Back in university, my best friend joined a sorority at her school. I thought she was signing her life away – destined to a life of finding severed heads in her toilet or get picked off by a deranged psychopath named Billy. Thankfully she survived those years unharmed by any knives, but shows like Scream Queens and movies like Sorority House Massacre have pretty much cemented sororities as a fun place to die horrible, graphic deaths.
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is more than just a ridiculously long name for a movie with sorority girls. It’s, er, a strange one. And very little of it actually takes place in a sorority house, but rather a bowling alley (of course). But it also is notable for starring nearly every scream queen produced in that era.
Two girls, Taffy and Lisa, are pledges to the Tri-Delta sorority. Their president is the sadistic Babs Peterson (played by Slumber Party Massacre’s Robin Rochelle Stille), and she rules with her two cronies that really aren’t worth naming. They’ll be #1 and #2. The film introduces the girls while the trio are getting ready to initiate their new pledges. This is seriously one of the most 80s scenes of all time as the girls tease their fluffy ponytails and then perform the sort of strange synchronised hand wave thing.
Have you ever got the feeling watching a movie that you probably weren’t the intended audience? This is a bit of a guess, but I don’t think this female spanking other female with a paddle scene was made with an audience like me in mind.
It’s super pervy, which I guess this part of the sleezy 80s was good at. But this initiation scene sort of introduces us to our trio of “nerds” – which consists of two obviously good-looking men made to look ugly by putting them in Clark Kent glasses and giving them bowl haircuts. The third is the typical “fat” boy who has a loud belch and an overly-obnoxious personality.
When the three boys get caught creeping by Babs and her ladies, she changes her mind about the hazing process. She sends the two pledges to go with the boys to the bowling alley where she wants them to steal a bowling trophy.
Sounds lame indeed, but when she reminds her two henchbitches that her daddy owns the mall, they break out into maniacal laughter. At this point, I am quite happy to have these three be the evil ones. There’s some seriously bad acting going on here that makes them pretty easy to do the whole “love to hate them” thing.
As the group make their way into the mall, one of the boys named Calvin (he’ll be our hero, which is the only reason I wasted my time looking up this character name) stumbles upon a girl burglarising a bowling alley. This is Spider aka Linnea Quigley in one of her few fully-clothes roles.
Up until this point, Sorority Babes plays it pretty straight as far as its plot-line goes. It’s even a bit fun. But everything goes in a very, very strange direction once they steal their trophy.
One of the nerds drops the trophy and the room fills with fog. Out of the trophy comes a jive-talking imp. Why is there an imp in this horror movie? “Because 80s” is probably the only satisfactory answer, but I’m sure there’s also probably some story about a friend of the screenwriter’s or director’s who had a puppeteer friend who was desperate to get work. So in the name of achieving your dreams, I’ll let this one go.
This isn’t any ordinary imp, of course. He grants wishes! One asks for gold, one to be prom queen and another to get laid. All pretty lame wishes, actually, but since the character merit is not judged on intelligence, I will have to let this slide as well.
Things go south aft this, of course, because whenever you find an imp in a bowling trophy, it can only spell trouble. Two of the wishes quickly revert to crap (wood instead of gold and a tattered prom dress, but strangely enough the girl possessed to be randy never stops throughout the movie), and then the imp turns Babs’s two henchbitches into demons. Well, one is the bride of Frankenstein and I’m still really not sure why.
Babs attempts an escape, but she’s electrocuted and knocked out. The rest of the kids begin to panic when the demons begin their attack. Poor comedy relief boy is picked-off first and has his head used as a bowling ball. Turns out demons can’t bowl, though, so I guess that’s one thing some of us have over them.
See, I thought “sadistic sorority girl terrorises others in mall” actually sounded fun. This imp thing, though, is a real pain in my ass. He just keeps talking. But the puppet looks so crap, that I find him more irritating than anything else.
Linnea and Calvin (who is essentially a taller Corey Feldman in Stand By Me) become the brains of the operation somehow. But they pretty much blow at trying to save their friends. There are multiple scenes where the two just sit on random floors together instead of trying to find the others to take the demons and the imp down together. I suppose this was a way of building some sort of romance? I personally don’t find the murder of others terribly romantic, but if it works – hey.
The two stumble upon a janitor, who is some sort of weird sub-plot in the movie. I think he’s meant to be funny, but I didn’t understand much of what he said throughout the film, so I tried to shut him out as much as humanly possible. But he has the backstory to the imp getting trapped in the trophy. This is also not interesting. After listening to the older man carry on, Spider and Clavin take off to finally kill off some demons. At this point Babs has also become a demon, but mostly looks like Lita Ford.
Other than the imp, this movie pretty much plays out how most slashers play out. But I did love the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie type ending. Nothing makes me feel more satisfied by a movie than watching a motorcycle-driving, bowling alley-robbing babe drive off into the sunset with her new romantic interest.
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is probably one of the strangest slashers I have ever seen. But it was the late 80s, so anything goes. It’s part raunchy slasher, part comedy, and also part puppet show. Sometimes it works, while other times… meh.
Most of the movie is ruined by the quality. It’s so damn dark I spent most of the film not really understanding what was going on. There’s even a point where Linnea goes “look at this!” and I know there’s something in her hand, but I definitely can’t see what it is, so I just assume it’s another bowling trophy (but I do learn it’s a knife, which I suppose would have been a better guess).