ONTD Halloween Original™: 15 Horror & Suspense Movies About Fraternities & Sororities




The Scarehouse © 2014 D Films

"College students have always shown a more or less marked tendency to form themselves into societies."
- William Raimond Baird, Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities

We are led to believe that once we get out of grade school, college will be a breeze. In some ways, that is true. The concept of cliques is a thing of the past as there are too many people on campus to bother with such a thing. Yet there are fraternities and sororities. Say what you will about them as the bad ones deserve all the criticism, but there is an instant sense of belonging once you're accepted into a house. But is that camaraderie enough to save you when the going gets tough? Even dangerous?

Here are fifteen horror and suspense movies set in or about fraternities and sororities.


BLACK CHRISTMAS
1974
Directed by Bob Clark


As the Christmas college break begins, a group of stragglers at a sorority house are subjected to terrorizing phone calls from a madman.

This quintessential Canadian proto-slasher does not comment too much on sorority life. The house just happened to be the setting. There is talk of pregnancy and alcoholism, though. The original Black Chistmas is a suspenseful college slasher that moves at a pace uncommon in modern horror, but the finale is fantastic.


THE INITIATION OF SARAH
1978
Directed by Robert Day




A college student unleashes her psychokinetic ability after joining a sorority.

This made-for-television movie can be compared to Carrie, but The Initiation of Sarah is more of a cheesy drama with some supernatural elements. It does have good acting, however, which isn't a quality associated with TV-movies nowadays. There is a 2006 remake that also stars Morgan Fairchild. Her wet T-shirt scene in the 1978 version caused quite a stir back in the day.


HELL NIGHT
1981
Directed by Tom De Simone




Four pledges forced to stay in an abandoned mansion come to learn that the house isn't so empty after all.

If one can get past Linda Blair's questionable acting, this slasher has a great setting and some creepy atmosphere.


TERROR TRAIN
1980
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode




A costumed killer sneaks aboard a party train on New Year's Eve and murders those responsible for a fraternity prank gone terribly wrong.

Jamie Lee Curtis was building up her "scream queen" cred with slashers like Terror Train. The pranksters in this movie did something terrible to someone else so it's a chore to feel sympathy for them. Terror Train suffers from some pacing problems, but the killer's decision to wear his victims' costumes was creative.


THE INITIATION
1984
Directed by Jock Gaynor, Bruce Lansbury, Scott Winant




When a sorority pledge is told to break into her father's department store at night, she and her friends are targeted by a serial killer.

The middle act's pacing almost does this lesser known slasher in, but audiences that stick in there are bound to be rewarded.


KILLER PARTY
1986
Directed by William Fruet




A sorority's house costume party is infiltrated by a killer.

At one point, this was going to be called "The April Fool," but there already was another teen horror flick by the name of April Fool's Day coming out the same year. Killer Party seems like a by-the-numbers slasher until the very strange ending.


THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW
1983
Directed by Mark Rosman




When the sisters of a sorority mistakenly murder someone, they hide the body on the grounds so they can throw their graduation party in the house. However, someone knows their secret - and they're going to make the women pay for their crime.

The main poster for this movie makes The House of Sorority Row seem like an erotic thriller. Hardly. This taut mystery was a pioneer for the horror trope of people commiting murder and keeping it a secret.


RUSH WEEK
1988
Directed by Opie Cooper




A plucky reporter investigates the disappearance of students during a college's rush week.

This obscure college slasher lacks gore and the kills are done off camera. If fraternity stereotypes from the '80s don't thrill you, the mystery -- once it finally gets going -- may keep you watching.


SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE
1986
Directed by Justin Lee




A young woman shares a psychic link with an escaped serial killer, who is headed straight for her sorority house.

The premise of this Roger Corman production is a combination of Halloween and Slumber Party Massacre with a paranormal spin. It isn't the most exciting slasher, but there are tense moments sprinkeled throughout the movie.

PLEDGE NIGHT
1990
Directed by Paul Ziller




What should have been a simple frat prank ended with someone being boiled in a tub of acid. Years later, the same frat's new generation of pledges are picked off by someone from the past.

Pledge Night could almost be a screwball comedy of the '80s if not for the sparse slasher elements throughout and more so toward the end. If you really don't find cinematic frat antics hilarious, avoid this one.


NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
1986
Directed by Fred Dekker




A college campus is plagued by alien parasites that use humans as hosts.

From the director of The Monster Squad comes Night of the Creeps, a comedy that combines zombies, aliens, and Greek life. The movie has deservingly earned a cult following, especially after the similarly plotted Slither came out in 2006.


FRAT FRIGHT
1992
Directed by Brian Owens




Two decades ago, a priest murdered a group of fraternity brothers. He then became catatonic and was put in a mental hospital. Today, he's awakened and is back to his killer ways.

The '90s was a tough time for the horror genre. The golden age of slashers was long gone until the advent of Scream and its copycats caused a resurgence. There were some stragglers that were recycling stories and tropes from films that filled seats in theaters. Frat Fright, better known as Happy Hell Night, was one of those pictures oh so late to the game. Jorga Fox (of CSI) and Sam Rockwell have small parts in this average yet amusing enough murder-by-numbers teen thriller.


SORORITY ROW
2009
Directed by Opie Cooper




Years after a small group of sorority sisters cover up a murder, they are all stalked and picked off by an unseen killer.

Horror in the 2000s was basically either splatter films or remakes of cult favorites. Sorority Row doesn't entirely measure up to the 1983 movie it's based on (The House on Sorority Row, if you couldn't figure that out), but on its own, it is very entertaining. None of the characters have any sort of semblance of normal reactions or thoughts, but if you like one-liners and intricate, MTV-style death scenes, Sorority Row is one of the more tolerable, big-budget horror remakes.


BROTHERHOOD
2010
Directed by Will Canon




As part of their initiation, a fraternity pledge and his peers are ordered to rob a convenience store. Things go very wrong, though.

This unheard of thriller lacks horror, but it is suspenseful. Mainly because everyone in Brotherhood makes poor decisions left and right.

THE SCAREHOUSE
2014
Directed by Gavin Michael Booth




Two former sorority members take revenge on their ex-friends after taking the fall for a crime they all committed.

For a movie that cost about 200,00 CAD, The Scarehouse is a pleasing revenge thriller that keeps your attention with humor, revelations, and twists.


Poll #2085706 Are/were you in a frat/sorority?

Are/were you in a frat/sorority?

Yes
11(15.3%)
No
60(83.3%)
I pledged, but didn't get in.
1(1.4%)

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