Mrs. Slater is a very odd, mean old bitch who acts as house mother to the Theta Pi Sorority. Since she is usually a pain in the ass to the sorority sisters they decide to play a prank on her that goes horribly wrong and leads to her accidental death. The sisters cover it up and continue on with the party they were planning to have that evening, but someone starts killing them off one-by-one. Is the killer Mrs. Slater who is seeking revenge on the sisters for their actions or is someone else to blame?
I love “The House on Sorority Row” and consider it one of my favorite slasher flicks from the 1980’s. I saw it one Friday night on cable when I was a wee lad and I loved every minute of it (I actually found parts of it to be a little creepy when I was a kid), and it is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and never get tired of. It has all the essential ingredients needed to make a great slasher flick including a creepy opening flashback scene, a weird character dealing with some sort of unexplained incident that continues to haunt her, horny, drunken sorority girls, a prank that ends in tragedy, and some unknown person killing off the people responsible for what happened as a result of said prank. In short if you love slasher flicks like I do then this movie is definitely for you and you will without a doubt dig it.
Though it may not be the most original horror film in the world I still can’t help but love the premise. I have always been a sucker for the old “killer knocking off people because of a prank that went terribly awry” slasher movies, and in my humble opinion House on Sorority Row, Slaughter High, and Terror Train probably handle this storyline the best. I think that this film in particular played a big part in setting the bar for similar movies that followed and that it deserves more credit and respect than it gets. If you ask me I think that it is every bit as enjoyable as the better known slasher flicks that came from this decade such as the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
There are many reasons that this movie is one of my favorites, and one of those reasons is that it has such a dark, ominous tone. Unlike some 80’s slashers this one is played pretty straight for the most part and there is a huge lack of cheese that is present in many similar films that were released during the time of its release (and the latter part of the decade). As I said earlier I actually found this movie to be a bit frightening when I was younger and there are several scenes that really freaked me out when I was a kid (the bit with the toilet was pretty damn hardcore for its time). Mrs. Slater is a creepy-ass old lady and the fact that there is obviously something going on with her medically that we don’t know about makes her even scarier. The killer’s costume (which is a jester’s costume) scared the piss out of me the first time I saw it and I replayed the spooky last scene in my head over and over again several times when I was growing up which led to a lot of sleepless nights. It doesn’t bother me when I watch it, but looking back it was one of the few slasher flicks that really scared me when I was a kid and I can see some viewers even today finding it to be a little unsettling.
If you haven’t seen “The House on Sorority Row” then you need to do so as soon as possible. It has an awesome plot, a well-written script, and a few scenes that may actually make you jump. It also boasts a very talented cast (my favorites being Eileen Davidson who plays the bitchy sorority sister Vicki and Lois Kelso Hunt as the mean-spirited and crazier than Hell Mrs. Slater) and a pretty impressive body count that includes some pretty fun death scenes. Unfortunately this movie was “remade” as the terrible cinematic abortion known simply as Sorority Row which is basically unwatchable, so stay away from it at all costs as it is an insult to the original (I feel it is my civic duty to warn you). If you enjoy a good 80’s slasher flick (or just a good horror film in general) then I can’t recommend this movie enough. Go check it out, you can thank me later.
The House on Sorority Row (1983)