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Sorority House Massacre

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
New Concorde
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Carol Frank
Angela O'Neill
Wendy Martell
Pamela Ross
John C. Russell
Bottom Line: 

Writer/Director Carol Frank's first (and last, as of this writing) film, Sorority House Massacre, is a textbook example of what went wrong in the slasher genre that led to its late-80's demise; Recycled plotlines, horrible acting, ham-fisted direction, and absolutely nothing by way of scares, SHM is quite simply pointless and dull.
The film centers around Beth (O'Neill), a sorority pledge who begins having bad dreams when she arrives at the Los Angeles sorority house that she shares with a trio of giggly thirtysomethings. Meanwhile, somewhere upstate, a "comatose" mental patient named Bobby shares Beth's same dreams which prompts him to escape and seek Beth out. It seems that Beth is actually named Laura, and she is the only surviving member of Bobby's family, who he murdered 13 years ago in that very same house. After about a dozen false scares, Bobby finally shows up and starts bloodlessly killing the annoying girls and their equally annoying boyfriends until the movie mercifully ends.
Frank borrows much from Halloween, from the escaped mental patient/last surviving relative plot device to Bobby's stolen station wagon and several bad attempts at mimicking shots from Carpenter's classic. Frank also lifts a few bits from A Nightmare on Elm Street to make the overused dream segments carry on into Beth's waking moments. While imitation is considered a sincere form of flattery, I can't see how anyone could be too impressed with Frank's obvious attempt to cash in on what was left of the slasher craze. Frank's direction is sub-soap opera level stuff, with her actors barking out lines as though they were speaking to the deaf. The best performance in the film is probably John C. Russell as the crazed Bobby because he only speaks twice, and even then we don't see his face, so it could be a voiceover. It's little wonder that few of these actors went on to do anything else.
For those of you seeking out gratuitous T&A, well, there's just enough to make a few scenes bearable but the actresses aren't the most attractive lot, and you'd probably be better off taking your DVD money to a proper strip joint and get your jollies there.
Sorority House Massacre is part of The Massacre Collection (aptly titled!) from Concorde Home Entertainment. The film is presented in a dodgy full frame transfer that looks and sounds like a VHS port, which is no surprise given the fact that it's a "bargain" title ($9.99). It's also no surprise that the disc is devoid of extras (save for a few trailers for other Concorde titles).
Sorority House Massacre is 70 minute film that feels like it goes on for hours, filled with stupid characters, bad acting, ridiculous oversights (the house has no power, so to kill time everyone watches TELEVISION!) and painfully unexciting stalking scenes that have all the tension of an episode of Thomas the Train Engine.
Buy it only to set it ablaze.

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