Thursday, March 17, 2011

SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II (1990) - it's cleavers vs. cleavage and the result is Delta Delta deadly! (that's the actual tagline...swear to god)

Legendary cheesecake bard Jim Wynorski, despite following up a pretty straight forward Halloween rip-off, refuses to let go of his auterist stamp, maintaining a suffusion of genre camp and tits. This is further evidenced by the fact that SHM2 is mostly identical to another Jim Wynorski product, Hard to Die, which itself is billed as a rip-off of Die Hard, although it just feels like another Wynorski film like, say, Sorority House Massacre II. Hard to Die takes place in a high rise floor instead of a sorority house, and replaces stabbing implements with guns. Even the characters seem to be the same, although I don’t remember if they were wearing the same lingerie.

Robyn Harris, notable as being the only big breasted Hollywood exploitation starlet with a British accent, is seen complaining about being all cut up and stuff. We then flash backwards to a group of bombshells (also including genre superstar Melissa Moore) who have to transform some shit hole so-Cal house into a beer bong, panty raid haven of a sorority pad. Luckily for the audience, they have to stay the night despite the phone and electricity not being turned on. Melissa is confident the bottle of tequila she carries around will help them through any rough spots (my kind of gal). Curiously, there is a withered tree in the living room covered in Halloween store cob webs. Even more curious is the fact that some maniac killed his whole family at the same house five years earlier. The flannel clad, oversized retard neighbor comes over and tells the girls about the murders, using the Roger Corman pioneered strategy of using flashbacks to a film that has nothing to do with the film that they are being fitted into. It’s sort of like stock footage that lasts ten minutes long (in this case, the whole ending of Slumber Party Massacre).

The neighbor watches a clip of Corman’s Hollywood Boulevard and fingers through the various newspaper headlines of the killings (including an “Elvis Lives!” headline thrown in for good fun, or possibly pointing to a suspect). Two cops want to check out a call from the sorority house with no working phone, but are stymied by one of those typhoon-eque rain storms Los Angeles are famous for. One cop remembers the earlier murders, and mentions that “fingers were found in the sink, and scalps were found on the mantle”. He also mentions that the neighbor was a prime suspect. Uh oh.

Part of their investigation includes sitting in a strip club, where suicidal ex-porn star Savannah makes a “cameo”. They eventually interview a stripper, who apparently was present five years earlier in the Slumber Party Massacre stock footage. All of this is more important to the cops than visiting the house where a group of 32-year-old sorority girls are being murdered (the lead cop doesn’t finally show up until the next morning, just in time for the twist ending). Oh wait, I forgot…the rain. My bad.

Meanwhile, the girls investigate the creepy basement and find an ouija board. They do what any young buxom beauties would do; take showers (cleaning their breasts four or five times if needed), put on their nighties, chug some tequila, and try to contact the spirit of a psycho killer, amidst the crashing thunder and what not. The ouija pointer thing flies into the fireplace, creating a leaping fireball. This doesn’t concern the girls too much, and they hit the hay. The dark haired beauty in the see-through lingerie is miffed that her girlfriend starts boinking her man, so she grabs some tequila and decides to clear her head by investigating strange noises. She gets pierced by a hook, and this causes another strange disturbance which then requires further investigation, and so on and so forth. This includes a cool bit where one girl pops out from a bathtub filled with blood. Apparently, she was bathing in blood and fell asleep, like a lazy Countess Bathory or something. There is some twist ending supernatural bullshit, which I guess I should’ve seen coming considering the ouija fiasco from earlier.

So, while the first SHM was a dream based variation on Halloween, SHMII is simply a another variation on Wynorski-sploitation. No matter the genre or story idea, a true auteur always comes through with a genre of their own. Take, for example, Robert Bresson, one of the great French directors. Does he careen from the prison escape genre (A Man Escaped) to the sad animal genre (Au Hasard Balthazar)? No, he stays within the Bresson-sploitation genre, and the stories meet him on his own terms. It just so happens that the stories that seek out Mr. Wynorski usually involve buxom beauties wearing lingerie. I believe it was Ezra Pound that said "artists are the antennae of the human race", and Wynorski just happens to keep his big antennae erect at all times, just in case a signal comes sauntering by.

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