The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse (1977)

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CAMPUS CORPSE (1977)
aka Campus Corpse, The Hazing
Article 3907 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-15-2012
Posting Date: 4-25-2012
Directed by Douglas Curtis
Featuring Jeff East, Kelly Moran, Sandra Vacey
Country: USA
What it is: Not what some people would have you believe…

An athlete, going to college on a scholarship, decides to join a fraternity, but as part of his initiation, a terrible accident happens that results in the death of a fellow initiate. The head of the fraternity decides to cover up the incident, and the new initiate finds himself unwillingly caught up in the plot…

First of all, a few facts. My copy of the movie is in a DVD case that shows a close-up of a bloody face of a corpse, and has the phrase “From the producer of FREDDY VS. JASON” at the bottom. The tag line on the poster on the back cover says “What begins in fun suddenly becomes one corpse with thirteen killers… Now it’s their time for terror!” Now, from these two pieces of evidence, I’m under the impression that there was a real attempt to market this movie as a horror film. Well, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag on this one too much, but I do feel compelled to at least point out that the movie is not a horror movie, and anyone going in expecting one will be sorely disappointed.

Yet, at the same time, I can understand why it was marketed that way; it’s the type of movie that doesn’t want to give itself away. Anyone who wants to find a more accurate genre appraisal of the movie need check no farther than its classification on IMDB. However, despite its attempt to cover up its true intent, that poster does give the game away; it has one little blurb under the title of the movie, and I won’t repeat it here, but I will say that it’s the type of blurb that could have been used for movies like PSYCHO or HOMICIDAL. I saw the blurb before I saw the movie, and it was all I needed to figure out ahead of time things that the movie didn’t want me to know.

So if you’re interested enough by the plot description to see the movie, you may want to do so with as little advance knowledge as possible. Don’t expect a horror movie; go in expecting something along the lines of a crime drama inspired by a true story, and you’ll at least not go in with too many misconceptions. As for the movie itself, I though it was okay… no more, no less, though I might have liked it a little better had I not read that blurb I talked about. And there is at least one moment in the movie which does give it a twinge of horror.

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