DVD Review: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)
Review by Ben Bussey
Are you not sold on David DeCoteau’s 1988 B-classic on the title alone? If your answer is no, take another look at the still above. Really. Take your time. Make it a good, long look. Hasn’t that done the trick? Then nothing will. Stop reading now. Be on your way. And I feel for you, I really do.
For those of you still with me, I should hope the following is all you need to get interested: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer (even if she’s billed here as Michelle McClellen), and a gloriously inexpressive puppet in the role of antagonist. Pass the popcorn and try to keep your hands out of your pants. Or at least don’t be too obvious about it.
Okay, if you really need a synopsis, here goes… three college boy rejects are growing bored with their evening routine of chugging beer, reading Penthouse and watching bad monster movies. Happily, they’ve got a plan to spice up their evening: to sneak a glimpse of a nearby sorority initiation, sure to involve a bit of good ol’ fashioned sexual humiliation. Sure enough, they’re soon peeping through a window to see the pledges – Stevens and Bauer, both of whom were naturally way over standard college age at the time – stripped down to their skivvies taking a paddle to the rear and whipped cream to the front (see above… sigh). However, once the boys sneak in to witness the ladies washing off all the mess – which, of course, Bauer and Stevens really take their time doing – they’re soon caught red-handed (to say nothing of the colour of other regions). That’s when the sorority’s alpha bitch Babs (Robin Stille) decides to bring the boys into the mix with the initiation, demanding they accompany the pledges into the local bowling alley and steal a trophy. But once the plan is underway, who should they encounter but someone else trying to rip off the bowling alley in the shape of bad girl Spider (Queen Linnea)? And once they pick a trophy to steal, what should they find inside but a malevolent imp who promises to grant them each a wish…?
Boy, how did this one escape the attention of the Academy, eh?
Ever since seeing the marvellous Quigley/Bauer/Stevens-centric documentary Screaming in High Heels, I’ve been longing to see the work of those straight-to-video legends reborn on Region 2 DVD. Happily, 88 Films are now on the case, bringing the great schlockbusters of the 80s and 90s to a new generation of viewers. This certainly isn’t a bad one to introduce newbies to the joys of Linnea, Michelle and Brinke, given that – as the synopsis might suggest – it’s got that slipshod, making-it-up-as-we-go quality that became their trademark. Obviously the whole enterprise is beyond stupid, but no one’s under any illusions that this isn’t the case, and above all else there’s a sense that everyone’s having so much fun doing it that all other considerations cease to be important. For B-movie lovers, it’s hog heaven, seeped in trashy Americana from its bowling alley setting, college kid cliches, and nods to horror film history; we can’t fail to note the girl who, under the influence of the imp’s magic tomfoolery, randomly transforms into the Bride of Frankenstein, right down to the signature angered swan hiss.
Of course, for faithful devotees of the Quigleytits, this film has a particular notoriety. See, while she’s possibly having more fun than ever as Spider, playing tough and talking trash, the big shocker is… brace yourself now… she keeps her clothes on in this one. Seriously. All of them. For the duration of her screentime. I know, to anyone who’s ever seen Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers or pretty much anything else she’s ever been in, the notion of a perpetually-clothed Quigley is borderline inconceivable. Having discussed the matter on Twitter with @wolfman_cometh, we came to the conclusion that these T&A teamsters had a specific nudity quota to meet per film; as such, Brinke and Michelle do a bit of overtime on this one, with Bauer’s torso notable for its repeat appearances, and Stevens covering the nether regions – or rather, not covering them – in the early shower scene. There must have been many words had with the union rep on this one.
If I’m still not selling this one to you… I don’t know what else to say. Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is an intellectually challenged, illogical, unrealistic and utterly inconsequential piece of disposable entertainment, and it revels in all these qualities. Even so, there’s some rare spark that makes it stand above the bulk of today’s neo-exploitation. It’s self-aware without being smug; self-referential without being painfully nudge-nudge wink-wink about it. Watching it, you feel as though you’re sitting down with friends to replay a silly home movie you made together years ago, and when you wince and groan at all the stupid stuff, that is entirely the desired effect. Hell, if it’s entertaining enough that we can excuse the fact Linnea Quigley doesn’t get naked, what else really needs be said?
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is available now on Region 2 DVD from 88 Films.