Friday Night at the Video Store: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)

By Joe Meyers

My father is the King of horror B-film lovers so I wasn’t shocked when he told me on the morning of September 14th, 1991, “I caught part of a movie called ‘Sorority Babes in the Bowl-O-Rama of Death’ last night, let’s head to the video store to rent it later today.” How do I know the exact date? Because what he caught was part of an UP ALL NIGHT with Rhonda Shear episode that aired Friday the 13th, on the USA Network, featuring MEATBALLS III and SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA.

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So, instead of discovering that hidden horror gem in the video store as we roamed the aisles, we began a trek to find this supposed cinematic horror masterpiece like it was The Holy Grail. Our stops at the video stores near us (this was the era where mom and pop shops still thrived alongside chain video stores, so we made many stops) proved unsuccessful. None of them had it on the shelf, and inquiries with the staff resulted in blank stares and “I’ve never heard of it before” replies. Dejected, but refusing to quit, we returned home where I was tasked with cracking open the phone book to call other video stores in the area.

Lucky for us an employee at a place I contacted looked the movie up in their VHS catalog, because he thought it “sounded cool.” Thankfully this is where the clerk gave me the correct title for the film, but followed that revelation up with bad news. They didn’t have it, although they could order it for us, BUT we’d have to pay roughly $80.00 for them to buy the VHS tape from their supplier. Surprisingly, usually not one with impulse buying control, my dad declined the offer. Armed with the actual title of the film I did hit pay dirt a few calls later at a mom and pop shop forty minutes away from us. Not only did they have the film, the tape was in, and they agreed to hold it for us.

Finally, back home with our VHS treasure, my pops and I settled in to view the David DeCoteau directed, and Sergei Hasenecz written (their only feature film writing credit), horror movie. It begins with three sad sacks, Calvin (Andras Jones), Jimmie (Hal Havins), and Keith (John Stewart Wilman) deciding to spy on the Tri-Delta sorority’s initiation ceremony.

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Tri-Delta members Babs (Robin Stille), Rhonda (Kathi O’Brech), and Frankie (Carla Baron) haze sorority pledges Taffy (Brinke Stevens) and Lisa (Michelle Bauer) by having them strip down, and lean over the couch for spankings with the sorority house paddle. This is followed by a little whipped cream action which, OF COURSE, leads to Taffy and Lisa needing a shower. The guys decide to sneak into the sorority house, adding breaking and entering to their “Peeping Tom” resume, to watch the ladies showering only to get caught in the act by the Tri-Deltas.

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As punishment (I guess?) Babs sends Calvin, Jimmie, and Keith with Taffy and Lisa on the final part of their initiation, breaking into the mall bowling alley to retrieve a bowling trophy. Bab’s father runs the mall so the Tri-Deltas are able to watch the heist attempt from monitors in the mall security office. The group successfully breaks in, only to find bad-ass biker chick, Spider (Linnea Quigley), already robbing the place. After some tense moments Spider helps them break into the trophy room, they retrieve their prize, and then all Hell breaks loose as the trophy is accidentally dropped…releasing an Imp (a puppet voiced by Michael David Sonye, better known as Dukey Flyswatter of the L.A. horror punk band Haunted Garage) who was trapped inside.

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The Imp, looking like the love child of Shrek and Donkey, offers to grant everyone present a wish. Naturally there’s a catch as we enter “be careful what you wish for” territory. In quick secession all the wishes begin to go wrong, some of the group are turned into “Uncle Impie’s” demon minions, and others are dispatched in various ways around the bowling alley until the climatic, final battle against the Imp concludes. I’m being vague, and super “wrap up-ity” here, as to not spoil the fun for any potential first time viewers.

Was this the VHS gold at the end of the video store rainbow my dad made it out to be? Debatable, to be sure, but sixteen-year-old me enjoyed it for the horror sleaze that it was. Forty five-year-old me, watching again last week for the first time since that September day in 1991, sure sees it as a trashy, horror nostalgia trip best enjoyed with fellow horror-loving  friends/family and COPIOUS amounts of beer and pizza. Besides, you can’t go wrong with the awesomeness that is Linnea Quigley. There’s a reason the episode of UP ALL NIGHT my father happened upon that Friday the 13th almost three decades ago is a fan favorite of the series.

Now, if you’re from the UK, you may be thinking this sounds exactly like a movie you’ve seen before, but it wasn’t called SORORITY BABES IN THE SILMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA. That’s because it was released on video there under another title…THE IMP. I have to say I prefer the US title. I mean, yes, it’s a mouthful but it lays everything out on front street. This movie is exactly what it sounds like…pure 80’s, low-budget, T&A horror cheese. If that’s in your Film-watching wheelhouse, then dive on in with the rest of us slimeballs.

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Friday Night at the Video Store: Prom Night 2-Hello Mary Lou

By Jenny Duquette

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I know that time can get away from us in the Plague Times, but guess what? It’s Friday! And not just any Friday, but another Friday Night at the Video Store.

Tonight’s selection is one of the subgenre of movies that are sequels in name only-the movie was originally titled “The Haunting of Hamilton High,” a title which changed when the Samuel-Goldwyn Company bought it and thought it would be better marketed as a sequel to the Jamie Lee Curtis classic, Prom Night. I mean, because why not? The school name is the same, and the line, “It’s not who you go with, it’s who takes you home” is used in both movies, and Brock Simpson appeared in both, but beyond that there’s really no overlap.

The Los Angeles Times quite accurately called this movie “the Blue Velvet of high school horror movies,” which should really tell you that this movie is a very different animal than its predecessor. Hello Mary Lou has everything, managing to land on basically every taboo, from teen pregnancy to incest to a hint of demonic bestiality-it’s basically an afterschool special on PCP. Add to that possession, a badass fire stunt, and Michael Ironside and you’ve got 80’s horror magic. The cover art is so iconic that the band Falling in Reverse took it as inspiration for the cover of their album, “The Drug in Me is You,” with the lead singer’s ex-girlfriend playing the role of Mary Lou.

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This weird but wonderful movie starts off with a beautiful dark-haired girl going into the church to confess-she tells the priest that she has been impure with “many boys, many times.” The priest is horrified, but even more so when the girl tells him she “loved every minute of it.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is our introduction to Mary Lou Maloney.

The year is 1957, and Mary Lou (Lisa Schrage) is at the prom with her steady beau, Billy Nordham (Steve Atkins). Billy is clearly crazy about her, and gives her a beautiful ring. In return, she sends him off to get punch and sneaks off backstage with Buddy Cooper. The two are drinking and making out in the minute and a half it takes Billy to get punch, and Billy catches them, and overhears his beloved Mary Lou telling Buddy that she’s only with Billy because he’s good to her and his daddy is rich. When Billy confronts them, Buddy offers to let Billy smell his hand because it’s “as close as he’s going to get,” and then heads out to the prom with Mary Lou. Billy is understandably miffed, and happens to run into two kids with a stink bomb, and decides to get his revenge on his traitorous gal.

Mary Lou, to the surprise of no one, wins the title of Prom Queen, with Buddy at her side. In a coronation long enough to bore the Queen Mother, she finally gets the bejeweled crown on her head, and is aglow with the massive achievement of being hotter than her classmates, when Billy strikes. From the catwalk above, he lights the stink bomb and throws it on the stage. But the stink bomb doesn’t just stink up the stage and ruin Mary Lou’s moment-instead it rolls below her skirt and catches her dress, and subsequently Mary Lou, on fire. What follows is what was at the time the longest-running fire stunt in a movie, and the death glare to end all death glares as Mary Lou realizes Billy is responsible for the fire that winds up killing her.

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          (I think she’s mad.)

From there we travel thirty years into the future, to 1987, where Vicki Carpenter (Wendy Lyon) is preparing for her own prom. Sadly, her deeply religious mother thinks a prom gown is a waste of money, so Vicki winds up looking for a dress in the school prop room, where she finds a trunk with Mary Lou’s prom queen accessories, which were thankfully spared by the aforementioned slow-ass coronation. She takes them, which releases Mary Lou’s vengeful spirit. After Vicki leaves the cursed accessories in the art room, her friend Jess (Beth Gondek) ends up meeting an unfortunate yet artsy end after she makes the mistake of screwing with Mary Lou’s crown. This death is attributed to suicide from discovering she was pregnant, and is when shit starts getting real at Hamilton High.

Suddenly Vicki is having bizarre visions and confides in Buddy, who has become a priest. He realizes quickly that Mary Lou is back, and tries to warn Billy, who is now the school principal and also the father of Vicki’s boyfriend, Craig, played by The Artist Formerly Known As Justin Louis (Louis Ferreira).

Meanwhile, Vicki is becoming less well-adjusted by the second, and ends up in detention after slapping the bitchy prom queen nominee, Kelly Hennenlotter (Terri Hawkes.) That detention, more specifically when Vicki gets pulled into the suddenly liquid chalkboard, marks the complete possession of Vicki Carpenter, and also marks where things get completely nutty, as Vicki/Mary Lou kicks off her murderous rampage with Father Buddy, storming the confessional and stabbing him with a crucifix, after revealing that she was pretty pissed off about not getting “fucking wings” after she died.

As Vicki Lou Who goes from an 80’s virginal teenager to a trampy 50’s vixen, her friends and family are more than a little confused by the change. Her best friend Monica (Beverley Hendry) confronts the possessed Vicki in the locker room (80’s gratuitous nudity time), and Vicki telekinetically smashes her in the lockers (watch the goo in this scene-it’s gross and pretty awesome.) Then she basically tries to kill anyone who is even remotely in her way, because she will not be denied the glory of being Prom Queen this time.

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Billy realizes Buddy was right after Vicki/Mary Lou pays him a visit and gives him a chaste lapdance basically, and all hell breaks loose. Vicki and her demon carousel horse get oddly acquainted, and she tries to seduce her father, which is uncomfortable for everyone involved. And after Carrie-ing her mom through the front door, it’s time for prom!

While Mary Lou crossed the line between the dead and the living to become prom queen, Kelly crossed the line between prom queen and blowjob queen, and gives Josh some motivation to change the tally to make her the winner instead of Vicki. But Mary Lou is having none of that, and electrocutes Josh (another pretty cool, if dated, scene) to regain her title. But as she’s getting ready to accept her hard-won crown, Billy shoots her. Take just a moment and appreciate how fucked up it would be for the other students to see their principal shoot the prom queen, no really. The shooting prompts Mary Lou to emerge, going from chest burster to charred remains, to hottie with a revenge kink.

Before Mary Lou can send Craig into a vortex to the Underworld (yeah, not making that up), Billy shows up and places the crown on Mary Lou’s head and kisses her, which apparently was all Mary Lou needed to be set free, and be at peace, and everyone lives happily ever after…or do they?

This movie is a wild ride, and if you like ghostly possession stories, Very Special Episodes, or interspecies erotica, this weird flick might just be for you.

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Friday Night at the Video Store: Killer Party

by Jenny

 

If you grew up in the VHS era, you likely have fond memories of hitting the video store on a Friday night, a world of cinematic possibilities awaiting you. If you are not “of a certain age”, then welcome to this nostalgia-soaked, slasher-filled trip to the wonder of the video store experience. Don’t worry-we won’t charge late fees!

For this first installment of the series, we are going to visit the world of the 1986 classic, Killer Party. And by “classic”, I mean wonderfully absurd and soooooo very 80s.

Directed by William Fruet (Friday the 13th: the Series), with a screenplay written by Barry Cohen (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), this is one of those movies that I chose basically solely on the cover art, which was a common tactic of movie selection back in the day.  This movie was shot in October of 1984, and released in 5 theaters, making an unconfirmed total of $900.

 

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The movie starts with not one but two false starts. In the first fake-out, we are at a funeral, mourning the death of Annabel Pitswolly Couslove. There are tears, except from daughter-in-law Stephanie, who is giving some classic soap opera side-eye. She stays behind when the service is over, and tells the deceased that she hopes she burns in hell. In response, Annabel drags Stephanie into the coffin, which is brought to the crematorium by a headphone-wearing mortuary worker who can’t hear the screams coming from the casket, or notice the tremendous shaking of said casket. As Stephanie begins to go up in flames, we realize that this scene is actually playing at a drive-in where we meet April and her boyfriend, Stosh. April’s magnificent crimped blonde and pink hair isn’t even the most 80s thing about this movie, believe it or not. She runs into the concession area to get popcorn, and is surprised to see that there is no attendant, and steals a giant tub of popcorn. When she goes out to the car, Stosh is gone, and the movie onscreen has devolved into pure screaming chaos. Soon, April’s life also devolves into chaos, as she’s attacked by zombies. Yes, zombies.

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But, in the second fake-out in the first ten minutes of the movie, it’s not a zombie movie-it’s a music video, for a song called You’re No Fool by the generously-bandanaed band White Sister. As April is dragged away by dancing zombies, we meet the first of our protagonists, Phoebe, played by Elaine Wilkes (Sixteen Candles), who was watching the music video (for you youngins, music videos were a thing once, on that channel with all the skanky reality shows on it.) Between us, Phoebe has always been my favorite character in this movie-as a teenager, I thought her style was so badass, from her curly mop to her red shoe/white shoe/white sock/red sock footwear. From there we meet the other two heroines-Jennifer played by Joanna Johnson, (The Bold and the Beautiful), and Vivia, played by Sherry Wilkes-Burch (Final Exam). The girls are pledging Sigma Alpha Pi, but Jennifer, who quickly reveals herself to be the doomsayer of this flick, is having doubts.

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She is, of course, completely right to have her doubts. They have the snotty sorority sisters to deal with, led by Veronica (Alicia Fleer), and the absolutely un-PC frat brothers from Beta Tau, who lead to the T&A scene that was required for an 80s slasher. The sexual harassment throughout this movie has not aged very well, and the majority of the male characters are pretty gross, but this ends up being the least of the girls’ problems.

After the boys attack the girls with bees in a successful effort to see their bits (not even joking), the house mother goes to a gravestone and tells “Allan” that the girls are going to be using the house, and that it was time for to let go. Then she goes to the house in question to hammer nails into the railings, you know, for safety. And here’s when shit gets real, as we see the first of many murders.

I won’t give the play-by-play on the rest of the story, because you really need to watch it, but let me just give the disclaimer that this movie suffers from a cornucopia of ideas, and a full-on assault by the MPAA, which resulted in a shortage of murder and gore onscreen. There are so many different tells of the murderer, from an apparently severe case of athlete’s foot, to an old school scuba suit/trident ensemble. Honestly, I’m still not 100% who the prolific murderer is, or why he doesn’t wash his feet, but let’s just say he’s prolific, knocking out the coeds quicker than mono.

This movie has everything-slashers, every 80s college trope, light nudity, possession, goat eyeballs, and even a handful of murderous pranks. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be confused, which was not atypical of the Friday night video store adventure. Definitely worth a watch, preferably with Jiffy Pop.

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