Six college sorority graduates want to throw one last party before they depart into the real world of jobs and responsibilities. The only problem is, their house mother is dead-set against the idea, telling the girls they’ll have to vacate the premises by the next day. Sorority charter rules state they can stay longer, but the mother is having none of it. The girls decide to defy her, and when one of them gets humiliated by the house mother, they decide to get revenge. The day of the party, they pull a little prank on the old lady, one that ends up with her accidentally getting shot and drowning in the pool. The girls decide to hide her body, have the party, and deal with her after it’s all said and done (real smart, huh?). But what they don’t realize is that they have a bigger problem than covering up a murder. It seems that someone is stalking the girls at the party and killing them, one by one. Is it the house mother, never really dead? Is it her ghost? Or is it something far, far worse, a hidden secret no one knew about but the house mother herself? As the bodies pile up, the mystery deepens…
The House on Sorority Row is an early entry during the blossoming heyday of the Slasher movement. It came at a time when the structure and “rules” of Slasher flicks were solidifying but still shifting. This one plays more like Black Christmas than Friday the 13th. A killer unknown to the victims is offing the sorority girls one by one, a killer that is fairly obvious to the audience, but a killer that not much is ever explained about. This isn’t a typical body count movie, although it does add up to that by the end, with some of the kills shown using shadow but others with a little bit of surprise gore and blood. The head in the toilet is the most memorable, of course. This one is commendable because it does feel different than most common slashers, and the premise is interesting, if hardly believable. The best parts come towards the end, the last twenty minutes or so being a pretty steady stream of death and suspense, all leading to a surreal climax as our Final Girl is dosed with a sedative and starts having strange hallucinations. This little bit alone adds to the sense of deranged danger and helps to separate this movie from the pack.
I’d say most people prefer movies like Slumber Party Massacre, but I’m in the camp that enjoys this one a bit more. It’s a little classier (actually, there’s nothing classy about this pic) and has that really interesting turn towards the end, where our hero is losing her mind all while a killer is coming to take her life. To me, that sequence alone separates this one from the rest of its ilk. You’re not getting a revelation here, or a reinvention of the subgenre. But House on Sorority Row is a solid little Slasher, and you’d be remiss to miss it.