How and why does anyone green-light another sorority slasher flick? How in the world will there be a return on investment? Having studied economics at an advanced level, the failure of the world to conform to the neat intersecting lines on those supply/demand graphs I once struggled over never fails to puzzle the shit out of me. I am reminded of an article from The Onion: "Continued Existence of Edible Arrangements Disproves Central Tenets of Capitalism". Or what about those mall candle stores? Even a smaller leased space at a decent mall can easily run the owner $15,000 a month. I mean, you gotta really hustle some wax to cover that nut. And yet there they are month after month. Who the hell is buying all that colored paraffin? Likewise, who is watching all these sorority slasher films? Someone out there is actually paying nine bucks to plop down in a seat just slightly warm from the moist bacterial action teeming microscopically within its fabric just to watch these things. Like the quantum wave-particle duality, it's yet another phenomenon I must add to that big Venn diagram superset of "Things-I-Do-Not-Understand."
Now bear in mind that, at this point, I haven't actually yet seen the movie I'm going to review. Just airing my prejudices in advance. A genre movie has a recipe of ingredients. But because you, dear reader, demand it, I have done research into the slasher genre to learn its consensus elements. Which means I read the Wikipedia entry on 'Slasher Films'. Don't bother reading it yourself unless you want to gain a deep knowledge of how terms like 'catharsis' and 'displacement' might apply. It's kinda dry, and dry is not what we're aiming for here. We've got a sorority, a party, and a massacre after all. I predict at least one sorority sister will meet her grisly fate before the opening credits. I predict a bare breast count of "High". I foresee the villain will actually be one of the sisters (not much of stretch as the trailer gives away that the girls are highly "competitive" and the cover art features a sister licking the sharp tip of a bloody butcher knife). Law enforcement will be inept. Each victim will meet a gruesome yet novel fate. Again, not a stretch as the trailer tells us that fire and bees (bees?) will find use. The trailer shows us teasing sexual play by the pool, but I'm going to go ahead and predict a group shower scene as well as such is mandated by federal law in any title containing the word "sorority". What am I missing? Oh yeah, scripted dialogue will be artless verging on wretched.
Okay seen it now.
Can I start over? Because right now I'm feeling pretty guilty for all the above nastiness. Why? Because Sorority House Massacre is actually some pretty decent entertainment. How does the film avoid being grouped with other straight up slasher films? By going unashamedly camp. Over the top acting, "sorority sisters" who should be no older than twenty-one but look more like worldly call-girls with inch-long faux eyelashes and stripper panties, and a local sheriff putting on his best Boss Hogg performance all combine, somehow, to convert a slasher horror into a fairly well-done slasher comedy.
Detective Watts, LAPD, is a ball-busting tough guy who's just been suspended by his boss for literally pistol-whipping a perp in the nuts. A fast cut montage of his character quickly educates us on his bad-ass bona fides. When a photo of the beat-down appears in the news, he's called before his Captain (Kevin Sorbo in an extended cameo) to turn in his badge and gun. The Captain is distracted from properly disciplining his detective, however, because he hasn't heard from his daughter who was on her way to Grizzly Cove for that sorority scholarship competition. While he's being dressed down we will follow Det. Watts as he dives into an instant semi-erotic fantasy involving the Captain's daughter, Holly. It's totally unexpected, totally over-the-top, and funny to boot. Emerging at last from his shameful mind-trip, Det. Watts convinces the Captain to let him investigate Holly's vanishing act reasoning that the assignment will, if nothing else, get him out of town and away from the media.
He arrives at Grizzly Cove to be greeted by the hayseed Sheriff and his slinky deputy. The deputy wears red stiletto heels on duty, and Watts has to exert himself to fend her off so as to maintain a professional distance. The matronly hostess, Ms. Stella Fawnskin (Fawnskin?), advises Watts that she has assembled only the finest representatives of the sorority's national organization drawn from hundreds of campuses. Annually, she holds a competition to award a sizeable scholarship. Quickly we are then introduced to the sorority sisters and victims-to-be, an introduction carried out pool-side so that maximum skin might be on display. (Our sisters, nominally of college age, are portrayed by starlets as old as thirty per IMDB.com. They are indeed sufficiently sexy for the purpose herein, but you may find they lack that convincing dew of actual youth.) As this is a competition, let the games begin.
Pace never falters after our characters are assembled. Watts soon learns that Holly isn't the only girl to have gone missing, she's just the latest. In fact, he realizes, whole handfuls of girls have gone MIA over the years that the creepy Ms. Fawnskin has been conducting her little annual retreats. The mystery established, our sisters meet their fates by the aforementioned bees and fire but also by hatchet or off-screen so that Watts finds only the grim remains. There will be unexpected twists which I shall not reveal, but the body count will be high.
How did I do on my predictions? Holly, the Captain's daughter, is dissolved by means of sprayed acid before the opening credits. So that's one. The breast count, which I predicted to be "High" came to a mere two pair and those only briefly. I'd call that "Low", so no points awarded. Though there is very brief lesbian play, it wasn't accompanied by shower and suds so, again, no credit. Law enforcement isn't inept so much as working at homicidal cross-purposes. As for my prediction of wretched dialogue, well, I again score poorly because the film zooms straight to farce with delightfully hammy acting.
Bottom line? If you're in the mood for mindless entertainment with a modicum of titillation, then abandon your preconceptions, pop in the disc and enjoy.