Reviews

Sorority House Massacre (1986)

Who will survive the final exam?!

After working as a production assistant on Slumber Party Massacre, filmmaker Carol Frank was given carte blanche by legendary producer Roger Corman to make her own slasher movie. And that’s how we ended up with Sorority House Massacre, the most unique — and criminally overlooked — slasher of 1986.

Final Girl Laura (Angela O’Neill from Grandma’s House) spends a lot of time having dreams, talking about them, and trying to figure them out. Meanwhile, the rest of the film enacts the biggest rip-off of Halloween since Offerings, but with a couple of glaring differences: The killer wears Nikes and Ocean Pacific t-shirts. He also has a large beer gut. The female Dr. Loomis investigates from the privacy of her own living room. There’s a lengthy montage in which a group of girls try on clothes while dancing to a fake Hall & Oates song. Clothes fly through the air. Drum fills align perfectly. Then, the killer leaps from the ground and jumps through a second story window.

On the surface, Sorority House Massacre is a 74 minute, mainline injection of everything cheapo-yet-linear in 1980s slasher chic. The bizarre apparel, the barren, smoggy Los Angeles locations, the weird dialogue (“He’s a real pale fucker!”) — it all works out for a night of doped-up entertainment.

But like Slumber Party Massacre before it, Sorority inverts the typical gender expectations of slashers while doubling as a skid row version of Halloween. And that’s the movie’s greatest strength. Thanks to the dreamy camera work, a focus on women’s perspectives, and the greatest cameo by a Smurfs piñata in motion picture history,Sorority House Massacre ends up feeling like a slasher version of Beaches on the set of Saved By The Bell.

This is also known as paradise.

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