Sunday, May 15, 2011

Taylor Dayne on Sorority Row

Last night I watched The House on Sorority Row. It's a slasher flick from 1983, one of the most well-known, and is actually one of the better ones of the era. In fact, I was quite surprised by how good it actually was. So many horror films of that time were just plain lazy, and yet The House on Sorority Row is very technically proficient and is impressively written, something that I found quite easy to recognise once getting past the ridiculous red paint gore effects.

Director Mark Rosman and cinematographer Tim Suhstedt do some really inventive things for what is such a typical genre effort. Yes, the movie is about an unknown masked assailant stalking and stabbing their way through the girls of a sorority house on the night of their graduation night party. Early scenes utilise daylight and colour very well, making a start contrast with the final two thirds of the movie. Even during the night time sequences, the film is slashed with vivid pinks and blues that stand out amongst the washed out colours of its contemporaries. The final chase sequence, and especially the sequence in the attic, is superbly edited with the hallucination sequence being quite memorable. It's strange, almost surreal nature, creates a fabulous off-kilter atmosphere that almost looks like a long-lost horror sequel to Xanadu as directed by Dario Argento!

Written by Rosman, with additional dialogue (whatever that means) by Bobby Fine, there's a good amount of a build up and back story. The prank subplot that kicks the movie in motion is well-executed and there's some fun dialogue between the girls and Lois Hunt's "Mrs Slater". Thankfully, this film isn't the movie it's poster (above left) appears to promise, which is some soft-core porno erotic "where nothing is off limits" in a sorority house. The poster is clearly trying to sell it as just that, but there's only one (sorta) sex scene and only one brief nude scene. It's a curiously tame movie that appears to be more interested in actual scares and mystery. In the end, I was very impressed and it's so much better than, say, Prom Night, Happy Birthday to Me or Cheerleader Camp. B

Sure, I could've done without the creepy clown costume at the end, but that was but a brief moment that I can forgive it. I certainly wouldn't want that bloody music box in my house thought. I would throw it in the bin.

Still, one of my absolutely favourite parts of The House on Sorority Row was Eileen Davidson as the bitchy sorority sister "Vicki". She appears to be a cousin of Porta de Rossi's "Murphy" in Scream 2! Davidson became better known for her stints on daytime soap operas like The Young and the Restless, Santa Barbra, The Bold and the Beautiful and as "Kristen" in The Days of Our Lives, which even I remember. I knew she looked familiar, but the first name I thought of was actually 1980s/1990s pop singer Taylor Dayne!

Much like Anastacia ten years later, Dayne had a couple of huge selling albums and massive chart-topping singles on the back of a booming voice before disappearing into some sort of black hole. I particularly loved "I'll Be Your Shelter" from her 1990 album Can't Fight Fate.

"I'll Be Your Shelter"
"Can't Get Enough of Your Love" | "Love Will Lead You Back"


1 comment:

Tony said...

I have yet to check this slasher out -- I'm gonna have to.