Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Know What You Did In The House On Sorority Row

One of my favourite 80s slashers (which is a bit of a derivative statement, since I love most of them) is "House On Sorority Row". In that film, a bunch of sorority girls play a prank on their housemother, which winds up with the housemother floating dead in the pool. Of course, it doesn't take long for somebody to start knocking off all those sorority sisters with a cane that looks just like the one the housemother used.

That whole "paying for past sins" aspect is an integral part of the slasher genre, in which a group of folks (usually teenagers) commit a bad act and typically have a masked maniac make them regret it. 1980's "Prom Night" is one of the best examples of this, and 1997's "I Know What You Did Last Summer" trotted out the same scenario when slashers became popular again after the success of "Scream".

The thing is, "I Know What You Did Last Summer" was based on a 1974 teen thriller novel written by Lois Duncan. Although the book featured no murders and more closely resembles something written by, say, R.L. Stine, it's title alone is the fundamental starting base for any decent slasher mystery: a group of people sharing a terrible secret forced to face their demons. Therefore, the book was released the same year as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Black Christmas", but well preceded flicks like "Friday The 13th" and "Halloween", which really got the slasher genre going.

I love "I Know What You Did Last Summer". It's got a simple set-up that makes you think about what you'd do in similar circumstances (go to the police or dump the body), but which also makes the carnage that follows understandable within the context of the story (i.e. revenge). And while it does have one or two moments of nasty violence, it's surprisingly subdued, relying on suspense rather than gore. The sequence in which the slicker-wearing, hook-wielding killer goes after Sarah Michelle Gellar is largely agreed (even by those who don't like the movie) to be a suspense-filled, exciting chase scene.

So where am I going with all this? Well, "House On Sorority Row" has been remade as simply "Sorority Row", in which a group of sorority sisters dump the body of one of their friends after a prank gone wrong. I came across the trailer whilst visiting "Camp Blood", one of my favourite websites. The trailer reminded me very much of "I Know What You Did Last Summer", what with the premise and all, and I'm quite amused by the fact that Carrie Fisher is one of the cast members. But what I was most pleased about was that this plotline can still be trotted out after thirty years and still have me bouncing up and down in my seat in excitement - because the trailer was terrific: I can't wait to see the movie. You can probably find the trailer on YouTube, or just visit Camp Blood and have a gander at it there.

1 comment:

  1. I love I Know What you Did Last Summer too (surprise!). Plus, Summer Breeze by Type 0 Negative is one of my favourite songs ever.
    Your reviews are great - they make me want to watch stuff I don't like at all, eg I thought House on Sorority Row was excruciatingly bad but I'm half tempted to watch it again after reading this (I can't believe I just said that).