Sunday Streaming Double Feature: Sorority House Massacre 2 & Hard To Die

Let's go ahead and jump right past the first SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE movie. It's a serviceable enough HALLOWEEN clone but we've got bigger, funnier, fish to fry. SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE 2 (1990) and its quasi-sequel from the same year (if not the same week) HARD TO DIE (1990) were both directed by frequent ROGER CORMAN crony JIM WYNORSKI (88's NOT OF THIS EARTH). I recommend you watch them back to back for optimum results.

SHM2 concerns five young ladies who buy a house to use for their sorority. They get the place super cheap on account of all of the grisly murders that took place there. Soon they meet a creepy neighbor named Orville Ketchum who kindly relays the history of the house by inexplicably talking over flashback scenes from SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE rather than the previous SORORITY movie. Stock footage of lightening informs us that a storm is brewing and so naturally the girls change into nighties and grab a Ouija board. Hilarious hijinks and horrible hook murders ensue. It's often said that a cult movie mustn't be in on the joke to be any good and here's proof that theory is full of hot air.

Now it's time for HARD TO DIE (or SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE 3). Most of the young ladies have returned to play different characters and the location has been moved to a towering skyscraper. Now watch as nearly the exact same events occur in a similarly structured script. Orville Ketchum is now the creepy janitor and he's quick to explain the occurrences of the last film by again speaking over the exact same SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE scenes rather than SORORITY 2. Stock footage of lightening is shown (this time with a building in front of it) and as if trapped in some kind of surreal eternal loop the girls loose their clothes and begin fooling around with a damned puzzle box a'la HELLRAISER having upgraded from the Ouija Board. Again, as the characters one by one meet their doom, two useless detectives loiter about the film's border only to arrive on the scene barely in time for the closing credits and the too late realization that Orville Ketchum is one very misunderstood man.

All signs point to these distorted mirror movie siblings being campy trash, and they are...and they're also lazily brilliant and somehow Dada-esque. Balancing on a tightrope between parody and pastiche, they off handedly both celebrate and mock the redundancy of sequels and the trippy deja vu nature of oft-repeated genre clichés. Or maybe I just have a questionable sense of humor.

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9 years ago

Well, I watched them thinking that maybe I'd be able to sort out the Sorority House Massacre films from the Slumber Party Massacre films from the Cheerleader Massacre films, but I was wrong and now possibly more confused than ever.