Frat House Massacre (2008) – By Duane L. Martin

Writer Draven Gonzalez and director Alex Pucci set out to make a film that paid hommage to the great grindhouse slashers of the 70’s and 80’s. The result of their efforts, is Frat House Massacre.

Set in the late 70’s Bobby (Rane Jameson) and Sean (Chris Prangley), two orphaned brothers, are living with a very kind lady that took them in after their parents died. Right before Sean goes to college, Bobby goes out with his friends and is in a horrible car accident. He’s left in a coma and left laying in his bed at home, never getting any better, and not responding at all. Sean heads off to college and joins a fraternity, only unfortunately for him, the fraternity he joins has a psycho leader and is killing potential pledges in a variety of cruel and brutal ways. When Sean was witness to one of these killings and freaked out about it, they unfortunately did the same to him, only…they didn’t get him completely. They killed his body, but his soul moved into the empty shell of his brother Bobby, who awoke at the exact time Sean’s body died. Pretending to be Bobby, he enrolls in the college, looking for revenge. As the bodies start piling up, the frat brothers start suspecting one another, and Sean just might not be the only one out for a little revenge.

Ok, I’ll start this off by saying that films like this never appealed to me all that much. Generally they’re a dime a dozen and all become rather generic after a while. In some ways, this one is no exception to that, but in other ways, it broke out of that box and found a way to shine despite the inherent genericness (is that a word?) of the genre.

First off, you’d never guess this movie was made in 2008. Everything about it looks like it was made in the late 70’s. The visual quality of the film, the clothes, the set design…everything. They did such a great job making it look like the late 70’s, that you’ll truly believe that’s what you’re watching. They also really NAILED the style of the slasher films of that era. I’ve seen quite a few retro movies in my time, and I have to say, this one was extremely impressive in that respect.

Second, the head of the fraternity was a psychotic ass, and the perfect villain for the film. His character, Mark, was played by Jon Fleming, who has a very distinct Rob Lowe-esque look, vibe and quality about him. Having a bad guy this vile as an inspiration for the revenge motives in a film really just makes it work, because let’s face it, if we’re luke warm on the bad guy, then the whole revenge thing just becomes kinda boring. Believe me, this guy earned every bit of revenge that got piled on him, and more. It was a great character, played extremely well.

The movie is full of killings obviously, and while some looked better than others and the blood was very fake looking, you don’t expect to see ultra realism in a film from the late 70’s, which is what this film is supposed to look like. This is another area they did a great job in. The killings were creative, some were fun, some were very brutal, but they were all killings you’d expect to see in a 70’s slasher flick. Once again, they nailed it.

I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to reviewing this film, but I’m glad I got the chance to. So many aspects of this film were just so well done that it actually made it a pleasure to watch, despite my lack of interest in the genre. So if it can win me over, then I know that people who are true fans of the genre will love it. I’m very happy to be able to recommend this film, and to congratulate Draven, Alex and the entire cast and crew on a job well done.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Synapse Films website here.