• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Sorority House Massacre

TITLE: Sorority House Massacre

YEAR: 1986

GENRE: Horror

In the 1980’s there probably was not a film more duplicated than the 1978 horror classic Halloween. Slasher-type horror films were everywhere in the drive-ins and Mom and Pop video store shelves by the middle of the 1980’s. The truth of the matter is that most of these films were not very good bordering on downright awful, and fortunately will stay eternally lost in VHS-only hell. Periodically though one of the copycats would add a little additional creativity that would raise the film above the clones so that it could stand out in its own. Even though it is an obvious rip-off, Sorority House Massacre is a better than average 1980’s slice and dice film with some creative sequences.

Beth (played by Angela O’Neill) is a quiet, quirky former orphan turned college student who moves into a sorority house at the end of the school year. She shares the house with a handful of sorority girls who are more interested in sleeping with their boyfriends, drinking beer, and wardrobe changes than their studies. Through hypnosis courtesy of her sorority sisters, Beth brings up repressed memories of her childhood: her youngest brother Bobby (John C. Russell) killed her entire family, and it turns out that the sorority house is the home where the murders happened. The sorority sisters believe that it is awesome that they live in a “haunted house”, but change their tune when Bobby and Beth make a type of psychic connection during the hypnosis. It is time for a family reunion, Bobby brings his sharpened hunting knife, and the sorority girls and their boyfriends are not invited.

The best aspect of Sorority House Massacre that makes the film unique among 1980’s slasher films is Beth’s extremely well done dream sequences in the first half of the movie. Blood dripping from family pictures, serene dinner scenes with gore dripping from the ceiling, and dead parental images are part of the flashbacks throughout the film and are especially creative and memorable. Other than the flashback scenes, Sorority House Massacre does suffer from the usual 1980’s slice and dice film clichés including sub-par acting and the use of horror stereotypes such as death through the sin factor and the usual cast of run-of-the-mill characters. There is a scene where the main girls go through a traditional 1980’s college girls changing their clothes montage where most of the cast ends up topless, so horror fans who know the rules of scary movies as spelled out in Scream will know ahead of time which girls will meet their end on the blade of Bobby’s hunting knife. Sorority House Massacre has also not aged too well as evident from the oh so obvious 80’s fashions and hairstyles, so more immature horror fans will get a laugh out of the wardrobes which is straight out of prime-time MTV.

O’Neill stepped behind the camera after a few film appearances and is now a TV property master who has worked on such shows as “CSI: NY”, “Make It Or Break It”, and “Las Vegas”. Sorority House Massacre did have a couple forgettable sequels, although it should be noted that famed B-grade trash director Jim Wynorski directed the third installment Hard To Die that has nothing to do with the original film. Yes this film is a blatant rip-off of Halloween, but Sorority House Massacre does offer enough creative elements to make it stand out beyond its copycat contemporaries. That being said, it is still a photocopy in spirit of John Carpenter’s masterpiece yet is still an interesting piece chronicling the usual weekend at the end of the drive-in era.

* * *

–Mark

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