I was perusing Shudder last night, looking for some hidden gems that I could use to add to 80s month. The films I’ve covered so far are nostalgic, but well-known, so I thought that I’d jump in with something I hadn’t seen yet.
I stumbled across Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama. The title suggested slasher, and after verifying the year (1987), I went in sight unseen.
It became clear after five minutes that I was in for….something. Rather than unpack what I watched over the next 78 minutes, I’ll just share my stream of consciousness thoughts as I was watching. Needless to say, SPOILERS.
The music is already promising all kinds of 80s glory. Steady beat, synthesizer keyboard. Nice. Very nice.
Ah, the time-honoured tradition of horny guys gathering together pre-internet porn. An actual print copy of ‘Penthouse,’ and a group discussion about getting laid later.
And now we meet the ‘Sorority Babes’ as they don robes for some sort of pledging ritual. There is some serious hair teasing going on here. Ten bucks says the girl with the side ponytail will be snapping some gum at some point in the next 75 minutes.
Back to the guys and the horror fan is the one respecting women right now. He says that even though he likes naked girls, he has no interest in sadomasochism that will be involved in the hazing rituals, which allegedly include bras full of worms. He wants to stay home and keep watching his zombie movie. He also clearly has never had a beer before this exact moment in time. Noted. Final boy, clearly.
Okay. The two pledges appeared fully clothed while having a conversation. They just got up and they’re in their underwear.
Now it’s just butts getting paddled. Kay.
It just keeps going. Now they’re getting sprayed with food. It’s like the hazing for the guys and girls on ‘Dazed and Confused’ got mashed together. Girls are mean! Now they’re standing around full-frontal naked in the bathroom washing the food off. Conveniently, no shower curtain because bathtub only. The guys from the start have now committed break and enter and are lurking around watching them getting tortured and showering. Also, conveniently zero marks from the paddle or complaints about the aftermath of the 5 minute paddling they just took.
LMAO so as punishment for the guys breaking in, they are forcing the pledges to break in to a mall bowling alley with the three guys who just tumbled into their bathroom drooling like creepy stalkers while they were completely naked. Cause, you know, a night out with your neighbourhood peeping Tom seems like excellent punishment….for the guys? What am I missing? Even the guys think it’s weird! Babs (of course her name is Babs), the leader of the bitchy sorority members, seems to think that scaring the shit out of all five of them is a good call. You know, instead of calling the cops on the creepy guys who broke into their house to leer at them.
Little horror fan just threw up. Presumably that one beer from earlier was too much.
Not really sure how Babs got the keys to the mall, but we’re going with it. I see the imminent slaughter of all three of these girls before the others arrive in my crystal ball.
Babs and the other two (Frankie and Rhonda), despite being super loud, managed to lock the night guy in a broom closet by accident. No one hears him banging. Clearly hard of hearing, he is muttering to himself about the wind locking him in.
Um, okay. There is another random woman already in the bowling alley. She’s using a crowbar on the register. She has dark eye makeup, black shirt, blue streaks in her hair, and leather wrist cuffs. She is clearly BAD NEWS, 80s STYLE. They’re having a chit-chat now. As you do in this movie when you discover intruders.
The little horror fan is smitten with BAD NEWS. He’s trying to make friendly conversation with her while she attempts to bust open a pinball machine with a crow bar. Her name is Spider. She has an ‘S’ Sharpied on her bicep, so it must be.
The trophy they just stole is lighting up and smoking, so I guess not a slasher flick. Someone just uttered the phrase “Too cool.”
A goblin of some sort has popped out and is giving them sass! Spider has given it sass back, because that’s how she rolls. Despite the sass, the goblin has offered each of them a wish, just like a good bowling alley goblin-genie does.
“Maybe the wishes will come true and then go bad on you. I’ve heard that happens sometimes.” As always, the horror fan is the voice of reason. Everyone’s laughing at him. I think we all know where this is heading.
First guy wishes for gold. Shocker.
Horn dog #2 just wished for a gorgeous woman a la Penthouse. Because of course he did. Lisa has transformed into lingerie model and he’s gone to make out with her now.
Sorority girl #2 (Kathy) just said she never got to be prom queen. To a thing that can grant any wish, apparently. She wished to be prom queen. Face, meet palm. Goblin’s response to lack of being crowned: “Aaaawwww shit, what a shame.” What even is this movie???
Spider and the horror nerd have done the smart thing and not made any wishes. Clearly the survivors.
Babs has fled, and Rhonda and Frankie have been turned into the Bride of Frankenstein and some sort of zombie figure.
The wishes are going sour. Who would have seen that coming?
The head of Nerd #1 just got used as a bowling ball by the zombie, with commentary provided by the goblin. Steeeeeeerrrriiiikkkeeee!
Nerd #2 who wished for the girl is realizing that he’s not ready for sex. Watching this girl force himself on him feels like it was meant to be comical at the time, but it is extremely uncomfortable now. He’s holding up his pants and moving away from her while saying everything about why she doesn’t have to, or about why they’re moving too fast, but won’t actually say that he doesn’t want to have sex. It’s sad that he can’t admit that he doesn’t want to have sex after all of his bravado.
Ah, kitchen deep fryer death. I was wondering when that would happen.
Horror fan is lecturing Spider on smoking and she is not having it. Spider has just clued in that Horror Fan likes her, and she is mocking him mercilessly. This poor kid is in way over his head.
The goblin has actually not done much beyond granting the wishes. Mostly he is just watching and laughing as chaos ensues. I find myself wishing he had more puns handy. He’s pretty much dried up in that department since he grabbed someone’s leg and cackled, “Have a nice trip! See you next fall!”
Oh! Goblin has revealed that he’s an imp. He enjoys tormenting people, because “that is what imps do.”
Huh. Babs can fight. Who knew?
Death by bowling ball.
Uh oh. Babs laughed at the demon. Now he has done something to her along the line of Rhonda and Frankie. We shall see….
LOL night janitor has just clued in to the fact that other people are in the bowling alley. He is convinced they are on drugs, and when they say there is a demon he shrugs them off. But then when they say they opened bowling trophy, he’s like, “You let the imp out?!” Apparently the imp was summoned by a guy using black magic to try and improve his bowling game. Yep. Seems like a good trade off.
Babs is Elvira’d up and is “initiating” Lisa, who is still fully naked after at least half an hour of waiting for Nerd #2 to return.
Babs is having a full on girl fight with Spider, complete with scratching. I am appreciating that Spider is actually kicking ass instead of just looking tough.
Welp. There goes the old guy. That’s what you get for answering the door when someone knocks on it without even a cursory “Who’s there?”
And with one final car roll, the imp is back in his box. Soulful looks are exchanged to “80s love” music. Calvin (horror nerd) rides off into the sunset on the back of Spider’s motorcycle. I just clued in during the last scene of the movie that he has a name, and his name is Calvin.
All in all, this is probably one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. The wise-cracking imp seems like 80s family fodder a la Gremlins, but it is negated by a TON of gratuitous nudity. Despite violent deaths it is almost entirely gore-free. I did enjoy some of the subversions of gender stereotypes. Spider is a final girl who is actually tough and smart, rather than relying on the “inept girl” trope to build suspense until she can escape. I loved the image of her being the knight in shining armour who whisks away the damsel on her motorcycle. The idea of a woman forcing herself on a guy is equally disgusting and uncomfortable, even though it probably wasn’t intended as a statement at the time. It made the girls powerful, but then made them materialistic and put one in a scenario where she is fully naked against her will trying to have sex with a guy also against his will. In its attempt to make a “fun” horror movie, it seemed to lose track of what it was trying to say. There were hints of these attempts to subvert the genre, but it never quite leaned in to it, so it didn’t completely stick the landing. All in all, this is a goofy, schlocky movie that is good to kill 78 minutes of your time. It’s pretty darn silly, but pretty darn entertaining, which really is the hallmark of a proper cult classic.