Sorority House Massacre (1986)

Written & Directed by: Carol Frank


Angela O'Neill .... Beth
Wendy Martel .... Linda
Pamela Ross .... Sara
Nicole Rio .... Tracy
Joe Nassi .... Craig
Vinnie Bilancio .... John
John C. Russell .... Bobby Henkel
Marcus Vaughter .... Andy
Robert Axelrod .... Larry

Release Date: Limited Theatrical: October, 1986





A troubled sorority newcomer with amnesia Beth (Angela O'Neill) is new at residing in a sorority house with plenty of women students.
She also continues to have nightmares about a psychopathic killer coming out to kill her and also sees hallucinations about him too. She swore that she resided at the sorority house as a child.
Well she was right as a killer Robert Henkel (John C. Russell) resides in a mental hospital after killing his family and seems to communicate with Beth through her dreams as he manages to escape the hospital and heads towards the sorority house in Los Angeles where Beth resides while most of the snobby sorority sisters leaves for the weekend to have fun.
Beth is alone in the house with only 3 of them by the names of Linda (Wendy Martel), Sara (Pamela Ross) and Tracy (Nicole Rio) that stayed behind.
Beth starts to remember her childhood life and before the house she's living in now, was once her family house plus Henkel is her older brother and he's convinced to make his family extinct as well as doing away the rest of her friends that reside there along with their partying boyfriends too.


While renting this video I was hoping for another Slumber Party Massacre fun party T&A horror flick. Well it is in that same trashy kind of vein but a little darker.
The beginning looked fun and impressive to watch in which it introduces the actors with the sorority house when it's almost sundown and then the name SHM splashes onto the screen with blood effects splattering.
Then of course we have the newcomer named Beth entering the front of the sorority house in which there seems to be a dream sequence in which the film seems to start off a little confusing along with three little girls near the house and her talking to them and then there's lots of horror scene's with blood dripping everywhere including on some pictures and the killer Bobby Henkel communicating to her and trying to make his way to killing her through mirrors or other objects. I found alot of this seemed to borrow heavily from the A Nightmare On Elm Street flicks.
Then there's fun times with the sorority sisters trying on new clothes they just bought taking their other clothes off and trying the new one's on which should please any fan who likes some skin in their slasher flicks.
There's also some good scene's with one of the employees at the sanitarium named Larry testing Bobby which seems to work well and describing why this maniac is so disturbed in which seemed to be necessary for a start to this story as well as Beth sensing him too. Apart from this being a slasher film there seems to be some moments of supernatural elements too.
Then the sororty boys decide to hang out with the girls and one of them tells the story about Bobby near a fireplace which worked well in which he describes the history of the family that was butchered by this psychopath with a remaning little girl making this a total mystery as to what has happened to her. Also Beth tells the others that Bobby has an old knife with stained blood on it hidden in a brick of the fireplace which seemed pretty chilling wondering how the heck she knew this but yet she dreams this all on what he did with his weapong after almost killing the entire family. All of this mentioned seems to be well written in.
Of course there has to be a sex scene by a sorority copuple but they decide to do it in a teepee tent and Bobby crashes their fun by killing the girl first while the guy watches in shock which seemed terribly written that he doesn't try to do anything while this is happening and later on runs into the house naked of course.
Then there's more moments on the surviving sorority sisters trying to escape and hide from Bobby while he's onto them as well as trying to communicate with one of them trying to figure out who his sister is and planning to kill her in which some of this was fun to watch and other times it looked quite sloppy. Also, they try different ways on killing him inclusing whacking him with a shovel and hoping that they are safe but we all know that in any horror flick that won't put him out of his misery.
Then there's a great ending with Beth in the hospital after thinking that she killed Bobby and suddenly a halluicination with Bobby appears before your eyes making the viewers thinking that the nightmare isn't over. This seemed to look quite clever for any ending to a slasher film but after watching it all it for sure can be a happy ending and not needing for there to be a sequel since SHM 2 beared no relationship to this one at all.
Bottom line is SHM is a total Halloween ripoff clone too trying to borrow similar elements. This was released when producers discovered that horror films sell so much when they went right to video than a theatrical release. This film didn't have a good enough budget to go to theatre's (well maybe a limited one).
Some interesting moments in this film yet the plot has been overly done before. Oh well maybe next time. Nice sunny shots in the quiet neighborhood of Los Angeles though.

The acting is in average shape but you can tell that these actors do their best although most remain virtual unknowns.
We have Angela O'Neill (Beth) playing the Jamie Lee Curtis type of character as she stands out the most in the film as someone with amnesia and seems to do not too bad by pulling off that character. However she is sometimes stiff in her performance especially when she tries to get emotional. There's a moment on her using a shovel and whacking someone in which this looked incredibly sloppy and amateurishly performed.
Wendy Martel (Linda) also tries her best with her role in the film and can easily pass as playing another sorority outsider with Beth and showing a nice friendship towards that character. She shows a nice sweet and caring behavior in her role and is realistic when she performs this way.
Nicole Rio
(Tracy) seemed to come across as someone who is very sarcastic and at times snobby which she knew on how to do both of these not too badly. Yet she also showed a good bubbly behavior too which I liked as well.
Joe Nassi
(Craig) seemed to have the handsome type role that the sorority girls go for but can he act? Not really as he seemed to lack energy with his characteristics. Oh well not everyone was born to act which explained on why he did nothing else.
Vinnie Bilancio
(John) seemed to bring on his nice charming behavior as the partying type who likes to tell creepy stories and can really get into his role. A memorable scene trying to tell a ghost story at a fireplace in the sorority house of what went on there long ago as that looked impressively performed as he does well with his serious voice when talking about the ghost story. He is average looking and had a cross look between a tough guy and a dweeb. Still he does okay with his characteristics in which this marked to be his first acting gig in a film before working in a string full of made for video and dvd independent horror flicks.
Marcus Vaughter
(Andy) played a dorky character in the film liking to tease others but yet he seems very wooden in his performance and I was not at all convinced with his work in it even if he tried to be a typical ham in this flick. He doesn't react well at all by suffering in pain and falling to the ground after being stabbed. This looked quite amateurish.
The late John C. Russell (Robert Henkel) looked perfect as the Michael Myers type killer showing no expressions and a total evil look to him too. Yet a weak blocking moment with him grabbing someone and banging his head a few times against a wall which didn't look convicningly violent or brutal.
We also have supporting actor Robert Axelrod (Larry) who tried to be good at playing an employee at the mental hospital yet at times it looked a little corny and made a bigger success doing voice over's for animated shows.

Three women played by Wendy Martel, Pamela Ross and Nicole Rio are trying on new clothes and their breats are revealed while doing so.
Nicole Rio unbuttons her top showing her breasts in a tent from the backyard of the sorority house.
Joe Nassi runs out of the tent and into the sorority house butt naked showing some male nudity too than just with the women in this film.

A bed is bloodied.
Some people are briefly seen in a sorority house slaughtered during a hallucination sequence like being stabbed in the chest with a pick axe.
An employee at the hospital has his head banged against the wall and blood is smeared from the wall.
Many bloody stabbings.
The killer has a knife stabbed through his neck.

We have some z-grade sounding but very effective synthesizer sounds by Michael Wetherwax as he composes great suspenseful scene's for the film and plays a perfect opening to the film along with some nice himing sounds too along with high pitched hissing and ghostly type sound effect music too.