Equal opportunity objectification
FRAT HOUSE MASSACRE
“Rush week at this college just got a lot more dangerous…”
Director/Writer: Alex Pucci / Writer: Draven Gonzalez / Cast: Jon Fleming, Rane Jameson, Niki Notarile, Chris Prangley, Lisa DiCicco, Andrew Giordano, Michael Galante, Ryan Ross, Adam Simon, Georgia Gladden, Bethany Taylor, Jim Ford.
Body Count: 28 (give or take)
This head-scratchingly odd indie film comes from the makers of Camp Daze. No, hey, don’t go – it’s nowhere near that bad!
Beginning in that wonderful year of my birth – 1978 – newly graduated high-schooler Bobby goes off to party with friends, only to end up in a coma after a car accident. His big bro, Sean, returns to college, where his Delta Iota Espilon (DIE, naturally) fraternity brothers take hazing new pledges to the extremes – they kill them.
Why? It’s never really addressed, it just is. But it begs the question: How do they replenish their numbers? The head of this sadistic snake is frat president Mark (Kerr Smith-a-like Fleming), who takes great pleasure in getting desperate freshmen to blow their own brains out or cut their own throats. Bodies are later devoured by pigs at a nearby farm.
Sean’s guilt over his brother leads him to try and leave the frat, only to be murdered by his ‘brothers’. At the same time, Bobby awakes from his coma and, come the fall of 1979, goes off to the same college – revenge being the class he most looks forward to.
More dumb pledges are killed, Bobby gets angrier. And soon, members of the fraternity and some girlfriends begin dying ahead of a big disco party, which, we know, will see the killer go for gold.
While it all sounds run of the mill, like Camp Daze, Frat House Massacre doesn’t exactly shy away from its homoerotic undertones: There’s T&A as usual, but also some frontal male nudity, lots of ass, and no shortage of hard bodied young men in nothing but tighty-whities. That said, nothing ‘gay’ happens in the film. The frat boys are a bunch of nasty misogynists, but scenes where one of them masturbates from the door whilst watching a couple have sex, and the so-close-they-might-kiss whispers in the ears Mark does to the pledges… It dances along the line, never crossing it, but flirting with the idea. Possibly an allegory for the American fraternity experience? Who knows, we don’t have them in Europe.
The late-70s setting works well, not too far off the achievements of The House of the Devil in terms of look and feel, with all the clothing, disco tunes (courtesy of Claude Simonetti, no less), cars, and ornaments you could imagine. The only flaw is hair. Everyone’s hair gives them away as being ‘of the now’ (and Fleming’s eyebrows come to think of it).
Brutal and bloody, way too long (though I read there is a sub-100 minute cut), and confusing come the end with it’s supernatural plot device, but revenge is most certainly served, and the identity of the killer is not quite as cut n’ dried as predicted.
Blurbs-of-interest: Fleming and Taylor were both in Camp Daze; Jim Ford was in Knock Knock.