Director Kevin Tenney loves Halloween, and it’s never made more clearly than during the “Night of the Demons.” The 1988 horror film is still a fun and hilarious horror comedy that doesn’t just embrace its horror tropes, but celebrates Halloween as a whole. From the pumpkin in the opening shot to the book end sub-plots involving a crabby old man preparing for trick or treaters, “Night of the Demons” is a perfect film for a Halloween party, and just a downright fantastic summary of why the eighties were such an unabashed festival of novelties for the horror genre.
Judging from “The Girl I Want,” all of life’s problems can be solved by watching Linnea Quigley and Karen Russell dancing and bouncing up and down on a bed for ten minutes set to rock music. I know that’s not the point of “The Girl I Want,” but I was entranced by Quigley and Russell flexing, bouncing, jiggling, and dancing for the screen for no apparent reason. Not that there ever has to be.
This is one of the many horror films from the eighties that features the trio of Scream Queen goddesses. Yes, Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer all star in one of the funniest and best horror comedies of the late eighties. Directed on a very low budget and on very limited scenery, “Sorority Babes” works as a low budget trash fest, and a goofy little time waster you can chuckle to. Tri Delta is looking to initiate their two newest recruits! After catching three nerds from the local fraternity watching the initiation, the trio, along with a few sorority sisters are forced to break in to the local Bowl-O-Rama at night and steal a prized trophy as a prank.
Accidentally unleashing a magical imp within the sacred trophy after knocking it over, they unleash Ol’ Uncle Impy, a magical imp who offers to grant their wildest dreams. After they all take advantage and are granted their own wishes, they find that often times, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also known as “The Imp,” seasoned director David DeCouteau directs this goofy horror comedy that I was first introduced to back in the nineties. I fondly remember watching the edited version for “Sorority Babes” on USA’s Up All Night on cable television and always wanted to re-watch it.
Years later, I bought the DVD and had a blast. Along with “The Gonk,” and “It’s Party Time” Bob Parr’s “Here In The Darkness,” the theme song to “Sorority Babes” has permanently burned itself in to my brain, and it’s fun to see such an eerie theme song for such a goofy horror comedy. Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer are on the receiving of a lot of gratuitous nudity as they’re spanked in the opening shots of the film for a sorority initiation for Tri Delta. While there, three geeks are caught and are forced in to the final act of being admitted in to Tri Delta. Ol’ Uncle Impy is one of the most unusual horror villains ever created. A combination of low budget puppetry and tricky lighting, he’s a trophy imp that grants wishes, and surely enough he can’t be trusted.
Linnea Quigley co-stars in one of the rare roles where she keeps all of her clothes on as juvenile delinquent Spider. She’s caught breaking in to arcades for petty change, and ends up having to fight for her life and live through the night. Impy can be tricked, but how? Most of the movie spends its time on the wishes granted and the painful fall out that comes from the wishes that begin to turn sour in a matter of hours. One sorority girl wishes to be a queen with her clothes rotting, one character wishes to be rich only for the treasure to be meaningless, and another character wishes for a girlfriend only for this girl to be incredibly aroused and aggressive when it comes to getting laid.
Meanwhile, the janitor of the Bowl-O-Rama is unfortunately stuck in his bathroom and oblivious to the horror happening all around him. Quigley decided she wanted a role as a punk this time around, and dons the punk attire as heroine Spider, who fends off the monsters machinations through this bowl o rama. Keeping money tight, the movie is set in the bowl o rama over night where no one is around, giving DeCouteau a real advantage in giving the setting mood and atmosphere without trying too hard to light the sets. Of course, all of the horror and turmoil dies out before opening time at the bowl o rama. This allows the characters to roam around chasing each other, and learning about the convoluted origin of Ol’ Uncle Impy and how he can turn a good wish in to a bad situation.
I, for one, love Uncle Impy. He’s a bargain basement villain who could have worked in a sequel if they ever had the budget for one. I could see the allure of asking for a wish from the Djinn in “Wishmaster,” but from a little demon in a bowling trophy? Come on, kids. Just say no. “Sorority Babes” is one of the last gasps of eighties horror, and it’s a delightfully goofy delicacy you can kick back to. If only to see Quigley reprise her punk attire yet again. Whether you know it as “The Imp,” or “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama,” this is a heck of a good horror comedy with the trifecta of scream queens doing battle with a horrific imp. They just don’t make movies like this anymore.
The Theme Song to “Sorority Babes”:
As a follow-up to “Summer Camp Massacre,” Caesar and Otto’s latest adventure with psychopaths and horror icons isn’t quite as good. It definitely has its share of laughs and head scratching moments that have become standard with the comedy duo of Caesar and Otto, but the sad part of “Deadly X-Mas” is that it really loses steam in the final ten minutes. In either case, Caesar and Otto are able to come out looking great in the end as one of the few comedy duos with antics built on and around the horror film. They’ve confronted almost every situation imaginable, and still haven’t died.
Thanks a lot for agreeing to the interview, you’re a massive rock star around my household!
Thanks for the rock star thing! I’m trying to re-record the songs I wrote, plus I love writing. I still like the raw feel of the “originals” though, so thanks.
Do you feel horror films are much more jaded than they were back in the eighties or nineties?
I think back when i did horror films they were put in a bad class. It was like “Oh you’re doing that.” Now with “The Walking Dead,” they are accepted more by everyone. But some bad films are still being made, and just thrown together. But nothing beats “Return of the Living Dead” or “Night of the Demons.”
Like pretty much any documentary involving the video age and golden age of horror “Screaming in High Heels” is a love letter to the genre, and a requiem for a period of horror and filmmaking that is dead and buried. Granted there is the occasional Danielle Harris and Diora Baird, but the facet of the scream queen is defunct, thanks to a new wave of horror directors who feel they’re above such elements. Scream Queens were once upon a time a big lure for potential horror audiences to a new title. Director Jason Paul Collum sets the spotlight on three of the most beautiful women to ever rule the horror world, and examines the highs and lows of being a scream queen.
One of the most enduring films of the 1980’s, “Return of the Living Dead” is such a relic of its decade and time that it’d be impossible to remake it. Which is why it’s become such a beloved film among horror aficionados and film buffs alike. For its time, “Return of the Living Dead” was a fresh bold take on the zombie sub-genre and to this day continues to be a template upon which most horror comedies and zombie films are created. Dan O’Bannon’s zombie was an intelligent, unstoppable, lightning fast force of nature and it shockingly only worked for “Return of the Living Dead.” All other efforts were null and void.
“Savage Streets” is one of my favorite Linda Blair Trash fests, a bona fide grind house spectacular that examines the plight of over privileged white kids who all pose as gangs upon night fall. The streets of surburbia become savage every night with the screeches and howls and Danny Steinmann’s youth gone wild cinematic trip is an exploration in to the aimlessness of this crime spree two groups of youths embark on. Part “The Warriors,” and part “The Outsiders,” there is even John Vernon to tangle with, who makes it his mission to take down the group of men terrorizing the school with drug deals.