Fate is a bitch.
Fate is you surfing around the various movie-centric pages you’ve “liked” on your social media platforms — and having the cover of Todd Sheets’s ode to sorority babes on Paul Zamarelli’s VHSCollector.com group starring back at you.
Fate also means you have to review that movie of your youth for the future analog generations of snowy n’ white noised video horndogs — regardless of that film’s actual lack of horns, hooters, and dogs.
Sheets is part of the ’80s SOV vanguard inspired by the self-made, 16mm exploits of New Jersey’s Don Dohler who gave us charming, ’70s drive-in schlock such as Fiend. It was the efforts of Dohler that paved the way for the shot-on-video and released straight-to-VHS purveyances of Dennis Devine, Donald Farmer, Jon McBride, Brett Piper, and Mark Polonia — each who we’ve gone on about at the site, to your ad nauseam chagrin.
The resume of “Kansas City’s Prince of Gore” dates back to Blood of the Dead, issued as two, two-part shorts in 1985. The Karo syrup and Spirit Gum mayhem got really interesting with his energetic, sixth production — which became Sheets’s most successful rental — Dead Things (1986). While many SOV’ers are long since done and gone (Justin Simonds of Spine fame, vanished; Farmer and Polonia are still spinnin’ the sprockets) — Sheets is still at it (and on film #51) with his most recent offerings of Hi-Death (2018) and Clownado (2019).
Now, you are most likely questioning our raving about these camcordered efforts and their makers. You must understand that we, the Allegheny cubicle farmers of B&S About Movies — as our buds over at Wild Eye Entertainment complemented us — are doing our part to hold up the old guard of the genre-writing filled zines of the ’80s that first covered this then new sub-genre of shot-on-video films. So we give SOVs a break — a very wide berth (see Nigel the Psychopath, as an example) — that we would never give to the direct-to-streaming horror that gets released today . . . well, unless that 21st century DTS’er is from one of the ’80s old guard, such as Donald Farmer — who got his start with Cannibal Hookers (1987) and most recently released Shark Exorcist (2015) and Bigfoot Exorcist (2021) — and Mark Polonia — who recently released Noah’s Shark (2021) that’s written by fellow, digital SOV-rebooter, John Oak Dalton.
While the video box claims this fifteenth production from Sheets is a “sequel” to David DeCoteau’s USA Network cable-run Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988), in reality — outside of DeCoteau producing the film and the title similarity — it’s not.
DeCoteau, if you’re not familiar with his works, is also part of that ’80s SOV vanguard: only he, unlike his analog brethren, was able to transition out of the shot-on-video realms to produce actual “films” distributed by indie shingles (Wizard Video and Empire Pictures) with the likes of Dreamaniac (1986) and Creepozoids (1987) — both which, like Sorority Babes, not only became top home video rentals but also oft-programmed cable television favorites. And double-D, as with Donald Farmer and Mark Polonia, is still making movies, only more successfully: Decoteau just released his 25th “Wrong” movie for the female-centric Lifetime channel, The Wrong Valentine (2021).
So, with most of the adult film-centric cast from the real “sequel” to Prehistoric Bimbos in Armageddon City (1991), Sheets weaves this tale about five well-endowed bimbos of the down-and-out Kappa Beta sorority given a chance to join the more fashionable and popular Felta Delta house. The “death” comes in the form of their initiation: spending the night in an abandoned and rumored-to-be-haunted college. Complicating matters is that the girls screwed with an antique crystal ball during a seance (between their floor games of Twister) that unleashed a force trapped inside. And the entity is pissed and follows them to the abandoned college. Also along for the ride are two, pizza-delivering frat nerds trying to score and two crusty antique dealers who’ve tracked down the ball and only they can reseal the demon back inside.
Again, we give these camcorder, brick and mortar-released SOV flicks a lot of critical wiggle room, but man: this one really is a mess and it has none of the charms of the cheaper and less skilled Nigel the Psychopath. The frames are perpetually soft focused, the “acting” is non-existent to the point of bimbettes reading off-camera cue cards, the juvenile sex jokes don’t land, the effects are cheap ‘n’ fake (a self eyeball removal; a 2×4 shoved down the throat), and regardless of sleeve’s promise: there’s little-to-none of boobs and blood we came for. Hey, it’s only 70 minutes of your time and a forefather to today’s direct-to-streaming horror films. So view it as a historical, celluloid artifact to file away in your grey-mattered trivia banks to amaze your friends with your film knowledge. You know, like I am doing to you, the three people who read this review (okay, one: namely me).
In the end, this wasn’t bloody and trashy enough for me back then or now during this second go around — not after the joys of renting Sheets’s two-part Blood of the Dead and Dead Things all those snowy n’ white noised years ago. And here I am, all these digital years later, lamenting my Todd memories (to myself) and getting free on-the-job screeners of his latest flick, Clownado. So, while the circle completes . . . the circle should really be broken because I am too old for this SOV shite. . . .
“Get that motherf**king VHS tape out of my motherf**king VCR!”