The House on Sorority Row

10/02/2018 07:19

Film: The House on Sorority Row

Year: 1983

Director: Mark Rosman

Writer: Mark Rosman

Starring: Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson and Janis Ward



This film I heard about and I actually had seen the remake when it hit theaters back in college. I was intrigued to see this original film and when Bloody Disgusting brought it as a special screening, I jumped at the chance. The official synopsis for this film is 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.

We start off back in 1961. We see a woman who is pregnant go into labor. A doctor arrives to help. Something goes wrong and the mother is distraught.

Next we shift to graduation day where we see the group of seniors in this sorority taking pictures out front of their house. This is modern day so we are looking around 1983. They are planning a big party at the house, but they are supposed to be out on June 19th. The house mother, Mrs. Slater (Lois Kelso Hunt) closes up the house that day. We see her as she talks to a Dr. Beck (Christopher Lawrence). There is something not right with Mrs. Slater and necklace with emergency contact info is given to her. He wants her to stay in the hospital, but she threatens him and leaves.

Something I really liked about this film is Katherine (Kate McNeil) is packing with her mother. Katherine doesn’t know what she is going to do next now that she is graduated. Her mother wants her to move home and this hit me pretty hard. I experienced a similar dilemma in my life after graduating so I could connect here. She is convinced to stay until Friday by one of her sisters to go to party. It is also revealed she has a blind date coming to it now as well.

The sister in charge of planning this is Vicki (Eileen Davidson). We get introduced to her as she goes to a barn with her boyfriend, Rick (Michael Sergio). He produces a gun and she fires it. This part of the film poses an issue for me as it doesn’t make sense why she wanted it. It makes sense for what causes the problem, but there is no real reason for it. She brings him back to the sorority house and they start to have sex. They are interrupted by Mrs. Slater who is disgusted by Vicki. She threatens to kill Mrs. Slater.

Mrs. Slater also informs the girls that the party is not going to happen. They are all hanging out by the pool, which is gross since it has not been cleaned. Vicki comes up with the idea to prank Mrs. Slater to get back at her for what she did. It is at this time that we see a window closing in the attic. Katherine also notices this. There is a scene earlier where Mrs. Slater goes up there and there’s a ton of children’s toys. Also a creepy clown mask and jester outfit.

The girls set up for the party and Mrs. Slater comes in. She freaks out on them and Vicki asks about her cane. This leads everyone to the pool where the prank takes place. It ends up with Mrs. Slater possible being shot and falling into the swimming pool. They decide to hide the body in the pool until after the party, much to the dismay of Katherine. Someone then starts to kill off the sisters as the night goes on.

I do have to say that the pacing of this film is good. We don’t really lag at any point and does really get right into it. We get deaths at a pretty solid intervals and that is mixed with the girls trying to figure out what is going on here. I will say though, the film was a little bit too predictable for me. I know I have heard a podcast talk about the film, but I don’t think they went into spoilers. I knew who the killer was really early on and I wished they would have had some sort of twist. The ending was a little too abrupt for my liking as well. The film also has quite a few things that I should found to be unrealistic. Like the reasoning for Vicki to have the gun, I get they wanted it for the prank, but there’s no good reason for it. There is also Peter (Michael Kuhn) who is supposed to be Katherine’s date. He just literally hangs around most of the film for no reason. He is ignored for a lot of it, but still just keeps popping up. I wanted more for his character to make sense of this.

The acting I thought was okay. McNeil was fine as the hero and really is the only one with a backbone. She wants to do the right thing, but goes along due to the mob mentality. Davidson is great as the bitch. We also get to see her topless and semi-nude, which I did enjoy. Hunt was solid as the mean housemother. I thought the rest of the sisters were fine. They all have a different personality; they just aren’t really fleshed out. I couldn’t tell you what any of the rests names were, but I could describe them. The rest of the cast round out the film well also.

As to the effects of the film, I thought they were pretty well done. The blood looks good and everything was done practically which is good to see. There is a few times where you can tell that what is being stabbed is a dummy or the effect. I don’t mind this, because we only get quick glimpses before cutting away. The film also was shot pretty well. I think this is one of the stronger parts of the film.

The score I have to say really didn’t stand out. It never took me out of the film, which was good. I had no issues with it. I do have to comment on the creepy tone that comes from the music box was well done. It is played over the credits which was very effective lingering feel.

Now with that said, this film I thought was fine. I like the idea of a prank gone wrong, even though I thought the prank used was kind of weak. The mystery wasn’t really there for me, so that does hurt the story of the film. I do like the underlying issues of graduating and not knowing what to do with life. There is also the aspect of doing something that could ruin your life and owning up to it. This is very relevant in the news. I thought the acting was decent, no one stood out, but there wasn’t any bad acting. The pacing was also fine. The effects were good in my opinion. The score didn’t stand out aside from the Jack-in-the-Box toy. Aside from that it doesn’t hurt or help the film. Overall I’d say this film is above average and worth a viewing if you like slasher films.


My Rating: 7 out of 10