Written by Fantasma el Rey
“Sister in life, sisters in death.” That’s the tag line for The House On Sorority Row, the 1983 horror/thriller that recently (late 2009) spawned a remake. I don’t know what the remake is like but the original is a fun little romp filled with bad ‘80s hair, decent suspense, and killings galore plus a good amount of nudity. The plot isn’t too terribly bad either.
Writer/director Mark Rosman opens his thriller with a doctor’s house call on a stormy night in 1961 and we witness what appears to a botched childbirth by C-section. Fast-forward to the then-present, early 1980s, and that same old house on Sorority Row. We see a handful of happy young girls after their graduation, filled with hope for the future; little do they know that their future will be slashed short.
The mean-spirited housemother kicks all the girls out by a certain day every year, no exceptions. This year's lot of girls isn’t going to play her game and they’re gonna stay anyway and party like crazy; no crabby old coots stopping them. So the girls of Theta Pi sorority plan their party and a prank on the old maid they despise so much. But their prank goes tragically wrong and the old bag is killed and “hidden” in the old green, slimy pool out back or so the girls think.
While the graduation party rages on, a few extra rowdy guests head out back to play in the filthy pool and as the nervous girls rush to herd the boys back inside, they discover that the body is missing. And this is when the fun starts. The girls involved begin to disappear one by one as they are killed off and thrown in the pool. So the slayings go on and the old doctor from ’61 is phoned and brought back into the picture. Ninety-one minutes and a somewhat cliché ending later all is revealed.
The House On Sorority Row isn’t really a slasher as Rosman tries to pay homage to Hitchcock and other masters of film, having some murders off screen or in shadow. The ending, which is the best part, makes the whole damn picture worth seeing for that scene alone. Too bad we didn’t see a bit more of that or the original ending for that matter which Rosman was forced to cut by his backers. He describes the lost scene pretty well and leaves us thinking that the original ending would have put this movie truly over the top in cult-horror film history.
Bonus features to this 25th Anniversary Edition DVD include a story board comparison, photo gallery (with some nice stills) and a decent audio commentary by Rosman and actors Eileen Davidson, who we see topless in the film, and Kathryn McNeil. The DVD cover is also noteworthy for the fact that it features a scantily clad hottie in front of a creepy, gothic looking big window. Hubba, hubba!