The House on Sorority Row

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The House on Sorority Row
The House on Sorority Row poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by Mark Rosman
Produced by John G. Clark
Written by Bobby Fine
Mark Rosman
Starring Kate McNeil
Eileen Davidson
Janis Ward
Robin Meloy
Harley Jane Kozak
Music by Richard Band
Cinematography Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Paul Trejo
Jean-Marc Vasseur
Distributed by Multicom Entertainment Group Inc., Film Ventures International (FVI)
Release dates
  • January 21, 1983 (1983-01-21)
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $425,000
Box office $10,604,986

The House on Sorority Row (Also known as House of Evil and Seven Sisters) is a 1983 American slasher film directed by Mark Rosman. The film has become a cult classic among fans of the genre.[1]

Plot[edit]

Seven sorority sisters, Katey (Katherine McNeil) Morgan (Jodi Draigie), Stevie (Ellen Dorsher), Liz (Janis Zedo), Vicki (Eileen Davidson), Jeanie (Robin Meloy), and Diane (Harley Jane Kozak) pull a prank on their strict house mother, Mrs. Slater, who is known for carrying a sharp walking cane. Their plan is to put Mrs. Slater's cane out in their dirty pool and force her at gunpoint to swim through and retrieve it. The prank goes awry when Vicki, who was holding the pistol, accidentally shoots Mrs. Slater. The girls all agree to hide Slater's body in their dirty swimming pool until a graduation party being held in the house is finished. As the party begins, a guest wanders around the pool and an unidentified figure stabs him through the neck with Mrs. Slater's cane and drags him away.

When other guests attempt to throw Jeanie in the pool, they are stopped by the sorority sisters. Later, to prevent the pool lights from coming on revealing Slater's body, Stevie is forced to go into the power room of the house located in the basement. While doing so, she is brutally stabbed to death by Mrs. Slater's cane by the same figure. Katey meets her date for the party, Peter, but she and the other girls worry why Stevie has not returned from the power room yet along with the fact that Mrs. Slater's body is missing from the pool.

Believing that she may be still alive, Vicki orders the girls to search around the house for Mrs. Slater. Morgan enters Mrs. Slater's room and begins to search, resulting Mrs. Slater's body falling on her from the pull-down stairs that lead to the attic. She is joined by the sisters, questioning about the moving of Mrs. Slater's body. Morgan subsequently dies when she gets lured to her bedroom door and stabbed through the stomach with Mrs. Slater's cane. Having found Mr. Slater's body, the sisters decide to bury it in a nearby graveyard. Meanwhile Katey goes into the attic and discovers children's toys, a clown statue, and a dead bloodied bird laying in its cage. Diane is waiting in her van for the other girls, but the murderer stabs her with Mrs. Slater's cane from the sunroof. Jeanie, the most nervous member of the group, is attacked while running back into the house but succeeds to escape. After informing Katey about the attack, Jeanie is chased into the upstairs bathroom. The murderer finds her and enters the stall, decapitating her with a chef's knife.

The party goers finally depart, leaving Katey and Peter in the house. After realizing that Jeannie and the others are missing, Katey tells Peter to go home and finds a number on a chain she found near the gate. The chain has the phone number for a Dr. Beck who soon arrives and asks Katey where Slater is. The two discover the bodies of Stevie, Morgan, and Diane in the pool before beginning to believe that Slater is responsible for the attacks and travels to the graveyard where Vicki and Liz are attempting to bury the body. Liz brings the van around and gets her throat sliced with Slater's cane, via sharp handle. Vicki calls for Liz and when she gets no answer, she approaches the van and discovers Liz's body. Vicki turns around, only to be hacked to death with the cane by the assailant. After explaining what happened to Mrs. Slater during the prank, Katey and Dr. Beck arrive at the graveyard only to discover their bodies along with Mrs. Slater's body in the back of the van to which he explains that "He's alive".

After giving her a sedative upon returning to the house, Dr. Beck reveals to Katey that Mrs. Slater had a son named Eric who was horribly deformed and mentally underdeveloped thanks to a certain drug he had given her to help her conceive. Eric had actually been living in the Sorority House's attic and witnessed the shooting death of his mother. He is now exacting revenge on the girls for their irresponsibility with the prank. Katey is used as bait to lure Eric out of the attic so Dr. Beck can shoot him with a tranquilizer gun since he seeks to cover up his existence; the fertility drug having been illegal. However, the plan backfires when Peter comes through the door and is shot. Dr. Beck is hacked twice in the stomach by Eric who also throws him down a flight of stairs while Katey grabs the Colt M1911 that was used on Mrs. Slater and finds Dr. Beck's body. She flees to the upstairs bathroom and discovers Jeanie's severed head in the toilet, staring back up at her. A traumatized Katey climbs up into the attic and is attacked by Eric, who is dressed in a clown costume. As Eric approaches her, Katey seemingly kills Eric by stabbing him multiple times with a pin sticking out of a doll's neck, and he falls through the attic hatch to the floor below. Katey peers down and, believing that he is dead, she becomes relieved. However, Eric was only incapacitated, as he opens his eyes before the film ends; leaving both of their ultimate fates unknown.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming details[edit]

The House on Sorority Row was filmed on location in Baltimore, Maryland[2] in 1982, with a budget of a mere $425,000.[3]

In an interview with director Mark Rosman, it was revealed that Lois Kelso Hunt's performance is entirely dubbed, as her voice was deemed not "scary" enough for the role.[4] He also revealed that MGM was at one point interested in releasing the film, but Film Ventures provided the funds to the finishing touches of the movie.

According to Rosman, Film Ventures requested two changes to the final cut of the film. The first was that the original opening scene, which was shot in black & white, be colorized. So the opening sequence was color-tinted in black & blue. The second change was in regards to the original ending. In the director's original ending, Katherine is discovered floating dead in the pool, apparently Eric's final victim. Film Ventures felt the ending too downbeat, so as a result Katherine survives in the finished version.[5]

Theatrical release[edit]

The film was released in US theaters on January 21, 1983, and took in $617,661 in its opening weekend on 153 screens, ranking a low #14 at the box office.[6] By February 21, 1983, exactly one month after its original release, the film had grossed $4,330,028, earning well back its minuscule budget. Its ultimate gross totaled up to $10,604,986, so by financial means, the film was a success.

The one-sheet poster and advertising were created by Film Ventures International's regular advertising agency, Design Projects Incorporated. Design Project's owner, Rick Albert art directed the key art and title treatment design. The key art was illustrated by Jack Lynwood, who painted illustrations for many motion picture campaigns during the late 1970s and 80's. The copylines were written by Film Ventures' Edward L. Montoro.

Music[edit]

The film's music score was written by Richard Band and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The Washington D.C. based powerpop band 4 Out of 5 Doctors appears in the movie, performing several of their songs.[7][8]

DVD release[edit]

Elite Entertainment released The House on Sorority Row on DVD on November 14, 2000.[9] The disc featured the film's original theatrical trailer as a supplementary feature. The DVD was re-printed and released again on November 18, 2003.[10] As of 2008, the DVD is out of print and extremely difficult to find. However, the movie was re-released on January 12, 2010 on Amazon as a special 25 year special anniversary edition.[11] On January 24th 2011 Scorpion Releasing and Katarina Waters's Nightmare Theater will release the 2-disc remastered edition.[12]

Remake[edit]

The film was remade in 2009 by director Stewart Hendler. This version is titled simply Sorority Row and stars Briana Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Audrina Patridge, Julian Morris and Margo Harshman, with Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher as the housemother.[13] The script has been rewritten by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger.[14] The film was released on September 11, 2009 to mixed critical reception.

References[edit]

External links[edit]