Sorority House Massacre

03/02/2023 10:15

Film: Sorority House Massacre

Year: 1986

Director: Carol Frank

Writer: Carol Frank

Starring: Angela O’Neill, Wendy Martel and Pamela Ross



This is a movie that I learned about through horror podcasts. It popped up a couple times and it went on a list to check out. What made me decide to give it a go is that the randomizer selected it for my final New Year, New Movie for January of 2023. I figured at the least; this would be a solid enough slasher to keep my attention.

Synopsis: college student Beth (Angela O’Neill) and her sorority sisters are stalked by an escaped psychopathic killer who shares a strange telepathic link with her.

We start this in a what I’m assuming is a hospital. Beth is there and she is asked what happened. It feels like we go into the events that led her to be where she is. We are outside of a house that looks to be a sorority. The person walking turns out to be Beth. She is allowed in and we see that she looks to be a member but was away.

The premise here is that a bunch of members are head out for the weekend. Staying back are Linda (Wendy Martel), Sara (Pamela Ross) and Tracy (Nicole Rio). Beth is staying with them. Their boyfriends or guys who are interested in them are going to stay over. I believe they are Andy (Marcus Vaughter), John (Vinnie Bilancio) and Craig (Joe Nassi).

Intercut with this is someone being held in a mental hospital. His name is Robert Henkel (John C. Russell). He gets agitated when Beth is approaching the house. She also seems to be connected to him. He is in her nightmares and there are odd scenes there. It involves little girls outside. There’s another with life-like dolls at a dinner table.

Bobby then escapes. Beth knows something isn’t right and is worried. Everyone around her thinks that she is overreacting though. That is until Bobby shows up. He starts to pick them off one by one, like he did in the past. The question then becomes, why is Beth connected to him? And why is she seeing the events of the past?

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is that this is an odd little slasher film. This would be late in the boom so we are moving into the supernatural elements. It is taking an aspect from Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 3. I’m sure that wasn’t the first one to do it, but that is what popped into my head initially. It is also probably because they’re both slasher films. This one also seems to be borrowing heavy from Slumber Party Massacre as well. We got a lot of slashers like that, so it comes off generic with elements there.

With those opening thoughts out of the way, I don’t want to make it seem like what I’ve said there is bad. I have realized that I’m not the biggest slasher fan unless that movie sets itself apart. Despite my hangup, I think that this does good things here. I like that we most of the house leave for a trip. That gives us a small cast of characters. They’re not necessarily isolated, but their decision-making causes them to be picked off and not be able to escape. I don’t mind the idea here with a simple set up.

What becomes the problem though is that they don’t do much beyond the generic elements. The characters are wooden and bland. The kills are similar. I don’t know if there was censorship issue or just didn’t have the funds to make them look better. I just think that they’re building around the reveal that I predicted and the supernatural elements were also light. This is for more of the slasher purists out there.

I think that I’ll go over to the acting then. No one is great, I do need to state that. Everyone is just stiff. This does give us some nudity so I will give credit there. Outside of that, O’Neill is fine. Martel, Ross, Rio, Vaughter, Bilancio and Nassi are all lacking emotions. Russell is fine as our killer, but they don’t do much to have him stand out either. I know that for slashers, the characters tend to not be fleshed out. The problem though is that if you aren’t going to give great kills, we need better characters. This lacks both.

The last things to go into would be with the filmmaking. I’d say that the cinematography is fine. They do much there to stand out. It also didn’t do anything to take me out of it. The same could be said for the soundtrack. The effects are also fine, but I don’t remember most of the kills. It does stick to the killer using a knife to stab his victims. That becomes a bit boring though.

I don’t much more to say here. In conclusion, this movie is fine. It is lacking elements for it stand out. The acting is bland. No one is bad, but they all seem to be lacking emotion. The slasher elements are there. They just don’t stand out like they could. The kills are straightforward without showcasing the effects. I did like the psychic connection element, but that doesn’t save this either. This isn’t a bad movie. It is just forgettable. I can only recommend this to fans of the genre when deep diving.


My Rating: 5.5 out of 10