The House on Sorority Row
is a 1983 Slasher Movie
and one of many released in the wake of other popular Slasher Movies like Halloween
, Friday the 13th
and A Nightmare on Elm Street
. It was moderately successful when it was released and is now a cult classic among fans of the genre. It got remade in 2009 as Sorority Row
with Star Wars
actress Carrie Fisher in a prominent role.
The story revolves around seven college girls staying in a Sorority House. It's the end of the year and all seven girls are graduating, planning to hold a huge party in the house at the end of the week. Unfortunately for them their house mother, the imperious Mrs. Slater, forbids it as for some reason she always closes the house on the same date every year before the other college houses close. The girls plan to get back at her by pulling a little prank which backfires and ends up getting Mrs. Slater killed
. Panicking, the girls hide the body in the pool and continue with their graduation party. Meanwhile someone is stalking the people at the party and murdering them with Mrs. Slater's own walking cane. Perhaps Mrs. Slater is Not Quite Dead
Provides examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Vicky was clearly one of these in high school.
- Big "NO!": Mrs. Slater's reaction in the opening flashback when she hears what happened to her newborn baby. It echoes too.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Three blondes, three brunettes and one redhead.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Mrs. Slater's cane. It's used quite a bit to further the plot.
- Vicky's boyfriend's gun as well.
- Creator Cameo: Film's director Mark Rosman appears as a party guest playing the piano.
- Developing Doomed Characters: A well-done example as the film does a good job of establishing the relationship between the girls and their house mother before the slasher plot kicks in. Though people who've read the synopsis will wonder when Mrs. Slater is going to bite it so the plot can start.
- Distressed Damsel: Katherine initially, though she takes on a proper Final Girl role eventually.
- Genre Blind: Stevie and Diane really should have known better than to go down into the pool cellar and garage alone. Also Katey leaving Jeannie alone when she'd just been attacked.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Jeanie is killed with the same knife she was going to defend herself with.
- On a larger scale, the girls' prank results in Ms. Slater's death, which means she can't take her mentally unstable son home and he winds up killing nearly all of them.
- Monster Misogyny: Six female victims, two male victims.
- Mushroom Samba: After Katherine is given the "mild sedative" by Dr. Beck, she starts seeing very weird things on two occasions.
- Not Quite Dead: Subverted in the case of Mrs Slater. Later played straight with Eric.
- The Reveal: Mrs. Slater's baby wasn't stillborn, he was just horribly deformed and mentally unstable, and she took him home every year on his birthday. It's him who's been killing the girls.
- Same Language Dub: Lois Kelso Hunt's (Mrs. Slater) voice was dubbed over because voice wasn't "scary enough".
- Samus is a Girl: Gender flipped. The killer is thought to be female but turns out to be male.
- Searching the Stalls: Happens when Jeanie takes refuge in the bathroom.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: Stevie's death in the basement.
- Slashed Throat: Happens to Liz with a hammer's nail removing claw.
- Slashers Prefer Blondes: Three blondes in the group. None of them survive.
- Stranger Behind the Mask: The killer is Mrs Slater's unknown son Eric who was born mentally unstable and physically deformed. We don't find this out until roughly the final fifteen minutes of the film.
- Vertigo Effect: Used when drugged out Katherine is running from Dr. Beck.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Peter is shot with a tranquiliser gun by the doctor, mistakenly thinking he's the killer but is otherwise not seen again.
- Vicky's boyfriend is last seen asking where his gun is about halfway through the film.
- Wild Teen Party: A wild college party, which allows for a couple of victims to disappear without anyone really noticing at first.