria Continues!, audio interview with composer Christopher Burke, still gallery, theme song, script gallery, radio spots, original trailer, and TV spot.

SPLATTER UNIVERSITY is an unique, twisted, nasty horror movie that will appease even the most rabid horror fan! It's a movie that many people may not have seen nor heard, but now thanks to Vinegar Syndrome, the film is now ready to be seen by the whole world! And also thanks to Troma Entertainment for releasing it all those years ago! So grab your college friends and get ready to cram for this all-nighter of a flick!! 4 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

SPLATTER UNIVERSITY is available in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome. To order a copy for yourself, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

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