With the title Sorority House Massacre, and it being another Corman production, you’d think they’d be ripping off Slumber Party Massacre, with maybe an innovative twist thrown in (like, instead of 18-year-old high school seniors showing their goodies before being slaughtered, we have 19-year-old college freshman). However, this is not the case. The filmmakers simply rip-off Halloween whole hog, with some admittedly cool dream sequences shoved in there, to please fans of movies that half-heartedly rip-off A Nightmare on Elm Street.
We open with final girl Beth, lying in a hospital, recanting a story within a framing device, a fable of Michael Myers-esque proportions, scored to a symphony of John Carpenter-isms. Beth is getting acquainted with her new sorority while a nutbagger at the local funny lodge is poised to escape and return to his home, which happens to be the previous incarnation of the sorority house (oops, I gave it away). Going to sleep in her new bed, a Police poster hangs above her head...
She starts dreaming of visions of the night, no longer a spirit in the material world. She approaches a mysterious house, and three little girls have a message in a bottle: get the shit outta dodge. She ignores their warning, because when the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around. She finds another four girls wearing chubby faced doll masks, sitting at a dinner table, perhaps symbolically positing that Beth should try and re-humanize herself. Well, apparently, everything she does is magic, as she telepathically causes blood to drip from the ceiling. Oh no, de do do do, de da da da, it’s actually coming from a bleeding bed upstairs. A bottle of marbles shatters on the floor in synchronicity, which I think symbolizes that you should never stand so close to me whilst being wrapped around someone’s finger, lest bringing on the night should drive you to tears.
Tea in the Sahara.
Well, Beth wakes up and is greeted by Sarah, her of the perky attitude and even perkier fruit print dress. Beth reveals that she has a scar from when she was young, but doesn't remember who or what caused it. She also has visions of a psycho sticking his knife through a mirror, and a school desk. Must be one of those foreshadowing deals. Beth also seems to be a bit aloof from the other girls, what with being all fucked up in the head and what not. They try to integrate her into normalcy by engaging in a dress-up montage, scored to tuneless sax solos and peeped upon by a Dee Snider poster. Seriously, I could sit through this montage if it ran for a full three hours. The eighties were truly the zenith of the “girls just want to have fun” montage we all know and love. I guess Cyndi Lauper took it with her when she fell out of favor with the gluttonous whore that is pop culture in general.
Back at the mental motel, the psycho crushes the skull of a male nurse, who is listening on his walkman to the same song that played during the montage in the previous scene, in some kind of brilliant post-modern cinematic overlap. Either that, or the nurse managed to snag a pre-release copy of the Sorority House Massacre soundtrack. Awesome. Meanwhile, the girls decide to get down to college business and do some drinking. They all talk about dream imagery, and specifically what Beth's dreams might signify, and resultantly provide exposition we already know. Across town, he psycho walks into a hardware store and steals a knife, just like in Halloween, but also stabs an employee, which totally doesn’t happen in Halloween. This might qualify as innovation, although Michael would have gladly stabbed an employee if the store wasn’t closed at the time.
Well, the girls set up a teepee sex and booze party, celebrating the gracious Native Americans, who let us permanently borrow their land for a giant national parade of tits and beer. Their respective boyfriends show up, except for Beth, who gets some blind party date. They all gather around the fireplace and talk about the stabber freak, who killed his mother, father, and little sisters in that very house, 13 years earlier. Beth decides to take a nap and sees the killer come into the room and stab the top bunk, further foreshadowing the obvious. Our killer finally shows up in a stolen station wagon (the same fucking vehicle that was used in Halloween) and goes to work, stabbing the shit out of anyone who dares attempts to start a collegiate lifestyle at the very abode where he killed his entire family for no reason. Comic relief comes in the form of a dude whose girlfriend gets hacked up while they’re getting it on in the teepee, and he spends the rest of the movie running around naked, monumentally nonplussed about the whole situation. In the end, our heroine vanquishes the villain and ends up in the hospital, recovering from her trauma and revving up for the sequel. Unfortunately for her, the killer jumps out from behind a curtain…but of course, it was all a dream. I guess I should’ve seen that coming. Jesus fucking Christ.
In a way, life is merely a dream, and dreams are merely little detours, or maybe glimpses into some alternate life. Or maybe, just maybe, a collection of expository passages in a horror film, peppered with blood dripping from the walls and creepy fucking kids. After all, it was Carl Jung himself that said “don’t ignore your subconscious, especially when it’s repeatedly stating the obvious”. Of course I'm paraphrasing. Great thinkers use fancy words, and fancy words cause the common man great headaches, and I'm just trying to help.