Sorority House Massacre II (1990)




So here I am defending Sorority House Massacre against accusations that it too closely resembles its tangentially-related predecessor The Slumber Party Massacre (although I can’t fully excuse how heavily it borrows from Halloween), when Sorority House Massacre II has to turn around & make me look like a fool. Sorority House Massacre II is such a blatant, subpar ripoff of The Slumber Party Massacre that I had to check the title on the DVD sleeve several times just to make sure I hadn’t watched the wrong sequel by mistake. Completely ditching the vengeful sibling backstory of Sorority House Massacre, this sequel instead shows what I swear is exact footage from the killings in The Slumber Party Massacre. Like, exact. By the time the killer was hiding under a blanket or dangling a large power drill between his legs I felt like a crazy person. To make matters even more muddled, the killer from The Slumber Party Massacre (who most certainly doesn’t belong in this film’s backstory) is given a completely different name & origin than either killer in the two Massacre films that precede this mess. Besides being written & shot over the course of a single week, this discrepancy about which film is being followed up here exactly can be cleared up by recognizing that all three productions were handled by Roger Corman, who was no stranger to cutting corners financially at the expense of his films’ narrative continuity.

As best as I can make clear from the Sorority House Massacre II‘s jumbled mythology, a group of college girls purchase a sorority house for dirt cheap due to a mass murder that had occurred on the property five years prior, only to have the killings (shocker!) repeat themselves over the course of one bloody night. Whether this is supposed to be the bloodstained sorority house from the first Sorority House Massacre or the suburban home from The Slumber Party Massacre or neither house at all is solidly up for debate. No matter. The plot is, duh, a largely inconsequential inconvenience for the film to deliver its main concerns: nudity & gore. What I enjoyed about the first Sorority House Massacre was how surprisingly girly it was for a film that promised a blood-soaked softcore porn in its title. It relied on  bizarre dream imagery instead of lady-stabbing for most of its terror and, although it certainly wasn’t shy on the gratuitous nudity front, its dress-up & make-out montages were far from hyper-masculine masturbation fantasy material. Sorority House Massacre II, on the other hand, delivers loads more slasher genre hedonism on both counts. The film’s power tool murders, which range from the aforementioned drill to kookier instruments like bear traps, are plentiful & plenty bloody. Its nudity is also heavy on the leering, filming girls as the soap up their breasts in the shower, individually dress in skimpy lingerie, and give each other massages in high-waisted thongs. Whether or not the film is narratively in line with the first Sorority House Massacre, it certainly outdoes its predecessor in tastelessness, yet never aproaches its weirdo deja vu-inspired visual ideas (despite a last minute supernatural twist that does little to complicate its straightforward genre trappings).

Besides being in line with The Slumber Party Massacre in terms of narrative backstory & softcore porn salaciousness, Sorority House Massacre II also matches The Slumber Party Massacre‘s intentionally self-aware goofiness in its Ouija board & toilet bowl swirlies tomfoolery, its references to the fictional slasher Strip to Kill Part 7, and in lines like “This place would give Boris Karloff the creeps! […] I love those old horror movies & stuff like that.” I can see how the atrocious acting & dialogue and the shameless blood & tits formula of Sorority House Massacre II could make it more readily enjoyable for the boozy midnight crowd than the first Sorority House film, but I believe that the earnestness & the visual experimentation of the first film makes it the more interesting entry in the franchise. A followup to Sorority House Massacre II, Sorority House Massacre III: The Final Exam, was promised/threatened as recently as the 2000s, but I suspect any third entry in the franchise will skew even further to the winking parody end of the slasher spectrum, which is fine, but not nearly as exciting as the first film’s genuine weirdness. The real question is how a third film would pull together the narrative trainwreck Sorority House Massacre II made of its franchise’s continuity. As a run-of-the-mill genre exercise, Sorority House Massacre II is pretty alright, but not especially worthy of a recommendation. As a sequel meant to hold its series’ narrative throughline together in an A-B progression, it’s a total mess.

-Brandon Ledet