Thursday, December 9, 2010

BLOOD SISTERS (1987) - sorority pledges spend the night in a haunted whorehouse, a high concept twist on boring academia

Their Hazing was a Night to Dismember
- words that are printed on the VHS box for Blood Sisters

Hmmm. Although this makes no literal sense, I would hate to think this to be merely a pithy display of wordsmith switcheroo. Digging deeper, we learn that director Roberta Findlay’s closest competitor in the feminine trash movie sweepstakes is Doris Wishman, who may have succeeded with a horror film of her own had it not been partially destroyed in a lab and resultantly cobbled together out of outtakes and unrelated footage, and thereby promptly forgotten (and since resurrected on DVD, and forgotten again). The name of the film? Yes. A Night to Dismember. Pure unbridled coincidence? Me thinks no. The tag line may be a private dig at the movie, in the sense that their hazing shared the less than flattering qualities of said movie; that is, thrown together, nonsensical, psychotic, and occasionally out of focus (read: unfocused). Never has a vaguely catty comment been buried in plain view within such a nonsensical pun on a VHS box. All of this illustrates once again that feminism is (often) a bottom line business. Equality, in this case, is achieved only when women are allowed to out-exploit each other in the game of carving up coeds and/or porn stars.

The story begins with little Jesse D'Angelo who, amongst many other unchronicled achievements I’m sure (getting laid maybe), is a bit player in no less than three heavy metal horror movies (Rock N' Roll Nightmare, Black Roses, and Zombie Nightmare; the loyal punters may have noticed that I have now reviewed every single film Jesse has appeared in, except for something called The Jitters). He’s walking home from school when a little girl unsubtly takes verbal jabs at him, implying (more stating outright, actually) that his mother is a whore. This proves devastating to little Jesse, and he runs home crying to said parent, who indeed lives in a whorehouse, because she, indeed, sells her ass. The thriving family business hits a bump in the road when someone barges in and unloads shotgun spray at any and all hookers within shouting distance.

Thirteen years later, we’re at one of those sorority pledge rituals where a bunch of girls are wearing hooded robes and holding candles, literally spewing a mouthful of Greek salad (well, not literally…that would be gross). Later, at a party, we start to get to know the girls through some lusciously straight forward character development. For example, one of them walks up to the nerd girl in glasses and says "do you have a date tonight? No? Well I've got three!". This quickly segues into a lusciously synthy sex scene that further develops the story (no it doesn’t). The next day, a bunch of frat buddies decide to set up some trick scares in that old spooky whorehouse where a bunch of prostitutes were murdered. This includes fat guy Larry, played by John Fasano, the borderline genius director behind the Jon Mikl-Thor vehicle Rock ‘n Roll Nightmare. Poor Larry is seeing and hearing things that may qualify as "paranormal activity", and is so shaken to his jelly-roll core that he accuses his friend of having “tampon breath”. He then promptly flees for his tubby life, resulting in a Dukes of Hazzard-esque roll across the hood of a car, reminding me of the time I accidentally sideswiped a big fatass swan.

So the girls all get in a van and head out to the scary whorehouse to spend the night as part of their hazing. One of the girls is a cross country runner, and this is readily apparent to the viewer, as she is wearing a reflector vest and is constantly stretching. Another girl remarks that the house is "like a Hitchcock reject" (and I tend to agree with her in the sense that this film is not quite as good as Psycho), and there is also a character named Marnie, providing the fairly common, yet no-less-exciting “dual ham-fisted Hitchcock homage”.

Well, the girls start glimpsing the ghostly apparitions and gags set by the “fratasses” (that’s frat + fatass…P.S. I occasionally make up my own words). The main girl tells a campfire story in front of a fireplace (close enough), proclaiming that "they say the ghosts of the dead prostitutes and their tricks still haunt these hallowed halls". They correctly attribute the ghostly activity as being the handiwork of drunken assholes, but they continue on with their scavenger hunt, despite the various dead hooker legends that are brandied about. They split off and form pairs, searching the dark house with flashlights in hand while some unruly prick repeatedly headbutts a keyboard. One girl is not particularly interested in the scavenger hunt, and instead invites her boyfriend over to scavenge the inside of her pants. Periodically, there is a nice effect where a girl will stop and glance into a mirror, becoming hypnotized and feeling herself up, while a brothel scene from way back when is projected in the mirror. This allows the girls to free themselves of any social conditioning, becoming engulfed in the erotic ways of the world’s oldest profession.

Well, the girls start getting offed in lame, bloodless ways by some stalker wearing a dress. Once they start to figure out that they are being killed (spoiler alert!), they head for the van and try and escape, but of course the piece of shit won’t start, "just like in any good horror film" one girl proclaims. This seems to imply that Blood Sisters is not a good horror film, as no such distinction would otherwise have been necessary. Usually when a van doesn’t start in a horror movie, a character will lament that “this is straight out of a bad horror movie!”. I suppose they’re referring to Blood Sisters. Sometimes, I wish characters would shut up about vehicle issues people are having in other movies and just get the fuck out of dodge.

The girls lock themselves in the van, but (despite the pretense of a higher education) decide to go back in the house because it’s cold outside. The cross country girl decides to put her talents to use and run through the woods to find help, all the while being chased by a dress wearing mad slasher. Luckily, she’s a burner, and manages to get to a road and hail down a station wagon. Meanwhile, her friends are not enjoying much success staying alive. The nerd girl drops her glasses and accidentally steps on them, eschewing the influence of Alfred Hitchcock for the less subtle work of Scooby Doo. Just like Velma (and pretty much every nerd girl character that made it on to the silver screen in the 80’s), when she loses her glasses, she becomes a raving Hellen Keller, unable to make out so much as the Hindenburg sitting three inches from her nose. The glasses define these characters, and therefore they are powerless without them, and, not to mention, easier to kill.

Well, in the end, the killer turns out to be the final girl's boyfriend from the earlier bump ‘n grind segment. Surely he must have a legitimate reason to off his hot piece of ass girlfriend and her homies, all in the prime of their young lives. The girlfriend, sobbing uncontrollably as her one true love is about to hack her up into coed fillet, asks him how he could plumb such horrific depths. He explains that he’s “just crazy", and then promptly stabs his girlfriend with a Rambo knife. I assume he’s little Jesse all grown up, the trauma of his dead hooker mom having lead to his psychosis…or maybe not. Either way, if you don’t have a solid reason to hack up your girlfriend, at least show a little class and make some shit up.

The pork patrol finally arrives the next morning with the cross country girl, as apparently the house is a seven hour ride from the nearest telephone. Of course, Mr. bacon bureaucracy doesn’t believe her and leaves, and this display of apathy from NYPD's finest drives her totally bonkers. No worries. Her mental faculties may have evaporated, her academic future disintegrated, her friends slaughtered like pigs, but hey, at least she can safely drive away in the van and head back to the warm comforts of a girl’s dormitory. Unfortunately, the crazy boyfriend is still out there roaming the streets and, more to the point, hibernating in the back seat.



The end.

Credits roll.

Fuck You.

No comments:

Post a Comment