THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CAMPUS CORPSE (1977) aka THE HAZING
D. Douglass Curtis
SHREIK SHOW/ CODE RED
The potboiler released by Code Red is an unusual beast indeed. Billed as a horror film in some circles and a comedy in others, it really is neither. It is a bizarre attempt at a campus based thriller with a twist ending.
The movie follows rising track start Craig Lewis (Jeff East, the spitting image of William Katt) as he starts at the best school on the continent. He foolishly agrees to pledge the big frat house, The Delts along with his new friend Barney (Charles Martin Smith, the "name" involved here since he was hot off of AMERICAN GRAFFITI). But during their hazing in which they are forced to run across country in their jock straps, Barney is badly hurt. By the time Craig returns, Barney is dead leaving the fellas to hide the body and come up with a plan to fake his death. Naturally none of it goes quite as planned.
This is a very slight movie that wouldn't be on anyone's radar had it not been for the complete turnabout in the final act. I wont spoil it here, but it re-contextualizes everything that came before and is a bold and risky plot device. The acting ranges from OK with Jeff East doing his best to be a whiny bitch. The head of the Delts played by Brad David is particularly good. he does sociopaths really well, check him out in THE CANDYSNATCHERS for another great performance from him.
Ultimately the movie is nothing special, but it is diverting enough to check out once. Just don't expect a blood bath or laugh riot.
Review © Andrew Copp