1983 : Year of Release : 2009
Horror / Thriller : Genre : Horror / Thriller
5.7 / 10 : IMDB Rating : 5 / 10
Surprise! : Level of Awful : Low
Welcome to the B-Horror Blog’s first ever B-Horror Throwdown! The premise is simple: take a cheesy horror movie fitting of this site, find its remake and pit the two against one another. The rules are simple: the original movie is the benchmark that the remake is compared against – is it true to the original? Does it improve on the original? What new elements have been incorporated? Does the remake manage to raise the bar or dive into new depths of cheesy goodness? So many questions to answer and in the end only one can be the winner and the loser needs to have the crap beaten out of it. For the first Throwdown! I have chosen to pit The House on Sorority Row against Sorority Row. The reasoning behind this is that I’d seen the original about a year ago but hadn’t gotten around to watching the remake. This provides the perfect opportunity to judge the new movie against an original that I’ve already formed an opinion of. Plus I got the original in a 4-in-1 bargain pack and that means it automatically qualifies for a place on the B-Horror Blog 🙂
To begin with, these two movies have very little in common with one another other than the premise that they are built on. In House Mrs Slater, the housemother of the Pi Theta sorority, is a bitch that the girls in the house detest. They become particularly pissed off when she forbids them from having a final party for their graduation and decide that they should pull a good old-fashioned sorority prank on her. This prank involves taking her walking stick and leaving it in the middle of the swamp-like swimming pool and holding a gun to her and making her dive in. Lead bitch Vicki (Eileen Davidson of later Days of our Lives fame), however, decides that it will be even more fun if they load the gun and fire some shots off for extra effect. Since one of the great rules of horror is that things like this should never go according to plan one of the bullets lands up hitting Mrs Slater and killing her. The girls decide that they should dispose of the body so that the four years of college education they’ve just completed doesn’t go to waste. This said and done and their party well under way the girls are stalked by a killer intent on taking out those people who killed Mrs Slater (or did they?).
Sorority Row follows its predecessor in that it’s also based around the prank-gone-wrong scenario. This time the girls of Theta Pi sorority (it’s not the same movie if you switch the Greek letters around) are planning on getting even: Megan, one of the sisters, has been cheated on by her boyfriend Garrett. Since being in a sorority apparently means that anything and everything should be done to uphold sisterly honour (I’m not familiar with the Greek system so I’m really just running with it here) the other sisters Jessica (lead bitch), Cassidy (loyal and brave), Chugs (slutty drunk and Garrett’s sister), Claire (shy wannabe of the Asian persuasion) and Ellie (shy redhead) pretend to give Garrett pills to drug Megan to ‘get her in the mood’ (<- Right there! See it? Just set the women’s movement back by at least 20 years!). When Megan begins throwing up everywhere (part of the plan) the girls and Garrett drive out to an old abandoned mine where they pretend that they need to dispose of the body by cutting it up. For fun this is all being recorded on a cellphone. Jessica tells everyone to go and find sharp stones to cut the body up (part of the plan) but Garrett, understandably freaked out, takes a tire iron and punctures Megan’s lung so that her body won’t float in the lake (NOT part of the plan). They then need to actually dispose of the body by throwing it down the abandoned mine’s shaft. 8 months later as the sisters prepare to graduate a killer stalks Theta Pi’s final party killing off the girls and miscellaneous others. Like the girls from House, did Jen & Co. actual kill Megan?
So what are we left with? The House on Sorority Row, much to my surprise, is actually a good movie so long as you can see past the 80s-ness of it. It’s a different take on the slasher genre and it plays out well with all of the girls playing their parts well. And it has clowns – anything with clowns is scary. Sorority Row also isn’t a bad movie, but unfortunately it’s no where near as good as the first one. Ironically it’s the fact that it’s meant to be a ‘re-imagining’ of House that’s its primary problem: had it been given a different name and not leaned on the original it would have been a fairly decent watch. I liked seeing Princess Leah as the housemother Mrs Crenshaw and I liked that the characters were meant to be somewhat related to the characters in the original. I thought that the way they incorporated Mrs Slater’s walking stick in one of the scenes was very well done. I certainly didn’t like Rumer Willis in the role whiny, irritating, crying-every-three-seconds Ellie and the twist to find out who the killer is left me cold. While Sorority Row had some fantastic kills and it certainly brought up the sleaze level to a point an 80s movie just couldn’t aim for I still feel as though it leaves you wanting a little more.
The rules of Throwdown! state that a winner needs to be picked and the loser have the crap beaten out of it. While House on Sorority Row was fun and original, Sorority Row wasn’t unique enough to be a movie in its own right and not close enough to the original to be a decent remake. House on Sorority Row wins this round!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- You can perform a Caesarean section with nothing but a surgical knife and a candle.
- Contrary to modern times it was considered the norm in the 80s for men to wear micro shorts and for women to wear manly shirts.
- 80s sex involved a lot of groaning with very little movement.
- Two towels are heavy enough to sink a human corpse.
- In case of emergency reach for the knife in the doll’s head.
- A willingness to dispose of your friend’s body shows how much you love your family.
- Being a member of a sorority is similar to making a blood oath with the devil.
- Murdering is a wonderful couple’s activity.
- On a psycho scale 50 crazy bitches is the rough equivalent of one serial killer.
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW TRAILER
SORORITY ROW TRAILER