Sorority House Massacre (1986)

Sorority House Massacre (1986) – There is a man some of you may have heard of named Roger Corman. He makes cheap movies. He has for over fifty years. Said cheap movies have given starts to stars like jack Nicholson. Some of them launched the careers of directors like Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, James Cameron, Joe Dante, and Peter Bogdanovich (many of these director later gave Corman small cameos in their more prestigious films). Many of his cheap flicks are cult classics like Death Race 2000, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Piranha, and The Little Shop of Horrors, which inspired an off-Broadway that itself was adapted to a much larger budget film (Death Race 2000 and Piranha also got big budget remakes). A lot of his films could be a pretty god damn cheesy. Nowadays his companies are responsible for a lot of the stuff like Dinocroc vs. Supergator that you see on the Syfy Channel. He sees what’s marketable and he jumps right the fuck on that bandwagon… but much much cheaper. Sometimes his movies end up better than they have any right to be. In the mid-1980s the slasher craze was in full force with Friday the 13th spitting out another sequel every year. Corman saw what working and decided to get on that shit right away.

Beth (Angela O’Neill) is a college student who is moving into a sorority house after the death of the aunt who raised her. She starts getting a funny feeling once she arrives at the house, like she’s been there before… She has weird dreams, cryptic premonitions, and visions of a madman (John C. Russell) coming to kill her. Anyway that madman is Bobby and he’s incarcerated across town in a mental institution for the criminally insane. Apparently Bobby murdered his whole family… except his little sister who went to live with their aunt. Anyway he’s been catatonic for years but lately has been stirring… Many of the girls at the sorority house decide to leave for the weekend leaving only Beth, Linda (Wendy Martel), Sara (Pamela Ross), and Tracy (Nicole Rio) behind. They invite a few guys (Joe Nassi, Marcus Vaughter, Vinnie Bilancio) over and plan to have some fun. However Bobby breaks out of the institution and heads for his childhood home… which as you may have guessed has since been turned into a sorority house.

Now a cheap slasher knock-off featuring a bunch of sorority girls is not a movie you can truly dissect with the full array of precision tools at a critic’s disposal. I’ve oft written of my enjoyment of Friday the 13th sequels and they certainly don’t fall in the pantheon of quality cinema. Still, by every imaginable metric Sorority House Massacre is a total piece of shit. I don’t judge the movie by a very strict set of a criteria, but let’s break apart the title Sorority House Massacre shall we? I know sororities are big on community service and whatnot but let’s not kid ourselves; when you see the words “sorority house” in a movie title one expects titillation… specifically tits. The movie does have scenes of brief nudity (strategically times to come just when the movie was boring me to death, it seemed) but it’s not very much. The last word of the title is “massacre” and from that one may infer a certain level of carnage. This is not a very bloody movie. Everyone who is killed is stabbed with a knife and not very graphically. This is an exploitation film that never really gets a handle on its exploitative elements and it commits the worst sin of all: being very boring. It ain’t really much of a surprise that director Carol Frank never went on to the prominence of those aforementioned Corman-schooled directors… or even directed another film after this one. Skip this piece of shit.

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