Infamous for “the bathtub scene”, this cliché-ridden romp with Scream Queen royalty is best watched with friends; depraved friends.
The sisters at 943 Sorority Row are having boys over tonight, and they’re ready to shed their nerdy appearance — and their tops! When a séance invites a Demon to possess the girls, the guys hire an exorcist to save their dates. Let’s dig into 1988’s “Nightmare Sisters”, directed by Dan DeCoteau!
As I See It
Shot on leftover 35mm film in just four days, and employing the actor to make and use their own wardrobe, I’m still trying to figure out where the reported $40,000 budget went. Hopefully, all into the Actor’s pockets.
They try to “ugly” the stars up as much as possible and are successful at least in making Michelle Bauer look like a different person compared to her post séance attire. But we all know the beauties that lie beneath. Amazingly, Brinke Stevens was 33 while filming, but passes easily as a twenty-year-old.
The dialog is treated as comedy, leaving all the exposition to the Exorcist later, which itself is played as a spoof. The nerdy girls and the nerdy guys get together for a night of flirting. And as soon as the séance is over, we’re treated to an infinite loop of the seductive portions of a late-night soft-core porn. Cliché verbal foreplay that entices no one until the seven-minute bathtub scene that kept the film alive after failed distribution.
Every cliché line you’ve never wished to hear in a movie, un-ironically, packs the page margin to margin until we’re scared into submission by a haunted house prop-like Demon that is exorcised, releasing the girls from its control. Redeeming qualities include the girthy amount of trivia attached to the film’s production, blowjobs causing the bullies to burst into steamy plumes, and the shark lamp in the girls’ house. It looks like Bruce breaching the water with a flashlight in his mouth.
The trio of ladies need little introduction within this community. Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, and Michelle Bauer defined the term Scream Queen before it became rote.
Of Gratuitous Nature
I’m not going to point out the obvious — from the entire second and third acts spent topless, to the infamous bathtub scene (though I just did) — and instead chastise the trash Indian accent performed by Omar the fortune teller. It makes Fisher Stevens seem kosher (Short Circuit). Somehow, it’s better than the cowboy twang accent he switches to while acting as medium for a widow.
More condemnable is the stars and bars decorations in the boys’ dorm, and the homophobic onslaught for an entire scene.
Linnea earned my loyalty with Trash in The Return of the Living Dead (1985) but Michelle Bauer steals the show for me here. Though all three of these ladies could make an honest monster out of anyone.
Ripe for a Remake
With a sequel announced for Sorority Babes of the Slime Ball Bowl-o-Rama directed by DeCoteau and Brinke Stevens, nothing seems out of the question.
No progeny to report, yet.
Where to Watch
Vinegar Syndrome released a Blu-ray, which also contains the TV version (sans bathtub). It can be hunted on the secondary market. Or you can rent or buy a digital copy, remastered in HD, inexpensively on Vimeo.