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
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]


Seven sorority sisters pull a prank on their strict house mother, Mrs. Slater, who is known for carrying a sharp walking cane. Their plan is to put her cane out in their dirty pool and force her at gunpoint to retrieve it. The prank goes awry when Vicki, believing the gun to be loaded with blanks, shoots Slater who collapses and appears to be dead. The girls agree to hide the body in the pool until their graduation party is finished.

As the party begins, a guest wanders around the pool and an unidentified figure stabs him through the throat with Slater's cane. When other guests attempt to throw Jeanie in the pool, they are stopped by the sorority sisters. The girls realize that if the pool lights get switched on they will reveal Slater's body, so Stevie goes into the power room to disable them. While doing so, She is brutally stabbed to death by the same cane-wielding figure. Later, the pool lights do come on, but Slater's body is no longer in the pool. The girls speculate about what could have happened to both Stevie and the body.

Deciding that Slater must still be alive, Vicki orders the girls to search for her. Morgan enters Slater's room where Slater's trussed-up body falls on her from the attic. She is joined by the sisters, and Vickie suggests hiding the body in the old cemetery. Morgan runs crying to her room where she is stabbed to death by the killer with Slater's cane. 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 to death through the sunroof. Jeanie, the most nervous member of the group, is attacked while running back to the house, but manages to escape. After informing Katey about the attack, Jeanie arms herself with a chef's knife and is chased into the upstairs bathroom. As she hide in a stall, the killer enters the bathroom and looks for in each stall. As the killer reaches the last stall, Jeanie bursts out of the stall to attack but gets decapitated by her own knife when the killer gains the upper hand.

Katey finds a medical alert tag on a necklace belonging to Slater. She calls the phone number and is put through to a Dr. Beck who soon arrives at the house. The two discover the bodies of Stevie, Morgan, and Diane in the pool before beginning to believe that Slater is responsible for the attacks. Meanwhile, Vicki and Liz are attempting to bury the body. As they are about to bury the body, Liz and Vicki are both shortly killed by the assailant. Katey and Dr. Beck travel to the cemetery where Katey finds the bodies of Vicki and Liz at the bottom of an open grave. Dr. Beck finds Slater's body in the back of the van.

After forcibly giving Katey a sedative upon returning to the house, Dr. Beck reveals that Slater had a son named Eric who was horribly deformed and mentally underdeveloped thanks to an illegal fertility treatment he had given her. Eric was living in the sorority house's attic and witnessed the death of his mother. He is now exacting revenge on the girls. Dr. Beck uses Katey as bait so he can capture Eric with a tranquilizer gun and cover up his crime. However, the plan goes awry when Katey's date, Peter, comes through the door and is shot. Dr. Beck is hacked to death while Katey searches for Vicki's gun. She discovers Eric standing over Dr. Beck's body, but the gun will not fire. She flees to the upstairs bathroom to find and release the gun's safety catch, but panics when she sees Jeanie's severed head in the toilet. Katey climbs up into the attic where she is attacked by Eric. Katey shoots him repeatedly, but the gun only fires blanks. She grabs a doll and uses the pin sticking out of its neck to stab him numerous times, and he falls through the attic hatch to the floor below. Katey peers down and is relieved to see him motionless, believing that he is dead. However, Eric was only stunned, as he opens his eyes before the film ends leaving both of their fates unknown.


  • Kathryn McNeil as Katherine 'Katey' Rose
  • Eileen Davidson as Vicki
  • Lois Kelso Hunt as Mrs. Dorothy Slater
  • Christopher Lawrence as Dr. Nelson Beck
  • Janis Zido as Liz
  • Robin Meloy as Jeanie
  • Harley Kozak as Diane
  • Jodi Draigie as Morgan
  • Ellen Dorsher as Stevie
  • Michael Kuhn as Peter
  • Michael Sergio as Rick
  • Charles Serio as Eric
  • Kathryn Davidov as Party Girl


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.


The film received mixed-to-negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 43% of 7 sampled critics gave the film a mixed review, with an average score of 4.9 out of 10.

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.


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.[6][7]

La-La Land Records issued a disc of Band's score in 2015.

DVD release[edit]

Elite Entertainment released The House on Sorority Row on DVD on November 14, 2000.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] On January 24th 2011 Scorpion Releasing and Katarina Waters's Nightmare Theater will release the 2-disc remastered edition.[11]


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, Margo Harshman, and Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher as the housemother.[12] The script has been rewritten by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger.[13] The film was released on September 11, 2009 to a negative critical reception.


External links[edit]