Those longing for a return to Middle Earth can get excited for Amazon Prime’s upcoming series based on J.R.R. Tokien’s The Lord of the Rings novels.

Producer Charles Band is no stranger to making movies that garner cult followings. And there’s no doubt about why 1988’s Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama has achieved that same status all these years later—the title alone exemplifies ‘80s schlock. Part frat comedy, part wacky horror, all within a mall/bowling alley setting, this film delivers on both ends.

Three college guys get caught spying on a sleazy sorority initiation ritual and are punished by sorority leader Babs (Robin Rochell), who sends them on a task to steal a trophy from a local bowling alley late at night. Unbeknownst to the guys, Babs’ father runs the mall where the bowling alley is located, so she and the girls sneak into the mall’s security room and watch them on the monitors. inside for 30 years.

After a series of ridiculous events—including a run in with Linnea Quigley who plays Spider, a biker chick who’s already in the process of robbing the bowling alley—the guys discover that the trophy they’ve stolen actually contains an evil imp (voiced by Dukey Flyswatter) who’s been trapped inside for 30 years.

Directed by David DeCoteau (Creepozoids), Sorority Babes seems to go back and forth between a certain self-recognition of the campiness it’s working with and a lack of lucidity regarding that same bizarre tone—seemingly unaware of it at all. The timing of situations and dialogue within each scene lopes about at an awkward pace, as if the director forgot to trim the beginnings and endings. It constantly feels like the actors are waiting for one another to say their lines.

Admittedly, I would’ve liked for the bowling alley setting to have been better utilized. Perhaps some more bowling-themed contraptions used for weapons or an overload of cheesy bowling puns. Also, due to budgetary constraints, we never actually see any of the creative deaths, with the camera always cutting away right before each kill. For a movie that finds appeal in its low budget, this is one of the unfortunate consequences that comes with that territory.

Other than Andras Jones, who plays one of the main boys, Calvin, and George Buck Flower (Red the Bum from Back to the Future) as the hard-of-hearing janitor, the performances are truly atrocious—in fact, laughably so. Jones is the only actor in the main cast who’s not trying to be over-the-top all the time, and it pays off in his case.

Despite itself, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is a lot of fun and uniquely memorable. The writing actually shows glimpses of quality beneath a plethora of marginal dialogue. The film has us looking forward to the sequel which is currently in production by Band’s own Full Moon Features. Hopefully the absurdity will be a little more realized this time around, even though it will likely lack the glorious ‘80s ethos that oozes out of its predecessor.

Double Feature With:

The Outing (1987).

About the Author: Ethan Brehm

Ethan Brehm

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