Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In short: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1998)

A sadistic, bottom-paddling sorority chieftainess (Robin Still) sends her stupid little club’s newest pledges (Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer) out to steal a bowling trophy from the local Bowl-O-Rama. Three local nerds (Andras Jones, Hal Havins and John Stuart Wildman) have to accompany them as punishment for peeping on the girls.

Awkwardness, a bit of demonic possession, violence, and “ironic” wish fulfilment ensue when our protagonists accidentally free a demonic imp (the voice of Michael Sonye working under the nom de plume of “Dukey Flyswatter”) who was trapped in the trophy (don’t ask). One of the nerds manages to team up with roving punkette Spider (Linnea Quigley keeping her shirt on for a whole film, believe it or not) – only there to rob the bowling alley – improving his chances of survival to no end.

Once you’ve called your film Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama you have made yourself practically critic proof, for whatever criticism anyone could throw at your film you can easily answer by crying “Look at the title! What the hell did you expect!?”. Ironically enough, this core text of the Scream Queen horror comedy subgenre that mixes Porky’s style “sex comedy” (not to be confused with comedies actually about sex, the quotation mark version is about showing tits) is not quite as bad as all that.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the film’s jokes fall flat at least half of the time even when you try to approach them with the mind-set of a fifteen year old heterosexual boy, the script is barely there, as is the gore, and the nudity is of that “naughty” style which seems so embarrassed by itself you want to pat the people involved on the head and tell them it’s okay. However, the other half of the jokes is sometimes somewhat funny, the actresses seem to approach whatever goofy crap they are supposed to be doing in any given scene with a wink, a smile, and the sort of bad acting that comes over as likeable rather than bad. Plus, for something directed by David DeCoteau, this is surprisingly fast-paced and decently shot, with sets that are somewhat larger than the tiny wardrobes most of the guy’s later films seem to be shot in.

What Sorority Babes completely lacks is a cynical side. The nudity – at least from here and now – is used so harmlessly the word “innocent” comes to mind to describe it, and while this is in theory a sleazy movie exploiting a bunch of young actresses’ willingness to undress in front of the camera, it’s all so clearly harmless and in good fun, criticizing it seems mean spirited at best. And, after all, I’m watching a film called Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, so I have nobody to blame but myself, right?

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