September 28, 2015

The House On Sorority Row (1983)

Title shot from the film.
"In an interview with TerrorTrap.com, director Mark Rosman stated that he dislikes the US poster art for this film. Rosman's idea for the film's poster was a Deliverance-style image of a hand rising out of the swimming pool." (IMDB.com)

This is the DVD cover art. If you see this somewhere, grab it, because it's out of print and hard to find. 

This was another fun Hulu find, but it's available in it's entirety on YouTube. I remember watching this one as a kid, and again just a few years ago. And I remember liking it both times, but I remembered nothing about the plot. So, that made this even more fun! Fresh eyes and all. 

Before I get busy spoiling it, let me go ahead and say that, despite the fact it is definitely dated, this is a really well-crafted and clever movie. I liked it a lot. And, if you're reading this blog, you probably will too. Definitely give it a whirl, preferably while wearing your slouchiest pair of leg warmers. 

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

To start our story, there's a completely unnecessary and overly-dramatic opening scene (originally filmed in black and white, but later tinted blue in post-production, because someone thought it mattered) where we see a young woman in the throes of a painful and complicated birth getting a baby cut out of her belly. When she asks about the baby, we're given a vague sort of "I'm sorry" from the doctor, and that's it. Like I said, totally unnecessary. This tidbit of story could have been placed into the film with some character exposition later on. Pressing on...

We flash forward to graduation day in the early 80s. Seven sorority sisters are standing in front of a lovely mini-mansion, donning white caps and gowns, smiling from ear to ear. Everything's ducky for these ladies. What could go wrong?


The gals are supposed to be all moved out of their sorority house by the end of the day, but they decide to stay and celebrate instead, giving us these line-gems:
"Mama always said I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. But you were wrong, Mama. It's up my nose!"
and
"I want to thank you all for making me what I am today... wasted!"
(Goddammit, I miss the 80s.)


Anyway, this irritates their sourpuss house mother, Mrs. Slater, who demands that they get out by the next day. 


During the night, Mrs. Slater overhears archetypal sorority bitch, Vicky, making sweet noisy love to her man-friend on a brand new waterbed. So, Mrs. Slater does what any dour house mater would do - she uses the beak of her creepy bird cane to bust the bed open, getting water everywhere, angering Vicky and providing motive for our story. Vicky's pissed and she wants revenge. So, she decides to pull a prank on Mrs. Slater by placing her bird cane in the middle of the dirty swimming pool and forcing her to climb in and retrieve it by gunpoint. Vicky thinks there are blanks in the gun, but when Mrs. Slater tries to cold-cock Vicky with her cane, Vicky fires and Mrs. Slater falls dead into the pool. Uh-oh. That can't be good.


Well, of course, they decide to wrap the body in blankets and towels and chuck it back into the pool. After all, they're having a party later! And they don't want to get caught. Priorities, people. One of the sisters, Kate, dissents, but is ultimately forced to get on board the 'Let's Sink Slater' ship. 


Now it's party time. And the absolute best thing about the party scene isn't the disco ball or the flouncy 80s dresses. No, it's a band called 4 Out Of 5 Doctors. They're never named in the film, but I thought they were so fabulous and so quintessentially 80s that I just had to look them up. And, apparently, they have a crazy story of their own. To learn more about them, click HERE.


During the party, the kids are getting picked off one by one. Some of the victims are boys, most are our sorority friends. At one point during the festivities, some rowdy boys try to throw one of the girls into the pool, but she's saved by her sisters. That's when they remember that the pool has lights, and if anyone decides to turn them on, it's curtains for our Theta Pi's. So, they send one of the girls into the pool house or the basement or wherever it is to make sure that the fuse switch for the pool lights is in the permanently off position. That's when she eats it. 

By the time the girls are being publicly congratulated by the radical band, they are so freaked out they can't even muster smiles.


Eventually, troublemaker Vicky decides that they need to move the body (which has since inexplicably left the pool and made it's way to the attic, where it came tumbling down onto one of our ladies) into the local cemetery, with the claim that, "No one will ever find it there!" Nice one, Vicky.

They use a big metal garbage container to transport the body down the road and to a van belonging to one of our girls. They almost get caught by a wide-eyed man of the law, but they manage to slither past him. When they finally make it to the cemetery, they locate a freshly-dug grave that does not yet contain a tenant and decide to dig it two feet deeper so they can slip Mrs. Slater into it and cover her up. When the funeral for whom the hole was originally intended happens, Mrs. Slater will be forever buried under the casket and no one will be the wiser. But, Vicky and her friend eat it at the cemetery and we don't get any more bright ideas from either of them. 

Meanwhile, good girl Kate has found Mrs. Slater's medical alert bracelet and calls the number on it, which connects her to the doctor we saw delivering the baby in the opening scene. The doc comes to the sorority house and he and Kate bond over stories of Slater's deformed baby and Kate's murder confession. That's when we learn that Slater's "baby" has been living in the attic for decades and is, oh yeah, totally psychotic. Of course! He saw his mom get killed by the pool and now he wants those bitches to pay the fiddler. So, the doc decides to forcibly sedate Kate and use her as bait (har har, "sedate Kate and use her as bait" sounds like a creepy Dr. Seuss rhyme) to catch the killer, who's name we now know is Eric. 

Thanks to the drug, Kate has some pretty trippy hallucinations involving Mrs. Slater and her deceased sorority sisters, which is fun. I'd also like to point out that Kate is wearing white pants throughout the duration of the party and chase scenes, and never - NEVER! - do they get dirty. You go, girl.  



It's late and I'm getting sleepy, so let me wrap this up quickly. Kate fights through her haze and runs upstairs to get Vicky's gun. The doctor chases her but gets killed by Eric. In the final scene, Kate is in Eric's room, hiding and waiting. 


But Eric is in the clown suit, the one she thought was just a suit. It's not a suit, Kate. It's a dude!! RUN!!!

They tussle. She gets away. But before the credits roll, we see Eric's eyes open and that's it. They're fates are left up to our imaginations. 

Final Thought: This movie is awesome. Good night.


No comments: