Sunday, November 20, 2022

Hazing Hell: Frat House Massacre (2008)

Frat House Massacre (2008)
Rating: ***
Starring: Rane Jameson, Chris Prangley and Jon Fleming

So it's 1978 and the last thing Sean ever wanted to do is to scold his newly graduated high schooler brother Bobby for choosing to party with his friends instead of enjoying a swell celebratory dinner with him and their caretaker Miss Olivia, who have been raising them since the death of their parents. Feeling rebellious, Bobby went ahead and hanged out with his buddies anyways, only to end up comatose from a drunk driving incident later. 

After some time and with a broken heart, Sean leaves to enroll at Newcomb college where he is accepted by the Delta Iota Espilon fraternity, headed by a sadistic chad-type named Mark. Now, the thing about this fraternity is that they take hazing to an extreme level; new pledges are beaten, humiliated, forced to fight one another among many things, but at the end of it and I guess depending on Mark's mood, the frat boys kill the pledges by forcing them to commit suicide or just straight out murdering them before feeding the bodies to pigs at a nearby farm. Why, you ask? Not sure, the film never bothered to explain why Mark and his goons do this. Probably just being cruel for cruelty's sake and that's that.

Sean, not being the bloodthirsty-type and feeling iffy by all of this, decided to try legging out of the fraternity, but the brotherhood doesn't take his leaving very kindly so they have him snuffed out. At the same time, Bobby awakens from his coma seemingly from supernatural means and, after a year, enrolls to the same college as well as attends his late-brother's fraternity. It isn't too long then that the members of the fraternity and some girlfriends start to die one by one, raising suspicions among one another with talks of sabotage and climbing up the ranks, all of this building up to a disco party where our killer contends to put a real deal of a bodycount to the table.

Made by the same people who brought us the overly ambitious yet cheap time-loop slasher Camp Slaughter (2005) (AKA "Camp Daze"), Frat House Massacre (2008) is a decent enough bodycounter that bows down to outlandishly crazy concepts, tossing away any conventions of logic for a feisty fondue of gruesome entertainment and neatly wrapping it all up with a faux throwback to 70s grindhouse exploitation cinema. For a good while, it more or less lingers around as a campus horror thriller featuring frat boys who seem to have no trouble getting away with drug use, murder and rape, an exaggeratedly dark twist on fraternity culture and mentality that's as awesomely hilarious as it is unsettling and atrocious to see onscreen, considering the gaggle of misogynistic perverts and cold-blooded murderers here are all punctuated with hammy scripts, cheeky bad acting and horrendous fashion choices. It's pretty much a low budget work of black humor littered with depraved horror scenes of suicides, deadly tortures and violent assaults, not to mention an abundance of homoerotic undertones with a lot of the evil frat boys beef caking themselves in nothing but tighty-whities (can't say I'm surprised. The production company behind this is called Screamkings), all of it garishly risible fun in that absurdly shabby and ghastly B-flick horror way and it continues to do so once the plot transitions into a revenge-driven slasher.

As a bodycounter, Frat House Massacre (2008) does take its fair strides along the classic slasher build of stalking and slaying victims, even adding a couple of makeshift traps out of rope and sharp barnyard tools for a small taste of variety, though it's around the third act wherein our frat boys throw a disco party that things got real messy in a semi-good way; from there, looking past the cringey dance moves and cotton-candy lighting, it's deathporn galore as our mostly unseen killer hacks and stabs their way through random party-goers, shrieking disco queens and the good ole' Delta Iota Espilon boys, gradually filling every scene with a nice balance of offscreen murders and onscreen carnage, living up to the titular massacre with as much blood, gore and strewn corpses as possible that it's over the top and deliriously campy. A few good points here include a lovely tribute to a kill seen in The Hitcher (1986) and the plot finding a way to keep the killer's identity not too unambiguous which is always a good move, though what kinda nicked the experience here is that there isn't really that much likable characters to root for, not much explanation was given to the supernatural plot device that came out of nowhere and the kills can get a tad repetitive after a while, especially considering the film runs a lengthy cut of almost two hours! Thankfully, these do very little to dent what's basically an absurd story to begin with, thus barely hindering the entertainment factor of the film, if not adding to the zaniness of it all.

Donning a groovy late 70s look and a tone matching the crazy days of grindhouse cinema, I cannot deny a good fright film when I see one and Frat House Massacre (2008) certainly fits the bill despite being a tad rocky at some parts. Qualms aside, this is a good example of a throwback slasher rife with exploitative charm, a decent revenge set-up and a generous serving of the warm red, just a hell of a fun ride if you're looking for a cheesy campus bloodbath! 

1 male had his wrist and throat cut with a razor
1 male shot in the mouth
1 male forcefed with water, drowned
2 males inhale poisoned vapors
1 female knifed in the mouth
1 male had his head impaled against a room heater
1 male dropped head-first unto a pitchfork
1 male impaled on a sickle blade
1 male brained with a brick
1 female beaten to death
1 male knifed in the gut
1 male seen with throat wound
1 female knifed
1 male seen dying from knife wound
1 male seen dead
1 male seen with throat cut
1 female seen dead
1 victim seen dead
1 victim seen dead
1 male gutted with a knife
2 females impaled on a thrown machete
1 female hacked on the throat with an axe
1 male hacked to death with an axe
2 males and 2 female seen dead
1 male seen dead from stab wounds
1 male knifed to death
1 male tied between cars, torn in half
2 males found dead
1 male knifed in the jaw, bled to death
7 victims seen dead
1 male had his eye gouged, knifed to death
1 female knifed in the gut
1 male had his throat cut with a knife
1 male knifed in the back, throat crushed
1 female killed with an axe offscreen
Total: 47

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