Last night I watched 1983 slasher The House on Sorority Row, because – actually, no, I don’t have to explain myself to you.
A group of sorority sisters are getting ready for a party, when they accidentally kill someone. So what do they do? Call the police? Hide the body? Nope, they leave the body floating in the pool – and carry on with the party. How did these idiots get into college in the first place?
The girls themselves are an identikit set of slasher fodder – their acting could easily be replicated by jiggling some mops around, though the mops would have to be prepared to go topless.
There ensues the usual combination of boobs and butchery, but there’s disappointingly little gore for the most part. Why do you think I’m watching this? For the performances? The themes? The sexual politics?
The story, for want of a better word, is a rip-off of Friday the 13th – itself a rip-off of Halloween – making this about as original as a party conference speech, and almost as dull.
Then, in its final ten minutes, The House on Sorority Row takes a welcome turn for the terrifying. The climax is funny, tense and scary, based on the universal truth that clowns are horrific.
Other highlights include a brilliant shot involving a toilet, a doctor who looks like John Shuttleworth, and an accomplished score by Richard Band, which does all the heavy lifting.
But overall, this is a skippable entry into the sorority-slaughter sub-genre – a genre that stretches from the comparatively ingenious Black Christmas to the annoyingly funny Scream Queens. The film is dumb and derivative, but displays momentary flashes of competence.