Friday, October 10, 2014

The House on Sorority Row (1983)

Back in the 1980s the sorority slasher films were a dime a dozen. You could count on a new one every other week. I swear we could have had three shelves at the video store dedicated to this sub-genre. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little bit. But still you’ve got to do something interesting to stand out from this crowded field. Does this 1983 flick have what it takes to be memorable?

As we all know sorority girls just want to have fun. But that is really hard when your dorm mother is the stubborn and inflexible Mrs. Slater (Louis Kelso Hunt). She is such a pain in the butt that Vicki (Eileen Davidson) decides to play a nasty prank on her. After she threatens to the old woman with a gun, things take a turn for the worse. Mrs. Slater ends up dead, and the girls panic. The wrap up the body and toss it in the filthy pool and go ahead with their party… because this is college and PARTY!

Well since this is a slasher flick we know all the good times can’t last. Soon enough a mysterious killer is hunting down and bumping off all the girls involved in Slater’s murder. Even more horrible is that it appears that Mrs. Slater may have risen from the pool for revenge. Can sweet and wholesome Katherine (Kate McNeil) stop the killer and figure out the secrets of The House on Sorority Row before it is too late?

Good Points:
  • Some creative and gory kills
  • An interesting twist on the revenge angle
  • Looking for 80s nostalgia overload – this is the movie for you

Bad Points:
  • The 80s nostalgia overload may kill some unprepared viewers
  • The twist has been used before and since
  • Has a few moments of “how the hell did that just happen?”

This was an entertaining slice of slasher movie fun. It’s got all the goods: gory kills, jump scares and cute girls running around. The 80s cheese factor is high, but that adds to the charm. While I did see the twist coming, it was kinda neat and certainly put a different spin on things. The score was also surprisingly good with some really solid orchestral cues by Richard Band. If you’re in the mood for a vintage slasher on a Friday night, this will work great.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 3
Acting: 3
Script: 3
Music: 4
Direction: 3
Entertainment: 4
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. I've seen the so-so 2009 remake of this ("Sorority Row") but not the original. I usually like cheesy 80s horror and sf though. "Night of the Creeps" is a favorite for the double nostalgia. Maybe I'll do a home double feature including "The House on Sorority Row."

    1. I still need to check out "Night of the Creeps". It is on my radar though. I think that might be a fun flick for October. :)

  2. I haven't seen Sorority Row, maybe I can find it on YT or elsewhere. I wonder if Carry was the first horror movie to invoke that twist ending? You can probably trace it back further than that, perhaps. At any rate, yep, tis the season for a little horror. Mine started out with the Omen series, though I avoided Omen 4, which I heard was terrible. I might have to find a few recent horror movies to watch as well. Tonight, is the premiere of the new season of The Walking Dead. I've also been watching some of them on their marathons.

    1. I know that "Halloween" had the first "Killer isn't quite dead yet and pops back up for one more scare". Most slasher movies were modeled in some way off "Halloween". But "Carrie" did come out first, so maybe that is the original of the surprise ending.

      Or you could go back to "Psycho" where the twist comes halfway through the movie and we still get plenty of good scares as the film continues from that point. Just rewatched that film over the weekend and man, does it hold up well. Hitchcock knew his stuff.

  3. Good call on Psycho, and I agree.

  4. Man I need to see this one, I love movies that are excessively 80's!

    1. Oh man Francisco, you need to see this one. The party montage will blow your 80s lovin' mind. The band is trying soooo hard to be The Cars, the clothing, the dancing, the odd little WTF moments. I was in 80s cheese heaven. :)

  5. I love 80s slasher flicks, but somehow missed this one. I did see he '09 remake which was okay, but I need to check this one out.

    1. Give it a watch. It is a lot of fun. Thanks for commenting.