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Film / Sorority House Massacre

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Who'll survive the final exam?

Sorority House Massacre is a 1986 American Slasher Movie written and directed by Carol Frank and co-produced by Roger Corman. The film focuses on a group of sorority girls who stay at their host house over the Memorial Day weekend hoping to have a good time with their boyfriends. Meanwhile, a serial killer who murdered most of his family over a decade earlier has escaped from a nearby mental hospital after developing a seemingly inexplicable psychic connection with one of the sorority girls.

Basically, it's Halloween in a sorority house and on Memorial Day. Loosely connected to the Slumber Party Massacre franchise due to their connection with Roger Corman. Followed by two sequels: Sorority House Massacre II and Sorority House Massacre III: Hard to Die.

This film has examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Bobby Henkel.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Beth survives but not only are all her friends dead, but it's likely she'll be haunted by the memory of Bobby for the rest of her life.
  • Cain and Abel: The main character Beth is the sister of the film's Big Bad, Bobby Henkel, who murdered their three sisters and parents fifteen years earlier and is now back to kill her. Ultimately, it's Beth who takes out Bobby.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The police arrive at the end, though by this point, everyone except one girl has been killed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The knife in the fireplace.
  • Covers Always Lie: The woman in the film poster? Yeah, she doesn't appear in this movie.
  • Creepy Basement: Linda and Beth escape into one in order to avoid Bobby. It's implied that Beth hiding here during Bobby's first massacre is what saved her life.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: At the age of five, Beth's brother Bobby killed their parents and three sisters and attempted to kill her. She suppressed most of the memories for the next fifteen years before she developed an inexplicable psychic connection with her brother.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Beth impales her brother through her neck with a knife as she says something like "My name's not Laura!"
  • Fan Disservice: Both Tracy and Craig are half-naked and naked, respectively, during their sex scene. Then both are quickly attacked by Bobby.
  • Fanservice: Tracy exposing her breasts and Craig getting nude.
  • Final Girl: Beth is the kind Naïve Everygirl, who ends up taking out her mass murderer brother.
  • Follow the Leader: Most obviously, it's a cash-in on Halloween (1978) but also of The Slumber Party Massacre.
  • Foreshadowing: Beth's initials LBH are on her suitcase and are also the initials of the sorority house. It hints at the fact that she lived in the house before it became a sorority house.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Aside from the fact that he killed his family and wants to kill his sister, the audience knows next-to-nothing about Bobby, except the fact that he has psychic dreams, which are unexplained and more a Plot Device than anything else.
  • Hallucinations: Bobby hallucinates that Sara is one of his deceased sisters, then he stabs her to death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Beth kills Bobby with his own knife.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: It's Memorial Day weekend when the massacre occurs.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Bobby is impaled through the neck by Beth with his own knife.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Beth impales her brother through the neck in the finale.
  • In the Back: When Bobby first attacks Beth, he stabs her Love Interest John in the back as she dodges the attack. Later, Linda is fatally stabbed in the back just before she could escape with Beth.
  • Insistent Terminology / Madness Mantra: Bobby keeps referring to Beth by her real name "Laura". The sole instance in the film where he calls her "Beth" is in Beth's final dream in the movie.
  • Jerkass: Andy taunts his girlfriend by mentioning a story about how a cat could feel when her kittens were being killed.
  • Jump Scare: A bloodied Bobby pulling back the curtains to Beth's hospital bed and saying her name in a final dream.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: The audience gets some shots of Craig's bare ass as he attempts to escape Bobby.
  • Male Gaze: There are several shots of Tracy's breasts.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Excluding the original killings, more men (an orderly, the elderly shop owner, Andy, John, and Craig) are killed by Bobby than women (Tracy, Sara, and Linda).
  • Middle Name Basis: Beth goes by her middle name instead of her first name "Laura", likely because her aunt wanted to protect her.
  • Monochrome Casting: Aside from background characters, there are no non-white characters within the main cast.
  • Monster Misogyny: Slightly averted. Barring the original massacre, five men and three women are killed in Bobby's second murder spree. Also, while Bobby's main target is a woman, it's not motivated by misogyny but rather his desire to kill his last remaining family member.
  • Nephewism: Beth was raised by her aunt.
  • New Transfer Student: Played with. Beth moves into the sorority house at the start of the film, but seemed to have been attending the college for some time.
  • Nice Girl: Beth. Really the other girls - Tracy, Linda, and Sara - aren't too bad either, though some verge on Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
  • Not Quite Dead: Andy.
  • Out with a Bang: Tracy and Craig are having sex in a tipi when Bobby first attacks them. Tracy is killed outright, but Craig escapes...only to die later.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Subverted with a variation. Sara trips over Tracy's body, which is in sight of the audience but not to her or the others, when attempting to run away from Bobby, who then stabs her to death when she's on the ground.
  • Playing Possum: Bobby briefly fakes his death, then stabs Linda in the back.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: Much like Michael Myers, Bobby kills people with knives. When he busts out of the psychiatric hospital, he robs a knife and uses it for his first killings. Then when he finds his switchblade in the sorority house, Bobby switches to using that knife.
  • Recycled In Space: The basis premise of the first two Halloween films - a mass murderer going after his sister upon escaping from a psychiatric hospital - is copied here with some changes.
  • Shared Dream: It seems that Bobby and Beth are having the same dreams but from their own perspectives.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Andy is an attempt at being the Plucky Comic Relief in the film, and is the first to encounter Bobby.
  • Slain in Their Sleep: Beth's love interest John is stabbed in the back before he can wake up and be alerted to Bobby.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Played with. Most of the victims are brunettes, though the blonde Linda is killed as well. The survivor, Beth, has dark hair.
  • Sole Survivor: Barring Bobby (who murdered most of the family), the only survivor of the Henkel family is Beth. By the end of the film, Beth is the sole survivor of both her entire immediate family and the people in the sorority house.
  • Spiritual Successor: To some degree, the The Slumber Party Massacre franchise. Both were produced by Roger Corman.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Bobby Henkel was implicitly a teenager when he killed his parents and sisters.
  • The Unreveal: The only supernatural element in the film - why Bobby and Beth have a psychic connection - goes unexplored.
  • Wild Teen Party: Beth, Sara, Tracy, and Linda planned one during the weekend.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Bobby Henkel murdered three of his younger sisters and attempted to kill the fourth.
  • Your Worst Memory: Beth suffers from dreams that are really flashbacks to the night of her family's murders. It's only until she correctly guesses some things (like the location of Bobby's knife in the fireplace) and when Bobby breaks into the house that she realizes that the "dreams" are memories.