We are headin’ down Memory Lane tonight! Or as much of it as I can see, since the memory I have of first seeing this movie isn’t anchored well to the past, but enough of a connection is there that allows me to narrow it down to an actual day. These trips are always fun, but they’re made more fun when I’m revisiting a flick I haven’t seen since that time. I’ve seen Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (man, that’s a high maintenance title) once and once only and I can’t say it’s been on my radar in the intervening years. Sure I knew it was out on disc, but never got around to buying it, but even more time has gone by and since now a pristine blu-ray exists it’s about time I revisit this mother and see where I stand with it!
IMDB says it came out on January 29, 1988. Jesus, that’s only a hop, skip and a jump after my nineteenth birthday. Unbelievable. As to when I first saw it? Either in 1989 or 1990, which would put me at my first job at in the stockroom of K-Mart. I actually liked that job and have fond memories of it. I saw Sorority Babes on a Saturday night on the USA channel’s Up All Night show. Back in the 80s the USA channel was very different than it is now. It was one of the “cool channels” that revealed in genre movies on weekends. There was also Commander USA’s Groovy Movie that aired during the afternoon. Up All Night, as the titles states, was a late night show that was headlined by three guest hosts at different times. The ones I remember the most were Gilbert Gottfried and smoking hot Rhonda Shear (she posed naked for Playboy, or Penthouse, I believe at one point). There were two movies in a row and both were genre flicks. The memories I retained of Sorority Babes was the ending where a chick or some of the chicks were turned into monsters and they hunted the other kids that were trapped in the bowling alley. This stayed with me because for unknown reasons that final act creeped me out. I’ve addressed a similar situation in my reviews of The Strangeness (1985) and Forever Evil (1987) in that if you’re in the right frame of mind any movie you see can affect you and stay with you. Those previous two I just mentioned I was in the right frame of mind and because of that they became very important memory movies for me. The same happened with Sorority Babes but to a lesser extent.
The remastered trailer I’ve seen recently showed scenes that looked familiar, and others I didn’t recognize. Right now I am a mere four and a half hours away from revisiting this movie and I’m curious to know if I did see the whole film through or if I came in on the middle of it?
The first thing I realized was Hal Havins is in this, so is Linnea Quigley, but that I already knew. These two were in another cult classic together, Night Of The Demons (1988). I wonder if I knew that back then? Probably not. But I do recall thinking that fat kid looked familiar. Linnea’s character’s name is Spider, which I suspect is a deliberate nod to yet another cult classic she was in, The Return Of The Living Dead (1985). There was a dude in that movie named, Spider, she hung around with.
I never realized this before but this is a chick flick, and I don’t mean that in the typical chick flick way. I don’t know, maybe, I do. I don’t see a lot of chick flicks. But what I mean is there are four males in this movie and all of them are ineffective as far as being able to stand up to the supernatural menace. They’ve got the role most chicks get in these kinds of genre films. But, on the other hand, every one of these movies has a heroine and Sorority Babes’ is Calvin (Andras Jones), and our hero of this piece is none other than 80s Scream Queen Linnea Quigley as Spider, a very hot thief our main cast run into, but as usual I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s back this bitch up about 30 years to a time when a David McCabe was alive and couldn’t bowl worth shit. And then one day he comes into the local bowling alley and bowls like a pro, even wins a championship. Then people who’ve wronged him start dying. The murders are linked to him and he’s arrested and sent to prison. What Calvin and Spider come to learn is that the dude was using black magic to acquire his bowling skill, and it was this imp he conjured up that gave it to him. It’s the imp who was responsible for the murders too. Apparently imps can be caught real easy though and this particular one has been imprisoned in this trophy in this local bowling alley for three decades.
Okay, now we can shoot forward in time to present day circa 1987 where we meet three college kids chilling in their dorm room: Calvin (Jones), Jimmie (Hal Havins) and Keith (John Stuart Wildman). An argument over the selfishness of Jimmie and his beer is what eventually leads all three over to the Tri-Delta sorority group’s house one night to spy on their initiation ceremony. Keith knows when it’s going to happen and they jump at the chance to see if they can spy some fresh naked girl meat. And what do know they actually luck out!
Babs (the late Robin Rochelle), Rhonda (Kathi O’Brecht) and Frankie (Carla Baron) are initiating two new pledges, Lisa and Taffy played by smoking hot Scream Queens Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer respectively. I forgot that movies could get away with full frontal nudity back in the 80s. Stevens and Bauer show off their luscious pubes. That’s right there was an actual time when chicks had pubes!
Peeping at the window isn’t good enough for the guys, they need to see more and honestly who wouldn’t want to, so they break in and make their way upstairs and luck out a second time! Lisa and Taffy are buck ass naked in the bathroom and they get an eyeful, they also get caught. Babs, the masochistic babe in charge, is still in the process of initiating these two pledges and plan to incorporate the guys into it. She gives them a choice, go along with Lisa and Taffy to steal a trophy from the local bowling alley or she can call the cops and get their asses arrested for breaking and entering. They choose the former, since it comes with a perk, the company of two hot chicks they already saw naked.
Unbeknownst to the group Babs’ father owns the bowling alley she sent them to, and they plan on getting there ahead of time and watching them on the security cameras. The plan is to scare them into not succeeding so she can punish the two girls further when they don’t show up with the trophy.
There are two wild cards in this plan, however, the aforementioned Imp and Spider. The latter of which they run into as she’s trying to pry open the cash register with a crowbar. Spider isn’t a particular warm individual either, but she warms up to Calvin and carries his ass so-to-speak through the rest of the film. He does have some heroic moments; all heroines do at some point.
Jimmie picks the wrong trophy, or the right one, depending in how you want to look at it and during an argument it hits the floor, the bottom pops open and out pops Uncle Impy as he likes to call himself. He talks too (voiced by a dude named Dukey Flyswatter), and he’s kind of in the same league as a genie, which would mean this flick and The Outing (1987) would make a great double feature. Wishes are granted, but they’re hollow wishes, and all Uncle Impy wants to is kill people. He turns Frankie and Rhonda into “demons.” Frankie looks like a Bride of Frankenstein wanna-be and Rhonda’s demonic turn involves some mild facial make-up that makes her look generally fucked-up. This movie isn’t remotely gory and all “effects” were obviously done on a strict budget hence the mild demon make-up on Rhonda. Now kids start dying, picked off one by one by Impie’s minions and when one is killed, she’s replaced, which is how Babs turns into a chick decked out in leather, and long blonde hair who just wants to kill. I take that back there two gore effects: Jimmie gets his head pulled off and Rhonda uses it as a bowling ball, and later on Spider hacks off Frankie’s head.
I did mention there were four males in this movie. The fourth one is the janitor played by another familiar genre face, the late George “Buck” Flower! He’s credited as C.D. LaFleur in the end credits for some reason (explained in the movie commentary). But if you’re into genre flicks you’ll surely recognize Buck from films like They Live (1988), Pumpkinhead (1988), The Fog (1980), Escape From New York (1981), and Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat (1989) just to name a few. His role is the old-guy-who-knows-shit and he’s the one that informs Calvin and Spider about the Imp’s history and how to capture it, which as I said is pathetically easy. Imps hate to be boxed into things, and the ending here leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong I loved this trip down Memory Lane and the movie too, but shit, man, that ending…you see while the Imp is distracted Spider traps it in this metal box and she just leaves it outside on the curb as the two of them jump on her motorcycle and head to her apartment. So she just leaves a homicidal supernatural creature trapped in a box out in the open where obviously someone is going to find it and kick it over?! With an ending like that there should have been a sequel and I feel cheated there wasn’t.
Full Moon first put this out on DVD in 2013, but it was full frame and lacking extras. This might be the reason why I never revisited it. This past July 11th Charles Band has finally given us a real treat and blued it . . . with extras!
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—2.0 English Dolby Digital, 5.1 English Dolby Digital—No subtitles.
This was remastered in 2K from the original 35mm elements that were discovered this year and it looks really good! In the UK 88 Films has their own blu out, but I don’t own it so I can’t do a comparison.
Extras included . . .
- Audio Commentary With Director David DeCoteau, Writer Sergei Hasenecz and Scream Queen Brinke Stevens
- Director Intro (1:36)
- Tales From The Bowling Alley (2:16:14), with optional commentary by David DeCoteau.
- Brinke Vs The Imp (2:41)
- Original Trailer
- New 2016 HD Trailer
You can buy it here on Amazon!
Some of the best audio commentaries come from B-movies I have to say and this one is no exception. The chick who played Babs died by suicide in 1996 and she was drunk and actually hitting Quigley in their fight scene at end. Just a sample of the facts and anecdotes you’ll hear. Everything I talked about in the review (i.e. gender roles being reversed, Up All Night) is actually addressed in the commentary. Nice. I wrote all that before listening to it. Which is how I review. Watch the movie, write about the movie, then watch the extras and write about them, in that order.
To date this Full Moon blu-ray has more in-depth information about a movie’s making, the film business, casting, etc, than any they’ve put out. I mean not only is their a commentary on the movie, but the 2-hour+ doc comes with a commentary, which is a little surreal, because interspersed throughout all the behind-the-scenes footage is Director David DeCoteau talking about the movie, etc. and the commentary is DeCoteau doing the same, so while watching DeCoteau talk about the movie in the doc, you can also listen to DeCoteau talk about the movie in the doc on the commentary. There is some overlap in information, not a lot, but there’s more “original material” in the doc commentary. And some talk about Creepozoids, which seems appropriate since coming up in a few months is a blu-ray of Creepozoids.
At any rate it’s all worth a listen and I’ve spent four days going through it all! Phew! It goes without saying if you’re a fan you will need to pick this one up.
Some trivia from the doc: Original name of the film was The Imp and it was called that all through production, then a flashier title was needed so it became Bitchin’ Sorority Babes In The Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, but the MPAA nixed the ‘Bitchin’ because it was unheard of to have ‘bitch’ in the title of a movie.