Monday 6 January 2014

Hard To Die AKA Sorority House Massacre 3 (Jim Wynorski 1990) Review

Find more film reviews here. Read the review for “Sorority House Massacre 2” here.

“They may have killed his body, but he swore his spirit would never die.” Produced in the same year directly after Sorority House Massacre 2, with much of the same cast and crew involved, Hard To Die: Sorority House Massacre 3 (minus the sorority house aspect) – otherwise known as Tower of Terror – is kind of like Die Hard, but with beautiful women in lingerie.

Click “READ MORE” below to continue the review and see more screenshots…

“That guy's a certified Grade A psycho.” Returning from Sorority House Massacre 2 is Orville Ketchum (Peter Spellos), the seemingly indestructible, shuffling, mumbling heavy-breather, who now works at ACME Lingerie as a janitor several months on from the massacre in the second movie. Sleazy boss Mr Plympton needs a lot of work done right now – involving heavy boxes in the basement, or something like that, who really cares – so Dawn, Diana (Lindsay Taylor), Jackie (Debra Dare), Tess, and Shayne set to it.

“Oh God, what else could happen?” Robyn Harris (Dawn), Melissa Moore (Tess), and Bridget Carney (Shayne) all return to the cast from the second movie, but in different roles, while Jurgen Baum and Karen Chorak both reappear as Lieutenant Block and Sergeant Shawlee from SHM2, still convinced that Orville Ketchum is up to no good. On the other hand though, Dr Newton (Forrest J. Ackerman) is convinced that something supernatural is afoot.

“The legendary Soul Box.” Unfortunately for the lovely ladies a mysterious package has turned up at their office, and once they unlock it (in a fashion somewhat akin to Hellraiser) a bloody-minded soul is unleashed to wreak havoc, but not if Ketchum has anything to say about it … well, not say exactly, as his communication skills are rather dire, so as such he's about to take a serious beating from all sides in his attempt to snuff-out serial killing phantom Hockstatter.

“Any hot water left? Shower time!” Never mind that though, because the sprinklers have gone off in the basement and soaked all the girls dirty clothes – these things do have a habit of happening, don't they? Cue six boob shots and four shower scenes in unhurried order – once again getting themselves literally squeaky clean … but, amazingly, we miss the fifth shower scene … perhaps Wynorski & Co wanted to maintain some subtlety?

“There's no use washing, then putting dirty clothes back on.” Well, that's a handy relief, being that the girls work for a lingerie company they're able to don the next season's lacy new numbers before anyone else as they go about finishing their work, waiting for a food delivery, and facing-off with a hook-wielding killer. Skip-to-the-end … and Dawn finds herself in a conveniently placed weapons supplier – so bring on loads of shots of chicks in their underwear firing AK-47s.

“Not a whole lot of strategy involved, but I like it!” Repetition is the name of the game here – in addition to returning cast and crew there's also a lot of returning pages from SHM2's script. Five gorgeous babes in skimpy clothing? Check. They get wet? Check. Hook-wielding killer in the shadows with blood splashed on the walls? Check. Two bodies discovered in the basement? Check. The same 'key in the underpants' gag? Check. Identical stock shots of a storm? Check. Robyn Harris having the exact same fight scene with Orville Ketchum and sustaining the same injury? Check. Colour-coded lingerie so the viewer knows who's who? Check. Flash-forward opener? Check. They even re-use the same flashback to Slumber Party Massacre (Amy Jones, 1982) footage (used in SHM2) to give back story to the events of the second movie!

“I'm sorry to be so blunt but we just don't have the time.” If the second movie wasn't all that fussed about subtlety, then Hard To Die simply couldn't give a bollocks, but that's all part of the fun. While there's little in the way of stalk-and-slash grue, the nudity factor is dialled-up, as is the amount of pain dished out to poor old Ketchum – stabbed, beaten, flung off a high rise, and riddled with bullets four times – he just refuses to die. It's utterly preposterous stuff, but it's all played for quick laughs – even the cheesy joke about cops eating donuts gets a comedy riff from the soundtrack. Indeed, the comedic side of things takes a greater role this time around – particularly during a very self-aware argument between the two cops and a porno director – “What have you got against art?” / “This is nothing but pornography.”

“I just want to get my clothes on and get the hell out of here!” Shot over a ten day schedule (luxurious compared to the second flick) there's an awful lot of regurgitation throughout, which somewhat dampens the spirit of things, but once again the self-awareness and thinly-veiled excuses to appease its thigh-rubbing audience can't help but make you laugh in a good way. It's like Die Hard, but with more lingerie, and it's like SHM2, but with more shower scenes. Remember that scene in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown where they watch that show all about bikini girls firing guns? Hard To Die: Sorority House Massacre 3 is just like a full version of that – silly, sexy, trashy, cheeky, knowing, cheap, tacky, and just a lot of adolescent-minded fun. “Orville Ketchum will return in Orville in Orbit.”

Read the review for “Sorority House Massacre 2” here.

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