"College Prophets: A century old guild of students who make savage their bodies yet refine their minds". This brief onscreen scripture gives way to very attractive credits that include visual introductions to the prophets in question: Tommy, Rye, Bells, Billy, Million, Jonah Joe, Midas, Sunshine Sal, Professor Holiday and Third Reich Jones.

As the credits end we're introduced to Robinson college, named after a magician who once lived on it's grounds. We focus on friends Tommy (Thomas Edward Seymour, A NEW WAVE) and Rye (Philip Guerette, THRILL KILL JACK IN HALE MANOR) - a couple of beefed up young fighters constantly being threatened with expulsion by the college Dean (Dick Boland, JOURNEY OF THE STEAL-PROOF MASTER).

Spell-maker Tommy narrates, telling us how he and Rye have grown close over the years due to their alienating open speeches and violent confrontations with the other students. He enlightens us on Rye's "exacting" nature towards combat - explaining that Rye was hospitalised after a car smash, and lost a rib when the infamous "Pharisee Butcher" paid him a visit in hospital and cut it out. This experience, along with the murder of his parents, has - understandably - left him with a deep desire to control his destiny through whatever violent means necessary.

To illustrate this point, we're treated to a diner brawl when Rye and Tommy are disturbed from having a quiet drink with their girlfriends by Billy and Million, two fellow students looking for a scrap. Needless to say, our dynamic duo win the bout - much to the disgust of onlooking Jonah Joe (Russ Russo, ENVY; THE CASUALTY). Joe, it seems, has issues with Tommy - and is desperate to kick the shit out of him.

Later, Rye and Tommy visit their good friend Professor Holiday (Carmine Capobianco, PSYCHOS IN LOVE). He teaches classes on the similarities between Newton's law and the laws of Karma - all of which becomes more relevant as the story unfolds ...

Holiday points out a book that has recently been discovered, written by Robinson - who supposedly was a magician. The boys dismiss it, but this too will find relevance later ...

Unperturbed by Holiday's warning that the Dean is desperate to expel them, Rye and Tommy move on to the courtyard to deliver another of their antagonistic speeches to students. This one is on the beauty of eating red meat. The Dean watches from afar, then orders Midas (Matt Ford, HEDDA GABLER) and his fellow security guards to remove the speakers from the campus.

Back home, Tommy is bored, hungry and peniless - he wants to hang out with Rye, but Rye needs to go and dump his girlfriend. So Tommy sees if his own girl, the sexy Bells (Tina Angelillo, WELCOME TO EARTH) wants to do something - but she, too, is busy.

Bored, Tommy goes for a walk through the streets ... only to fall foul of Joe, who is waiting in an alley to ambush him.

Bloodied and bruised after their fight, Tommy moves on to a restaurant where he takes a table and requests an ice cube for his black eye. While waiting, Tommy spies Rye and Bells at another table, discussing their desire to be together. Flipping out, Tommy challenges Rye to a midnight showdown.

After a brief montage of both boys preparing physically and mentally for their bout, they meet at midnight at an old well on the college grounds. The well, Tommy tells us, is known as The Well That Ate Children - as several kids have disappeared near it in the past. Even Rye is superstitious about fighting near it, but an agressive Tommy leaves him no choice but to do so. Unseen by them, fellow student (and brick shithouse) Third Reich Jones (Paul Desimone, THE GYM WARRIOR VIDEO) is passing by and decides to watch the ensuing tussle.

The bad news for the three of them is that Tommy has cast a spell on the well hoping it will swallow Rye. When Rye's blood spills on the well, the ground shakes and all three men pass out.

The following morning Rye and Tommy are suffering from nausea. Jones has it even worse - he's turning blue!

When Rye visits Holiday for advice on how to stop the well's evil spell, Holiday agrees to help - if only to save his laboratory rats, which are starting to explode!

Putting their differences to one side, Rye, Tommy and Joe join forces to fathom out how to reverse the evil at work ... and kick the crap out of plenty of people in the process!

As you can no doubt deduce, THE LAND OF COLLEGE PROPHETS is pretty senseless. It's downright silly at times. But it's also inventive, witty, original and unpredictable.

The script, by Seymour, is quick and often amusing. The performances are generally solid, with the main characters shining through as likeable, misunderstood guys. There's some great gags that work well (Capobianco is reliable as ever), but moments of surprisingly effective pathos to balance things out too.

While the budget is obviously small and the whole thing is shot on Mini-DV by a tiny crew who appear to have chipped in and done everything themselves, the film looks stunning and is beautifully photographed. Seymour's score adds weight to the action too, sounding very professional and classy. Seymour directs the film too, along with Guerette and Mike Aransky (who call themselves The Hale Manor Collective).

The action itself is expertly choreographed, with plentiful fight scenes and some stunts which could have easily gone horribly wrong. On a physical level, the cast is extremely talented.

A whole lot of care has gone into the making of THE LAND OF COLLEGE PROPHETS and as a result it rises way above the mediocre SOV films currently saturating the genre's market. In short, this is an entertaining, fast-paced, original, visceral piece of film-making that proves you don't need a million dollars to out-thrill the mainstream.

This screener DVD presents the film in non-anamorphic 1.66:1 and looks very nice indeed. The 2.0 audio is equally good. The only extra is an exciting trailer that last for just under 2 minutes.

The DVD is currently available from, or you may wish to learn more from visiting ... and salivate over the team's forthcoming movie BIKINI BLOOD BATH ...!

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Hale Manor
Region All NTSC
Not Rated
Extras : see main review