Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 13th, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1983
Director: Mark Rosman
Writers: Mark Rosman, Bobby Fine
Cast:Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward, Robin Meloy, Harley Jane Kozak, Jodi Draigie, Ellen Dorsher, Lois Kelso Hunt, Christopher Lawrence, Michael Kuhn, Michael Sergio, Ruth Walsh
DVD released:January 24th, 2012
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Looking to let loose one last time before gradation, seven sorority sisters decide to prank on their overbearing house mother. What should have been a harmless prank turns deadly, when the gun they were using fatally wounds their house mother. To help conceal their crime, they put the corpse in the bottom of the murky pool behind their sorority house. Later that night they discover that the body is no longer where they left it. Unfortunately for them finding the dead body that they left in the pool is the least of their worries, since someone is stalking and killing them one by one by.
The House on Sorority Row was co-written and directed by Mark Rosman, who after directing this film shift towards more family friendly projects like A Cinderella Story and directing several episode of the T.V. series ‘Lizzie McGuire’. Key collaborators on The House on Sorority Row include cinematographer Tim Suhrstedt (Forbidden World, Suburbia) and composer Richard Band (Re-Animator, From Beyond).
Content wise, though this film has all the ingredients that one would expect and want from a Slasher film. It is not without its fare share of flaws, most notably a slow moving opening act in which no carnage unfolds onscreen. Thankfully by the second act things pick up to a somewhat brisker pace as the body’s start to pile up. Unfortunately a lot of violence happens off screen and what is shown the effects tend to look crudely executed – case in point a head in the toilet. And while some ground is gained during the film’s middle act, any momentum is all but killed by the film’s WTF, abrupt ending.
Even the character’s are nothing more than the clichéd type of characters which populate countless other Slasher films. Performance wise outside of Eileen Davidson (‘The Young and the Restless’) in the role of Vicki, the queen bitch of this film, none of the cast leave any lasting impression. Ultimately The House on Sorority Row is at best a middle of the road Slasher film.
Scorpion Releasing presents The House on Sorority Row in an anamorphic widescreen that retains this films original aspect ratio. This film has been release twice before on DVD and this new release from Scorpion Releasing that was sourced from a band new HD master is superior to those two aforementioned releases in every way.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are no problems with distortion or background noise and dialog always comes through clearly.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs. Extras on disc one include 4 T. V. spots, a theatrical trailer, a stills gallery, a story to film compression segment, a alternate ending, a interview with actress Harley Jane Kozak (41 minutes 39 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and two audio commentaries, the first audio commentary with co-screenwriter / director Mark Rosman and actresses Kate McNeil and Eileen Davidson, the second audio commentary with Mark Rosman and moderator Katarina Leigh Waters. The audio commentary with Mark Rosman and Katarina Leigh Waters is the more technical of the two, while the other commentary with Mark Rosman, Kate McNeil and Eileen Davidson having a more laid back vibe too it. With that being said, there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from both tracks. It should be noted that some of the information covered in these audio commentaries also crops up in the on camera interviews that are included with this release. Topics discussed in the interview with Jane Kozak include how she got the role, how she was only paid $50 for each day that she was being filmed, showing up on days in which she was not needed just to get the free food being served to everyone on the set, she also talks candidly about the other cast members and what is like working with Mark Rosman. Also during this interview she discusses other films that she has worked on. Rounding out the extras included on disc one is a promo reel for Katarina’s Nightmare Theater.
There are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature.
Extras on disc two include five interviews, the first interview with Kate McNeil (14 minutes 24 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), the second interview with Eileen Davidson (7 minutes 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and the third interview with Mark Rosman (21 minutes 24 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), the fourth interview with composer Richard Band (45 minutes 18 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and Igo Kantor (10 minutes 11 seconds – 4:3 full frame). The interviews with actresses Kate McNeil and Eileen Davidson cover many of the same topics that were covered in the Jane Kozak, like how they got involved in this film, their thoughts about Mark Rosman and the other cast members and various other films that they have appeared in. Topics discussed in the interview with Mark Rosman include the origins of this project, most notably why he choose to direct a Horror – since he never really cared for the genre and has not made a Horror films since, he also talks candidly about the advertising campaign chosen for this film by the distributor and he also talks about the cast. Topics discussed in the interview with Charles Band include how his involvement in this project and various other films that he has written scores for. Topics discussed in the interview with Igo Kantor include his involvement with this film – at the time he worked for the film’s distributor. Rounding out the extras on disc two are trailers for Final Exam, Double Exposure, Incubus, Terror and Humongous. Overall The House on Sorority Row gets a definitive release from Scorpion Releasing.