The House on Sorority Row (1983) Review: Murderous Pranks
“Pledge Theta Pi… and DIE!”
Synopsis: After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation.
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The House on Sorority Row is part of two time-honored slasher traditions: coeds getting picked off one by one, and accidents coming back to haunt you. Though it includes the expected cute girls in lingerie (or less) and several murders, the movie does have a few more tricks to offer than the generic slasher.
Firstly, there’s the plot. There are plenty of accidental death revenge slashers out there that take place on anniversaries years later, but The House on Sorority Row has the killings begin almost immediately – so quickly, in fact, that the coeds have yet to dispose of the body. What that means is that the girls have a strong reason for not calling the police once they begin to suspect something is wrong. We also get to see their emotions in the aftermath of the death, which is an interesting undercurrent throughout the movie.
Secondly, though the gore effects are generally minor (and bad), there are some other good elements at work here. The filmmakers put some effort into the cinematography and music, for starters. There are also some hallucinations toward the end that I found pleasantly creepy. Add in that most of the girls have at least a little bit of personality or backstory, and you get a surprisingly solid college slasher.
Despite all that, I’m unlikely to seek out House on Sorority Row on a regular basis. Much as I appreciated the nudity and extra effort, there wasn’t enough special to lure me back over the countless other slashers. I wouldn’t avoid watching it, but I’m not going to buy it. If you haven’t seen this ’80s slasher flick, it’s worth a watch – but maybe just the once.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+
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