The House on Sorority Row
Nothing can prepare you for what happens when she fights back.
Year of Release: 1983
Also Known As: House of Evil
Running Time: 91 minutes (1:31)
Director: Mark Rosman
Kate McNeil ... Katherine
Eileen Davidson ... Vicki
Janis Ward ... Liz
Robin Meloy ... Jeanie
Harley Jane Kozak ... Diane
Jodi Draigie ... Morgan
Ellen Dorsher ... Stevie
Lois Kelso Hunt ... Mrs. Slater
Christopher Lawrence ... Dr. Beck
The House on Sorority Row is the fifth in a series of reviews I've chosen to write as a tribute to Joe Bob Briggs for his lifetime of dedication to B, Drive-In and Exploitation movies. It was his Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In column and host segments on Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and Monstervision that inspired me to write with what limited ability I have. Thanks for everything Joe Bob, we all 'preciate what you do.
Regarding the ordering of these 12 tribute reviews, I'll be counting down the first 12 horror movies that Joe Bob reviewed back in '82 and '83. Less the titles I've already done up to this point. By the time I decided to do this, I'd already done some of those first 12 titles, so call that a blunder on my part. The House on Sorority Row, technically speaking, was the 14th horror movie Joe Bob reviewed in his Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In column, and the 33rd overall.
For anyone that might be curious, the non horror titles (or titles that I may have done previously) between The House on Sorority Row and my next review were: Spring Break (#32), The Concrete Jungle (#31), Madman (#30), and TAG: The Assassination Game (#29). TAG is actually one that I would like to have reviewed, but it lacks a DVD release and the VHS cassettes are not what you'd call affordable.
Flirtatious young sorority sisters who are days away from graduation set out to throw one last decadent celebration. Unbeknownst to them, the strict matron of their house hides a horrendous secret thought long buried. A gruesome accident is witnessed by a hideous fiend, hidden within the once nurturing dwelling, which triggers a rampage of death and destruction. Before the end, the peril faced by this sisterhood will push them to the brink of annihilation. And rivers of blood will drown all who enter... The House on Sorority Row.
The House on Sorority Row, reminding us that it's all fun and games until the old hag gets hollow pointed an ends up suckin' algae off the bottom of the pool like a great white lamprey. Speakin' of bottom feeders, I've got a serious problem with this movie that I think is best illustrated with the following factual statement: lawyers love this movie. An that's not the worst of it; the injustice involved here is actually egregious enough that you really have no choice but to agree with them. Now before you start flippin' tables just give me a minute to explain, in the end I think we'll all be able to agree that this problem is an affront to society of such a significant magnitude that my seemingly insane statement will prove accurate. What we've got here is a movie titled The House on Sorority Row... that features a final breast count of THREE. I couldn't hardly believe it when I read it in Joe Bob Briggs' review. I thought for sure Joe Bob must've been rootin' around in the back floorboard for a fresh Bud when the additional melons were bein' shown on the screen an that he'd simply missed them. Or maybe I just *wanted* to believe that. Alas, the man's breast radar is infallible, an his count was completely accurate. So what we've got here is a movie that takes place in a sorority house, that unsheathes only three weapons of mass concussion. This is unspeakable. This'd be like if The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a body count of one. No it's worse than that, imagine that The Trip was nothing more than 90 minutes of Dennis Hopper in an RV headin' for Branson, Missouri. I'm not sure these analogies're completely gettin' my point across, imagine if Deep Throat was just a documentary on the eatin' habits of the African Rock Python. When you've got a title like The House on Sorority Row, certain things are IMPLIED. We're talkin' false advertisin' seldom seen in the natural world with this one. Somebody aughta get a couple of those stuffy old British guys in pit helmets to study this thing in it's natural habitat, it's just that misleading. If I haven't made my point clear yet we're talkin' something that's on par with a McDonald's Big Mac advertisement. This is like a golfer on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This is... this is worse than the Myspace picture... I can't seem to put into words... no I think I've got it. Bailey Jay. The title of this movie is like Bailey Jay. I mean, if you're new to the internet anyway. But I think my point has been thoroughly cemented at this point. I can't imagine anybody from the crew made a dime offa this once the lawyers got through. We paid for airheads in the shower, Mr. Rosman, an you let us down. You aughta be ashamed of yourself.
I suppose we can overlook that for the time being, but Mr. Rosman, you've got a LOT of 'splainin' to do, an a big hole to dig yourself out of. It still has to be said that this is probably the best movie ever made to combine the plots of Friday the 13th Part 2 an Slumber Party Massacre where somebody remembered to write a screenplay, so lets just try to get past that ugliness an focus on something more destructive. The first bit of mind bogglin' insanity has to be that privileged, attractive dimwits from a state school that're able to survive enough trips through the spankin' machine during their initiation to make it into a sorority don't have enough money to book a suitable place to have a graduation party. Poor girls, somebody aughta introduce 'em to Eliot Spitzer or somethin'. Second, an this is a bit of a follow up to something we learned from Piranha II; not all hot girls that tell you to close your eyes an count to 20 are usin' those 20 seconds to get as far away from your dorky ass as possible. Exceptions to the normal rule are granted when the guy has a great car, great hair, or a truncheon in his jeans. Though I suspect that if any of those three things were true for you personally, you wouldn't be sittin' here readin' this. An third, fat people will do just about any disgustin' thing you can think of if it grants 'em entry into the cool kid's club. Remember that, men. Marry the fat girl an let your daft, short sighted friends fight over the popular one that's got permanent bitchface, you'll thank me later. Just don't thank me in picture form.
But on a more serious note, this movie leaves me with no choice but to discuss the dangers of fallin' in with the wrong crowd. Now, bad crowds manifest themselves in many different ways, the most common of these bein' the drug crowd, the mafia, an the people who frequent TGI Friday's. But the crowd I speak of is worse than all three of those put together. I speak of a much greater danger than the crack heads, the Guidos, or those who will remain forever enamored with the Jack Daniels Grill menu. I speak of course, about the Soap Opera Syndicate. The professors warn of this grave danger throughout acting school, yet every year, more and more aspirin' actresses and actors fall victim to this dark path. No matter how many times they bring in Scott Evans to preach against the evils of that road to cheap, easy stardom, a few in the audience don't listen. They think they can quit anytime they want to, they'll just use it as a springboard to better things an then stop once they've arrived. But 10 years later, they've completely lost the ability to read their lines without dramatic pauses regardless of subject, an the only facial expression remaining in their repertoire is the "did you just cut one?" look. By then, it's all they know, and there's no way back. In this particular movie I'm referring of course, to Eileen Davidson. What a bright future she had once, no one who's seen The House on Sorority Row can question her casting in the role of the self absorbed bitch. She could have been the go to actress for the role of cutthroat bitch in this genre for years to come, for her performance in the role of the shrew is one seldom matched in the horror genre. But she took the quick and easy path, as Vader did... she's more machine than woman now. Lets run down the soap opera star check list briefly to see if there's any chance of bringin' her back into the light:
1) Emotionless acting.
2) Sputterin' inane dialog beneath that of even a Lifetime TV movie regular.
3) Utterly unbelievable interactions with others who share that dead, defeated look in the eyes.
4) Never performing on screen without the presence of theme music so sappy it blows its nose on a pancake.
5) Ever present plot lines with more twists than a Rold Gold factory, even when they don't make any sense.
I think it's about time to face the facts. CBS has its venomous hook in her so deep that when it comes time to get 'er off the line they're gonna need the Wonder Boner. She has forsaken us, but more unfortunate than that, she's forsaken 'erself. Lets all take a moment now to remember Eileen as she once was; as that bitchy, harpy shrew that's allowed to survive til last because we all wanna see her die in spectacular fashion, and not as the prissy debutant she's become. Godspeed Eileen, we can only hope that one day you find that inner peace that always remains just out of reach, an return to us to be chopped up into beef stroganoff.
The movie begins in 1961, where some joker thought it'd be real profound to shoot the movie in Smurf vision instead of just usin' black an white like any sensible person would. In an upstairs bedroom, we've got a woman squirmin' around in 'er bed makin' noises like she's not sure if she's about to climax or whether she ate the chicken after Congress shut down the government and sent all the health inspectors on sabbatical an pretty quick an angry M.D. shows up an starts drawin' a picture of Pac-Man on 'er stomach so he can open 'er up an see what the baby's major malfunction is. Unfortunately, once he drags it out drippin' an screamin' the woman asks where it is an the doc has to tell 'er that there were complications an ask where she keeps the plunger. Next thing, we're in the present, where our good girl in the Jamie Lee Curtis role (Katie) is at a sorority house packin' up 'er stuff, presumably because the other girls found out that there wasn't really a drunken sex tape of 'er floatin' around campus, bringin' her worthiness into question. But about that time 'er hot friend (Vicki) shows up an begs 'er to stick around til at least Friday cause they're havin' a big graduation party an the guys won't show up unless there's at least a couple girls without herpes there. Elsewhere, an old hag heads into the local hospital an we find out that she an the doc she starts talkin' to are the characters from the opening sequence an the doc tries to convince 'er that livin' in the past ain't healthy til she has to tell 'im to bugger off or else she'll tell everyone his medical degree came from the University of Nairobi. Meanwhile, back at Sigma Poon, all the girls're sittin' around in their nighties drinkin' beer outta steins like they're at a Stonecutter's meetin' an makin' toasts to all the things they didn't like about college. It's the usual stuff, curfews, messy room mates, all night cram sessions with the professor to make sure you get the grade you truly deserve, typical stuff. Unfortunately, the old hag shows up at the sorority house an demands to know who all these harlots are, why they're here, an what channel Matlock comes on in this zip code. So the girls try to explain that the place they were tryin' to rent for their party wouldn't accept sex as a payment method so they decided to stay a couple extra days an have it at the sorority house. Oldie Hawn is P.O.'d, an she wants these ungodly trollops outta her vacation spot right the fuck now. She's been in a lousy mood ever since a house fell on 'er sister. So the girls sit around tryin' to figure out why Oldie reserves the place for these few days every year without fail til they realize it's been damn near three minutes since they had a drink an return to their debauchery.
Meanwhile, Oldie goes up to 'er room an starts bustin' all the class photos with 'er cane, throws 'em in the fireplace, an goes to see if there's any kids on 'er lawn that she can yell at. While that's goin' on Vicki an 'er boyfriend're outside in his car tryin' to swallow each other's heads when all the sudden Vicki jumps out an tells 'im to count to 20 an come find 'er. Naturally, with all the blood in the vicinity of the head that performs what in his case passes for thinkin', he does what she says an pretty quick he finds 'er on 'er bed wearin' a nightie that's easier to see through than the rubbish in the Scientology bible. Incidentally, a woman that can get into outta her clothes an into sexy ones in 20 seconds is a keeper. Meanwhile, Oldie goes up to the attic an does 'er impression of the "Whistler's Mother" paintin' til she starts hearin' Vicki an chunkhead makin' the sign of the triple humped jungle weasel an takes the pointed handle of 'er cane to Vicki's waterbed. Vicki is P.O.'d, an after she breaststrokes 'er way outta the newly created wadin' pool she catches up to Oldie an vows revenge before slippin' in the hallway on 'er way back to chunkhead an leavin' a snail trail all over the hardwood floor. The next day, Vicki starts rallyin' the troops. Too long have they lived under the boot of this tyrannical dictator who demands they keep their sex below 90 decibels, an it's high time they staged a coup. Katie is leery about retaliatin' against the hag, but Vicki is very charismatic in the role of Fidel Castro rallyin' support to overthrow the sorority equivalent of Batista an eventually she agrees to go along with the prank. This seems like an appropriate moment to pan over to the good doctor's office where he's tellin' nobody in particular that Oldie's brain pan's been punctured an it's leakin' sanity all over the place an that the slightest thing could send 'er into Gary Busey territory. Back at the sorority house, Vicki shows all the girls the gun that chunkhead lent 'er for the prank an they all pass it around like a show an tell prop while Katie suggests that maybe this particular prank isn't the best idea to pull on an elderly woman with no sense of humor. Katie is of course, overruled, so when Oldie shows up in the midst of their party setup an again demands that they get back to the brothel where they belong, Vicki asks 'er how she likes hoofin' it around the house without 'er cane an suggests she head out to the pool where she just might find it. So the bimbo brigade follows Oldie out to the pool an once there, Vicki starts brandishin' the pistol, shootin' out walkway lights, an demandin' Oldie go for a swim in what looks to be Swamp Thing's bath water. Oldie ain't buyin' this any more readily than she'd buy stewed prunes outta the can for more'n 99 cents, but once she begins to advance on Vicki a shot is fired into one of the bimbo's legs an Oldie decides this ain't worth losin' 'er fresh depends over an braves the infectious dangers of the green lagoon.
But about that time the gunshot victim starts rollin' around on the grass laughin' 'er ass off (apparently some of these bullets are blanks and some aren't) an once Oldie realizes she's been had she gets instant humiliation strength an lunges at Vicki who accidentally gives 'er a lead mammogram which sends 'er back into the deep end. The airheads haul 'er outta the pool but she's already gone to the big bridge club in the sky by the time they get 'er out an Vicki starts figurin' out how they're gonna hide the body on account of this bein' the one situation you can't sex your way out of. Katie's outraged, only after four years in a sorority all the independence's been sucked out of 'er an she can't stay outraged long enough to call the cops. So Vicki gets 'em to weigh down the corpse with the most buoyant items they can find an roll 'er into the pool. About that time the party patrons start showin' up so everybody heads back inside while Oldie's corpse rises to the surface like a turd in the punch bowl. Later that evening after the party's startin' to ramp up, one of the co-stars of Revenge of the Nerds heads outside to take a leak cause apparently the bathrooms're all occupied by people snortin' cocaine or somethin' an pretty quick he comes upon an angry figure that just got finished wringin' out Oldie's burial shroud an within seconds it's the guy's neck that's takin' a leak. Meanwhile, Katie's upstairs an in no mood to party, only the date that Vicki arranged for 'er (Peter) shows up an he's real introverted an cute like a retarded puppy, an she decides she prolly aughta go downstairs an keep up appearances. Downstairs, all the girls're lookin' around at each other like they've all just gone through with a pregnancy pact an are startin' to have second thoughts when there's a scream from the pool. It seems two buttplugs're about to toss some chick into the pool an the girls have to rescue 'er so she don't land on Oldie an start usin' 'er as an inflatable cushion. About that time they realize the pool lights're set on a timer an they all get this look on their faces like they just realize they copied off the dumbest kid in school on their finals. So they send Stevie (sides Vicki an Katie the names don't matter, trust me) down into the boiler room to get Fred Krueger's help findin' the right switch in the fuse box, only before she can flip it somethin' rolls a ball at 'er an when she goes to investigate she gets stabbed worse'n a New Jack opponent. Back at the party, a blimp in tightie whities channelin' the spirit of James Belushi from Animal House is out by the Nickelodeon slime pool with his fellow dudebros who're darin' 'im to jump in. Naturally he does, I mean, how much greener could his underpants get anyway? Unfortunately, that's when all the outside lights come on an everyone from the party comes outside an try to decide whether they feel more sorry for the guy or the pool. Yarr, thar be a great white whale in that thar pool, we best be hopin' 'is shorts remain aground'r we'll be seein' 'is plank.
Not lost in this pathetic display is the fact that Oldie's corpse isn't anywhere an sight, which prompts Vicki an Katie to calmly an rationally scream at each other regardin' whose fault this whole situation is an how that shriveled old hag could survive a gunshot wound an swallowin' even a single mouthful of that pool water. At this point, Vicki has the troops fan out to find Oldie, which the particularly stupid one (Morgan) finally does when the rolled up corpse falls onto 'er from the attic above the closet she's standin' in front of. Then Katie an Vicki argue some more til Katie has to slap 'er right in 'er million dollar babyface an storm out after Morgan who's now got more psychological trauma than Kim Kardashian after she had to fly coach. Morgan goes to 'er room so she can get nekkid an ends up findin' a creepy little jack-in-the-box on the floor, only when she picks it up an starts yankin' it's crank she gets knifed in the back through a curtain that looks a lot like what Vicki was wearin' earlier when chunkhead was drillin' for orgasms in her temperate zone. But anyway, Vicki instructs Diane to bring the car around so they can load Grandma Addams into it an haul 'er off, while they put the corpse in a gigantic metal ammo box an start rollin' 'er outta the house. Unfortunately, the box sounds an steers like a shoppin' cart with four bad wheels an pretty quick they end up lodgin' it in the front fender of the campus security vehicle. The rent-a-cop's never arrested anyone for pushin' a metal crate while under the influence but these airheads have completely fucked his ride so he's sorely tempted to do just that, only just as he's about to look in the box he gets a call over the CB about the fraternity next door's date-rape-still explodin' an has to split. While that's goin' on, Diane makes it to the car but gets the bejezus scared outta her when she cranks it up an discovers that some joker full blasted the honkey tonk rockabilly station before killin' the engine an while she tries to figure out where she can get a new panty shield at this time of night the faceless menace peeks in through the moon roof an starts performin' deconstructive surgery on 'er face. Elsewhere, Jeanie, who was the only one with the presence of mind to run for it when the ammo box impacted the rent-a-cop's rent-a-cruiser, goes to the garage to find Diane an gets brained by the handle of Oldie's cane. She's able to get back to the house where she finds Katie, who promptly leaves 'er all alone an goes for help an within moments Pokey McStabbins shows up an chases 'er into the communal bathroom an gives Jeanie a much needed opportunity to purge so she won't get fat an ruin 'er personality. Then all the showers kick on while she's hidin' in the can an eventually Jab Slashington finds the occupied stall an Jeanie's cries of "someone's in here!" fall upon deaf ears as 'er throat gets slashed worse than America's labor force.
A little while later, Katie realizes she's screwed the pooch by leavin' Jeanie alone an then remembers why she did so in the first place an starts to call the cops. Course, moments later she gets callers remorse an has to hang up, all the while Peter stands around givin' 'er this real stupid look like he dunno why he's even in the movie. Then Katie heads outside an finds Oldie's Lifealert bracelet an calls the number on the back an gets ahold of Oldie's doctor an tells 'im all 'er friends're missin' an that she think's Oldie's gone ape shit. So the doc explains that there's no way that's even remotely possible, but that he's gonna drop everything an come over right this second anyway, not that there's anything wrong at all an she shouldn't worry but if it's at all possible she might wanna find somebody non essential to the plot to absorb the first wave of butcher knife punctures. Once the doc finally arrives Katie takes 'im upstairs to the attic where Oldie looks to have stashed the take from her daring robbery of the local Toys 'R Us an the doc won't quit askin' Katie where Oldie's at so she has to keep proddin' 'im into providin' more exposition to avoid answerin' an ends up findin' out that it's the anniversary of the night he carved the pie chart into 'er abdomen an made the fetal withdrawal. So then they head back outside an find most of the sorority doin' the deadman float in the pool an Katie has to snot up the doc's best suit while he comforts 'er. Elsewhere, Vicki an Liz've finally gotten Oldie loaded up into the car an hauled 'er over to the cemetery so they can pawn 'er off on Burke an Hare, only Liz ends up gettin' carved up like a jack-o-lantern when she goes to get somethin' outta the car an when Vicki goes to bitch 'er out about havin' to do all the diggin' she gets the worst corneal abrasion since that scene in Zombi 2 with the big splinter. While that's goin' on Katie's finally spilled 'er guts to the doc about what happened so they head over to the cemetery where they find Vicki, Liz, an Oldie laid out in a nice, orderly fashion. Strangely, the doc seems to think Oldie's still alive, so he loads 'er up into his ride an he an Katie head back to the sorority house, but en route, the doc ends up stickin' Katie in the neck with a sleep aid an all the sudden the plot thickens like Kirstie Alley after a TV deal comes to a close. This one really does have a nice twist ending, so that seems like the perfect place to cut off.
Alrighty, this one plays pretty well with the general public, more so than a lot of the other slashers that rely heavily on the gore factor. The House on Sorority Row, in reality, is pretty tame. Much tamer than even the original Friday the 13th, and that absence of gore and even violence for the most part, translates well with fans of "scary movies." Scary movies, for anybody that may not know, is the term that somebody who knows squat about the horror genre uses to describe the few movies they've managed to sit through without pissing themselves. That doesn't mean you should reject Sorority Row out of hand, but with the lack of horrific imagery, it means that it must compensate for that shortcoming elsewhere. Which it does. It actually tends a bit towards the Mystery genre, but that doesn't really happen until about the last 15 minutes. It's got a twist, but it's very much a Twilight Zone style twist, wherein, what happens isn't actually a twist, it just seems that way because the viewer has made assumptions prior to that point that later prove to be inaccurate. Which frankly, is often the best "twist" of all. Something else about this one that bears mentioning, if you were to give it extra points based upon how well it came out in relation to the budget it had, it'd get a significant bump in its overall score. Sorority Row has a fairly small budget, not shoe string, but pretty small. And even with those budgetary constraints, it did just about everything well, in technical terms at least. I'd say that once the twist is revealed, The House on Sorority Row is probably as good as the original Friday the 13th. It stacks up poorly against Friday in the special effects department, but blows it out of the water when it comes to plot. I mean, in the sense that it's got one. But Sorority Row has right around half the budget Friday the 13th did, and is not too far behind on the IMDB. Sorority Row having a present score of 5.8, where Friday the 13th is currently at 6.4, but I think it can be safely said that Friday the 13th skates on its reputation and all of its sequels. Sorority Row doesn't have that kind of assistance, and in fact, after the remake in 2009 I'd imagine that probably made people even less interested in the original. Now, this is not to say that nobody's heard of The House on Sorority Row, that's not the case at all. It's a lesser known slasher movie, but by no stretch of the imagination would you call it obscure, it's simply that when compared to Friday the 13th, as far as notoriety goes, it seems that way. It also seems as though it's a bit under rated, but the fact that it's managed to maintain a 5.8 on the IMDB should speak volumes.
The plot is without question the high point. Unfortunately, you'll have to take my word for it as the bulk of the interesting stuff would result in debilitating spoilers. The average slasher movie would simply cut out all the sequences with Lois Kelso Hunt (Oldie Hawn) an bring in some maniac to hack up all the nightgown clad airheads for no real reason. Sorority Row brings some depth to a subgenre that almost without exception lacks it, and that is what makes it stand out in relation to other similar titles that may outshine it in other areas. The acting isn't bad either, Eileen Davidson is fantastic as the cutthroat bitch trying to keep the situation under wraps a la Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. Kate McNeil is enjoyable as well in the Jamie Lee Curtis good girl role, and you at least like her enough to hope she doesn't get gutted like a fish. The only dead weight would be Jodi Draigie as Morgan, who is quite obviously only part of the cast because she's hot, and she is that at least. In reality, though, to only have one cast member really stink is a major accomplishment, particularly when you consider how many of the cast members never acted again, or didn't act much after that point, or were only in the movie because they were part of the production crew and it was cheaper than hiring another actor. Usually when the cast doesn't get much work after their first movie, it's because they aren't any good. Midnight comes to mind as a good example of that. In this case, however, I don't exactly understand why so many ceased to act. The skill level overall is perfectly acceptable for the requirements of a B movie. To give you an idea of how few of them did anything afterwards, here's the who matters and why list: Kate McNeil (Monkey Shines), Harley Jane Kozak (Dark Planet), Jean Schertler (The Invasion), Kenny Myers (Galaxy of Terror, and more significantly, a pretty accomplished special effects man), Ingvarsson (The Invasion), Barbara Harris (Voice actress: Halloween 2007, Jaws: The Revenge). And, sadly, as mentioned in the opening tirade, the truly sick will recognize Eileen Davidson as Kristen DiMera from Days of Our Lives and as Ashley Abbot from The Bold and the Beautiful/The Young and the Restless. Excuse me while I vomit in disappointment.
The special effects, very honestly, aren't all that great, and there's a few reasons for this. First and foremost, half the murders take place off screen, which is the the cardinal sin of the modern horror genre. Older horror movies that rely on atmosphere and plot can get away with it, but in the 1980s, this is a serious problem. Additionally, the cuts are always very quick. You never see very much, which is possibly the fault of the MPAA as there were some cuts that had to be made for the movie to secure an R rating, but I get the feeling the producers didn't fight it very hard. And lastly, what you do see just isn't all that impressive. The blood is too vibrant, and the killer has a modus operandi, so the kills are all much of the same, even when the crew has the decency to show them. The one scene I will give them is the severed head in the toilet. That was classic. So, what should be the breadwinner, is a serious letdown. The shooting locations aren't bad. I generally don't care for movies whose primary settings are indoors, but the sorority house used in the movie has a likable, authentic feel to it. It is beneficial that the house is also somewhat isolated (though I suspect they deliberately kept the camera panned in close for most of the external shots of the house to create that effect) and at least sparsely wooded. Most of the scenes where the background gets thick and brushy were shot in the backyard of the director's parents' house, and do stand out a bit as not fitting in with what we'd seen in previous shots, however. You've also got a small cemetery and a hospital, but neither are too significant. The soundtrack is another high point. It's a Richard Band soundtrack, so you know it's gonna be good before you even hear it, but what I really liked about it was that it predates the majority of the movies he scored for his brother, Charles, as part of the Empire/Full Moon era and as such, does not yet have that trademark sound that you instantly recognize as one of his compositions. Which is not to say that his trademark sound is bad, it's precisely the opposite, but this movie has a soundtrack that's completely different than anything else I've heard him score. A little derivative of The Amityville Horror at times, but it's ultimately a very enjoyable, atmospheric soundtrack that never fails to enhance the mood of the scene in which it plays. Overall, Sorority Row's a bit under rated and I'd say every bit as good as the original Friday the 13th, though maybe not good enough to claim it to be superior to it. Well worth a blind buy to genre fans, particularly fans of the slasher subgenre.