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Sorority House Massacre (1986)

From the opening title cards and musical score it soon became apparent to me the type of film I was about watch. What I wasn't aware of was how much this was going to steal every aspect of another films plot. I'm all for films taking inspiration from iconic films that have come before but as the only attempt this film makes is a change of location and a few added dream sequences. It is actually just insulting to sit and watch, especially when the attempt is as strange and poor as this one. There are so many scenes over the course of this film that are obvious replications of John Carpenters Halloween. One of the most obvious is a scene where Beth is looking out of the classroom window and sees an image of the suspected killer. This is an exact shot for shot copy of Laurie in Halloween1978. During this scene the teacher is heard in the background giving a lecture about foreshadowing and repetition which makes me believe the director was more than aware of what she was doing. Even the car the killer drives as he escapes the asylum is the same one Myers drives. The replications are just endless. Another in regards to cinematography, where it uses the synonymous POV shots that Carpenter so carefully placed through Halloween, only here it is done to a much poorer standard. With all these copy cat narratives it was blatantly obvious pretty early on which direction this film was going to take its ultimate plot twist ending. This is so heavy-handed with its dream sequences throughout, with a big majority of the films first two thirds being one after another from our lead. This is something I really detest in films as once we finally do reach a point of impact it holds nowhere near the level of authenticity it should due to everything that has come before. This isn't the only poor decision made within the writing and editing, there is a montage sequence that just seems irrelevant. We see the girls from the sorority trying on various clothes and it feels like it’s an opportunity for some female nudity and nothing else. It has some of the most distracting music playing over the top, sounding like some intro music from a terrible daytime TV soap. The casting is genuinely something to behold, I've certainly seen worse but every single member of the cast are so unengaging and increasingly annoying as the film goes on. Even our lead Beth played by Angela O'Neill struggles to give us much in the way of personality. She is someone we are supposed to have empathy and compassion for yet every time she was on screen I couldn't be any less interested in what she had to say. This is a major problem in a film like this, conection with our lead is vital in order to sustain any form of interest up until the closing moments. I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I can't help but feel that a mask for a killer is a necessity for films like this. Being able to see who the killer is and the lack of mystery that it provides just cause zero tension for me as a viewer. I think that biographical films exploring the crimes of real life serial killers are the only instances in which I find this to be acceptable. A big part of what I enjoy so much about horror and partcularly about slashers is the level of artistry apparent in the creation of the on screen iconic killers and their equally as iconic kills. This film completely misses this opportunity with its bad writing, poor casting and it's lack of innovation - every kill looking just as bland and unmemorable as the first. This is not only a terrible slasher film but it is a genuinely poor imitation of one of the greatest horror films ever put to screen. I would be outraged if I had paid to see this upon its initial realese back in 1986. This is something I definitely recommend you avoid.


1/2



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