April 19, 2012
The best thing for an aspiring motion picture director to do to hone his skills is to study at the heels of a master of the craft. Low budget movie mogul David DeCoteau has had the fortune to work with two such mentors; In 1980, he got his start in the movie business from the legendary Roger Corman (Little Shop of Horrors, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School), and in 1986 he went to work for the inimitable Charles Band (Puppet Master, Re-Animator). After working with these two B-movie giants, it’s no surprise that, in 1988, DeCoteau would make a movie with the over-the top, memorable name Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama.
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama starts with a group of dorks named Calvin (Andras Jones from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master), Keith (Terror Night’s John Stuart Wildman) and Jimmie (Hal Havins from Night of the Demons) hanging around, drinking beer and plotting to peep in on a sorority initiation later that night. Taffy (Brinke Stevens from The Slumber Party Massacre) and Lisa (Michelle Bauer from Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) are a couple of initiates who are being put through the ringer by the sorority pledge master Babs (Robin Stille, also from The Slumber Party Massacre). When the guys are caught spying on the girls, Babs decides to send them with the pledges on a mission to break into a bowling alley and steal a trophy. Unbeknownst to the guys and the pledges, Babs’ father owns the mall in which the bowling alley is contained, and she and her two sorority sisters plan to torment the group and watch them squirm on the video cameras. Once they break into the bowling alley, the group stumbles upon Spider (Linnea Quigley from The Return of the Living Dead), a delinquent who has also broken in and is stealing everything that isn’t nailed down. The gang grabs the trophy, but in their haste they drop it, releasing a short, little monster called an Imp that has been imprisoned inside. The Imp grants each of them a wish, but the wishes go horribly wrong, and the Imp eventually turns the kids one by one into his own little demonic army. Calvin has to team up with Spider to find a way to defeat the Imp and get out of the mall.
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is a loosely based adaptation of W.W. Jacobs’ short story “The Monkey’s Paw,” a horror tale about a couple who is granted three wishes which go horribly wrong. The only aspect of “The Monkey’s Paw” that first (and only) time screenwriter Sergei Hasenecz kept in his script for Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is the wishes; everything else is pure demon killing party time. With DeCoteau at the helm, a who’s-who of schlock film in the cast, and Charles Band as executive producer, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is exactly the movie that should be expected; it’s campy, creepy and full of creature feature fun.
In addition to having the best title since Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is also historical due to the fact that it features performances by all three of the big eighties Scream Queen Legends – Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens. The three would team up again later that year in Nightmare Sisters, and Quigley and Bauer would work together on Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Assault of the Party Nerds, but Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama marks the first time that the trio joins forces onscreen.
With all the B-Screen royalty in the picture, it’s easy to forget that the real star of Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is the Imp. The puppet creature was designed and built by Craig Caton, who would go on to create creature effects for Tremors, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters. Although primitive by the standards of his later work, Caton’s Imp is a playful latex hand puppet that, reminiscent of old-school Yoda, hardly moves during the course of the film. Of course, he doesn’t have to; the Imp gets his point across just fine. Voiced by Michael Sonye (who goes by the name Dukey Flyswatter and played Mengele in Surf Nazis Must Die), the Imp is more comedy than horror, cracking jokes at the expense of his targets in a Freddy Krueger style. All of his bad humor aside, the Imp is commanding screen presence, and is the biggest role in Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama.
David DeCoteau has directed several dozen films under eight or so pseudonyms, has invented the homoerotic subgenre of “boxer-briefs horror,” and has amassed a cult following that rivals that of his mentors. However, no matter how many more films he makes in his prolific career, he’ll never think up a better name than Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama.