© 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.
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.
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.
If one can get past Linda Blair's questionable acting, this slasher has a great setting and some creepy atmosphere.
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 middle act's pacing almost does this lesser known slasher in, but audiences that stick in there are bound to be rewarded.
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 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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are/were you in a frat/sorority?
I pledged, but didn't get in.
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FFA QUESTIONHow would you describe your college experience?