The trailer for this film had appeared in a few compilations and every time Becca and I saw it, we thought, “That movie looks so much better than the title.” Well, we were sort of right.
Sorority House Massacre is the only film Carol Frank ever directed. Before this, she was the Assistant Director on 1982’s The Slumber Party Massacre. Both films are incredibly similar, with young women partying all alone in a house until their boyfriends — and an anonymous male killer — show up. They even barricade a door with a dressed in both films. The influence goes so deep that the characters in Sorority are watching Slumber Party as the film within the film.
Where this film really becomes a carbon copy is its near worship of Halloween and Halloween 2, down to our heroine, Beth, being stalked by her brother, Bobby. There’s an attempt at style here, with match shots and cuts between the two of them to show how they are linked. There’s a definite Elm Street vibe here, as 1986 was late for the slasher genre. But without the awesome look of The Shape, it’s boring. I was half waiting for the scene where Bobby is knocked out the window for them to look outside and his body to be gone with a music stinger.
If you like 80s fashion, then by all means, seek out this film. There’s a great scene where the richest girl leaves the house and everyone tries on her clothes. It’s a moment that gives the film some nudity for the producers, some horrible library music for those that love 80s schmaltz and plenty of sweet, sweet shoulderpads and pantsuits for those that like that sort of thing (Becca).
I felt like there was a movie in here yearning to break free, to reject the urge to copy and become a strange American giallo of its own. It gets close, but if you have the same wish as me, prepare to be frustrated. My theory is that there are two budgets in life: money and time. You can get this movie relatively inexpensively, but you’d be better off watching any number of better constructed slashers.