Friday, October 07, 2011

31 Days of Fright!: It's Slasher Friday with FRAT HOUSE MASSACRE (2008)

Welcome to Slasher Friday here at ER's 31 Days of Fright! Today, long-time ER contributor, Divine Exploitation publisher and NAHUM author Doug Waltz checks in with a look at Synapse's new disc for the 2008 retro slasher homage FRAT HOUSE MASSACRE.

It's 1979 and Sean (Chris Prangley) and his brother Bobby (Rane Jameson) have had a hard life. Their parents were killed when they were young. But, they were taken in by the loving Miss P and she gave them everything they could ask for. Now, it's time for the two boys to head off to college and join Delta Iota Epsilon.

But, before they can get there, Bobby gets in a horrible car accident and lies in a coma. Sean returns to his fraternity to find that things have changed. The hazing rituals have turned lethal. When he tries to stop it he is murdered, but at the exact second of his death Bobby snaps out of his coma.

Now, Bobby goes to school, but he isn't there for an education. He's there for revenge.

While I was watching this I couldn't believe how well it had been done. I'm an old fart and remember 1979. They got a lot of this spot-on and you could almost believe that this was some undiscovered slasher flick from the late 70's. The clothes, the cars, the speech. All of it rang true. Sure, you could nitpick some of it, but why bother? It's supposed to be fun.

I have always said that all slasher flicks have to have boobs and blood to be effective, and that still holds true. But, there are other things that make an effective slasher flick. Gory set pieces, bad acting, a feel of it being shot in a small town with people you have never seen in a movie before. This hits on all counts. Even Jon Fleming as the sadistic frat president, Mark, manages to chameleon himself in such a way that you don't recognize him right away.

Here's my one nitpick.

These guys in the frat kill all their pledges. What will happen when they all graduate? If they are supposed to be the top fraternity in the school then you know that their charter is going to question why there have been no new members in a while. I realize that this is nitpicking a slasher flick, but it really bothered me throughout the flick. I needed a better reason than the non-answer we were left with.

As I was checking out the special features it mentioned director Alex Pucci's previous film, CAMP SLAUGHTER. I thought if this was this good then an homage to camp slasher flicks would be even better.

I was right.

Years ago I reviewed a flick called CAMP DAZE. I really liked that one as well. They retitled it CAMP SLAUGHTER for release.

We might want to keep an eye on this Alex Pucci fellow. He seems to be making movies just for me. – Doug Waltz


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