The House on Sorority Row (1983)
What’s It About: A deformed son murders a bunch of girls in vengeance for his mother’s death. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- When watching 80’s slashers you have to get used to the fact that all of the flashbacks are going to be between 1960-1963. Killers always have to be in their roaring twenties.
- A scalpel ran through candlelight was suitable enough sterilization in the 1960’s.
- Some of these girls in the graduating class look to be 30 at best.
- Why was Mrs. Slater’s voice so horribly overdubbed?
- Every drinking scene has to have someone in a fucking CBGB’s T-shirt.
- Mrs. Slater sure is quite the curmudgeon.
- Burning photos of past sorority girls and smashing the frames with your cane? You’re heading for red-herring status Mrs. Slater.
- Condom use in a slasher movie? Say it ain’t so!
- Diagnosis says Mrs. Slater’s brain is going kaput, something tells me she’s gonna bring this party down.
- Let’s examine this gun loading scene: 1 live round, then 4 blanks, then 1 more live round for the kill shot. Who loaded it, Crispin Glover? I don’t why but that joke works for me.
- Why don’t frat guys ever ask sorority girls if they speak Greek before sex? That joke definitely makes up for the Crispin Glover one.
- Mrs. Slater’s cane finds the throat of a wandering nerd and we’re off to the races.
- How could any guy in his right mind ever think he could get laid wearing a sweater vest?
- Slater’s cane stabs one of the guilt-by-association girls 3 times and we’re at #2.
- The biggest tits in this movie belong to the fat bastard who goes swimming with his frat pals.
- For a really disgusting pool that the girls said no one uses, a lot of people sure are jumping in it.
- If you play keyboards in a band and you’re not Keith Emerson (RIP) or Rick Wakeman, you’re not cool and you never will be.
- Morgan plays with the creepy jack-in-the-box and gets the Slater cane through the stomach. Let’s have a hand for #3.
- Mrs. Slater’s body goes from the pool, to a closet, then to a dumpster. The old gal was more mobile in death.
- Gee, there’s a costume in the attic that is identical to the one in the jack-in-the-box. Should that cause concern?
- Horror movie cliché #759 – someone hears a noise and asks, “Is that you—?” It never is asshole.
- The bathroom stall doors all get soaked when the killer turns on the shower for some reason, and we have #4.
- Dr. Beck’s explanation of this whole meshugas is very, “I saw-that-coming.”
- Liz gets her throat cut in a Chevy van and that’s all right with me for #5.
- Vicky Harvey Oswald gets the cane a few times in the stomach and then one in the eye for #6.
- When Vicky’s body is shown in the open grave, her eyeball is completely fine. She must have the Weapon X healing factor.
- You would think that Dr. Beck is in on the killings the way he bosses Kate around and throws sedatives everywhere like Mardi Gras beads.
- The killer is named Eric, so the filmmakers could have gotten away with calling this movie, “The Phantom of Sorority Row.”
- The experimental fertilization drugs that caused Eric’s deformity apparently gave him a Michael Myers-mask face.
- Have you ever coughed while puking? I haven’t. I think it’s impossible, like sneezing with your eyes open.
- After shooting at Eric and missing completely from a distance of 3 feet, Kate pulls the classic Superman from the 50’s bad-guy move and throws the gun at him. Why am I rooting for her at this point?
- One of the dolls in the attic just happens to have a knife in its neck after you rip the head off?
- Talk about an ambiguous ending: Kate stabs Eric and he falls out of the attic, Kate sighs with relief, and then Eric opens his eyes. Cut. Print. Credits.
Is It Actually Scary: The kills are pretty startling, and the final act has some pulse-pounding moments to it.
Scariest Moment: When Eric looks up at Kate without his mask on is kinda scary.
Most Disturbing Moment: Watching Vicky’s gradually declining mental state in trying to cover her tracks for shooting Mrs. Slater. With a good lawyer she probably could have gotten the charge knocked down to involuntary manslaughter and got out in 10 with good behavior. I’m spitballin’ here, but you never know.
Dumbest Moment: Listening to the awful toasts the girls give each other during their final party together.
How Much Gore: Moderate amounts of blood since the most gruesome kills were cut to make an R rating.
Best Line: “C’mon Vicky you deserved it, can’t you fuck anywhere else?” Why don’t movies have screenplays this good anymore?
Best Scene: Watching Mrs. Slater commit coitus-interruptus by stabbing Vicky’s waterbed.
Worst Scene: Hands down the apparently no-need-for-a-second-take reading of this now classic line:
Any Nudity: Collegiate breasts at their finest.
Overall: This movie is now a cult favorite within the genre and you can definitely see why. It just has that feel to it, the steady air of mediocrity that somehow doesn’t allow you to hate the film completely. It was re-made in 2009 and unless before dispatching the killer, Rumer Willis yells, “Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker;” I wouldn’t watch it for all of the loot in Nakatomi Plaza’s vault.
Score: 7 dead sorority girls (out of 10)