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  • Aurora Nightengale

SPLATTER UNIVERSITY Guest Blog: By Aurora Nightengale

Updated: Feb 2

Higher Learning can be fun, just make sure a knife doesn’t go plunging into your screaming mouth hole!

The slasher movie genre was once upon a time the brainchild of movie director John Carpenter who independently produced 1978’s horror smash hit Halloween. This spawned what would become a decades worth of massive popularity of slasher movies in the 1980s. Slasher films are very popular, even to this day. In fact, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving was released in theaters in 2023. (It was so successful, watch for Thanksgiving 2 in 2025!) 

Inspired by the success of Halloween, filmmaker Sean Cunningham then set out to capitalize on the holiday horror themed movie flick, selling his movie Friday the 13th just based on the film title alone, before even having a script written. Friday the 13th was released in 1980 and became a major hit for Paramount movie studios, launching interest from moviegoers while also becoming lucrative in the process. 

There’s no doubt that Halloween and Friday the 13th were a direct influence on many themes that would become a mainstay in the slasher genre although the genre itself dates back even further. The 1960’s featured proto-slashers such as Psycho, Strait-Jacket, Homicidal, I Saw What You Did and then there were Italian Giallos such as Blood and Black Lace.

As the 1980s progressed the slasher phenomenon continued to grow worldwide with countless franchises and sequels being produced well into the 1990s. The genre eventually did experience some fatigue due to oversaturation but that would soon be overcome as a new generation would experience.

The massive popularity of Wes Craven’s Scream in 1996 spawned a new wave of slasher movies that reinvigorated the genre as a whole for years to come. There were several phases of 80's slashers, starting with the golden age slashers of the early 80s, the mid 80s and then the late 80s when things began to wind down. Late 80s efforts brought forth more and more outlandish ideas, as well as direct to video and shot on video efforts that were also hitting shelves in video stores.

In the early 80s, filmmaker and writer Richard W. Haines had ambitions to make an exploitation film that became what we know as Splatter University. It has since gained notoriety, initially due in part to its outrageous cover art and ‘in your face’ film title. It had all the ingredients to become a successful B-movie slasher cult hit, and that’s what it did, even being mentioned as a pop culture reference in Scream 2 during a scene in the movie.

Splatter University is an anomaly of sorts as it was shot in 1981, with additional shots completing the production in 1982, and then finally being released in a distribution deal with TROMA in 1984. The idea had been brewing in the mind of Richard W. Haines as early as 1980 while he was attending NYU

The idea came to him while witnessing how many of the students attending college were way more into partying and partaking in extra curricular activities than actually focusing on their studies. This influenced him to think of the idea as well as parts of his childhood growing up attending Catholic school, even though he wasn’t religious and eventually grew to resent that part of his upbringing. It was these things that helped inspire him and morph those ideas into what would become his first motion picture Splatter University.

At the time when Splatter University was released in 1984, it was an interesting time in slasher movie history. Friday the 13th was in its "Final Chapter" and major motion picture studios began winding down on some of the horror franchises that had become so wildly popular. However that ending had not yet come to fruition, as slasher movies were still a viable marketing commodity and generating favorable box office results. Fans of the genre were still going out in droves to see their favorite infamous horror movie villain hack and slash their way into mainstream notoriety.

The VHS video market was also booming in the 80s where many movies found cult movie status on home video. To put things into perspective, the early 80s slasher boom was vital in creating what would become a long lasting trend in horror film making history. Its staying power is still felt today, with many franchises such as Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc., still finding economic success to this day. 

To fully paint the picture, this is the landscape of slasher movies that came out in 1984, like Splatter University, they include: Silent Night Deadly Night, The Initiation, Silent Madness, Fatal Games, Satan's Blade, and Zombie Island Massacre which also happens to feature the redheaded Splatter University star Denise Texeira on the front cover. Although she doesn't appear in the film itself, she is included on the front cover.

It's also interesting to note that Splatter University was released in the mid 80s yet was filmed in the golden age era of the early 80s, giving the movie a very unique and somewhat vintage being filmed in 16mm film and then blown up to a larger print for the theater release.

So with that being said now onto the story of Splatter University! We are treated to an escaped mental patient named William/Daniel Grayham (“Daniel” being a name discrepancy accidently left in the film for those who catch it early on in the film, something I noticed while doing a watch along with Richard W. Haines). This psychopath stabs his way out of an insane asylum and onto St. Trinians college campus where his psychotic rampage continues. 

Our first victim at Splatter University is a female professor who gets brutally stabbed inside her classroom. Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t pass the test known as “survival.” This now brings us to later in the school year, after the gory blood spilled mess has been fully cleaned up and mostly forgotten. Now a new batch of students are gearing up for a new semester of partying, promiscuous sex, hijinks, and only a little studying. I guess you can probably guess how this will go for them.

The students and faculty resume their lives and pursue their higher education despite the horrifying tragedy that took place. The dead female professor is now replaced with the lovely Professor Julie Parker. She's slightly naïve and equally as awkward and she is nervous. She also exudes a girl next door quality and does her best to ignore the extenuating circumstances, however, a killer on the loose has other plans for her and the students at Splatter U

The highly religious staff who run the campus faculty at St.Trinians are very strict. (St.Trinians, the official name given to the school, is an inside reference to a British television series). Father Jenson in particular is anxious and worried about the goings on in and around the student faculty.

Professor Julie Parker very quickly becomes the object of fellow teacher Mark Hammond's affection. He invites her out for dinner where he wine and dines her at a restaurant that looks extraordinarily similar to the interior of a classic Pizza Hut location. Initially she’s impressed by his advances but soon things turn sideways. 

We're also treated to a rowdy group of rebellious students. These additional characters were shoehorned into the movie to pad out the running time of the movie. There were only about 60 minutes filmed in 1981, so Richard W. Haines completed additional filming in 1982. Additional characters were also added to the plot and were a lot of fun to the overall atmosphere. Where would we be without the studded bracelets and poofy red hair of Denise Texeira, or the woofing and howling of Sal Lumetta as Wolf? 

Of course that’s not to say that these characters can’t be over the top and obnoxious. We have Kathy who just found out she might be pregnant; Wolf, a horny guy who howls at women like he’s howling at the moon; and of course Tony, who’s dating multiple women besides just Denise. They all seem as equally promiscuous and sleazy as the last person.

It’s not too long before someone is killed by an unknown assailant and disposed of in a commercial dumpster. (I’m sure their flailing business appreciated the gesture.) 

The iconic redhead floozy Denise’s death is a favorite of mine. A sleazy faculty advisor priest takes it upon himself to make a perverted overture towards the flirtatious Denise in his office, although she seems equally as sleazy as the perverted reverend. 

They set up a rendezvous back at her dorm room for later on. She returns to her dorm now wearing tiger print panties over black nylon leotards. She calls Tony to come over, presumably for some extra curricular activities, and after she gets off the phone hears some rustling in the nearby closet and decides to open the door. An arm pops out holding a long steak knife. Denise screams as the mysterious hand plunges the knife directly into the gape of her screaming mouth! An iconic cinematic shot to behold and well-worth the price of admission.

Another death involves a fellow sociology teacher who gets stabbed in her guts while using the ladies room, only to be discovered later in a filthy janitor's closet.

Understandably, Ms. Parker doesn’t take this death too lightly, being that it’s not the first time a teacher has been killed. She panics, flees from a consoling fellow teacher/love interest Mark, and heads directly home to begin packing her belongings so she can move away immediately. She has a hunch that Mark is the killer and he calls her back at her apartment but she hangs up immediately thinking she could be next!

She calls father Jenson and wants to see him before she leaves for good. She informs him that she knows who killed the teacher and fellow student Kathy, but Father Jenson informs her that he’s about to lock up the school and leave. She convinces him to wait. Father Jenson says he’ll leave the east wing side entrance unlocked for her and then proceeds to go outside and toss a bag of dirty magazines in the dumpster and then prays afterwards. 

Mark then shows up at Julie's apartment wanting to straighten everything out and confronts her about trying to leave. She knees him in the groin and hits him with a porcelain ornament before fleeing from her apartment. Father Jenson is still waiting back at the University as Julie gets in her car in a panicked frenzied state. She arrives frazzled and unnerved as she enters the unlocked east wing door.

Julie heads straight to Father Jenson's office and greets him as calmly as possible as he asks her to close the door and sit down. Ms. Parker proceeds to tell Father Jenson that before she terminates her position at St. Trinians, she wants to inform him who’s responsible for the recent murders. Julie says it was colleague Mark who killed Cindy and Kathy, but Father Jenson doesn’t seem so convinced. 

While this is happening Mark gets up groggy and tries to call Father Jenson from Julie's apartment only to find out that Julie is already back at the school with him. Back at the school, Father Jenson thinks that Julie has "let her imagination get the best of her," and that she’s overreacting. He mentions that she should have come to him sooner so that he could

"help her." 

Final Exam and Pranks aka The Dorm That Dripped Blood are two other school slashers that also feature a really good cat and mouse chase at the end.

Mark arrives at the school and the front doors are locked, and by this time it’s completely dark outside. The killer is hobbling after Julie with knife in hand through the empty corridors of the school, meanwhile, Julie’s doing her best to run as fast as she can to SURVIVE! While he’s checking to see if she’s hiding in her classroom, Julie goes into the ladies washroom, only to find another victim and then screams! This alerts Mark that she’s in serious trouble and he desperately tries to make his way inside, but every door is locked. 

Julie, in a panicked last ditch effort to survive, attempts to escape in a shipping elevator. She takes the elevator to an upper floor which may have been a critical error. As the door opens we see the killer walk slowly into view.

The killer makes his move towards Julie, putting her in a reverse choke hold, gripping her with his arm around her neck from behind. Julie gasps for air and her legs momentarily give out on her. As this happens, in a moment that’s truly shocking, the killer plunges his carving knife deep into her back...

Mark finally arrives and discovers blood pouring out of the elevator shaft. Just then we see the killer in his office placing a call to the police, seemingly trying to cover up for the murder. 

Mark, in a shocked and dazed state, comes to the realization of who’s behind everything, and calmly makes his way to Father Jenson’s office. As he enters, Father Jenson questions Mark, accusing him of breaking into the school, but Mark is unfazed, his gaze fixated on the wall behind the deranged and psychotic priest. Father Jenson turns around to see what Mark is staring at, revealing that his crucifix and hidden knife holder is dripping with Julie's blood on the wall!

Now the picture fades to black and we are forwarded to an insane asylum where we see the killer rambling to himself in a straightjacket in his wheelchair. Looking disheveled and crazy while rambling in an incoherent state, two clinical psychologists reveal that his true identity is Daniel Grayham, an escaped mental patient from Bellevue Hospital who’s been impersonating a priest at St. Trinians for two years! Then the Splatter University  graphic is displayed with its eerie synth score leading us into the end credits.

What I really like about Splatter University is that it never takes itself too seriously while still managing to be engaging. The movie knows it’s kind of a gag, yet doesn’t shy away from providing enough creepy moments and scares to keep slasher aficionados satisfied. It checks all the right boxes of what I’d want a movie called Splatter University to be.

As a slasher movie fan I was excited to discover this movie and it quickly became a personal favorite in my collection. I would definitely recommend this for fans of 80’s slasher movies and cult horror movies from the 80s or even modern horror fans looking for something awesome that harkens back to the good ol’ days!

Celebrate Splatter University's

40th Class Reunion!

Celebrate the Reunion with the Splatter University Novelization.

Following the original script, it combines the additional scenes from the second shoot as well as plenty of surprises and gruesome mayhem!

Also Available:

The Splatter University Yearbook

Covering the film from pre-production to release, the Splatter University Yearbook will take you back to the Golden Age of Slasher Movies! 60 pages in BLOOD DRIPPING COLOR!

The ICFH cover. This cover plays an important part to a new plot twist in the novelization. Available directly from ICFH. Email us for info at:

The KILL-COVER Yearbook is available exclusively at

The WEAPON-COVER Yearbook is available exclusively from

*Click on the Lunchmeat Cover to see their new VHS release of Splatter University!

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