Film scores

Soundtrack review: The house on Sorority Row (Richard Band – 1983)

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“The House on Sorority Row” is a cult slasher film from 1983. After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation. As the movie, the score from cult composer Richard Band has been a fan favorite for years. This year La La Land Records gave all the fans a gift with the expanded release.

When I hear the “Main titles” I have to check and see if I’m listening to the right score because this is a melodic period cue which evokes to me meadows and castles and brooks and all the rest of the nice things. It’s just an illusion because the music gets on the horror tracks from the next cue. 80’s horror is a very special and dear genre and the sound was one of the things that made it so special. This score is a gem of nostalgia for those times.

This is what this score is about really. To me it’s about bringing me back to countless hours of watching 80s horror movies and remembering how they sounded… playful, creepy, with music boxes and children’s choirs… here gothic, there melodic… rarely very scary, because 80s slasher movies were so over the top, so exaggerated that used to have more fun at how ridiculous they were than get scared. There’s that urgency in the music, the stabbing sound, the screeching…it’s all here.

I think this is one of those cases when people were eager to get the score 30 years later because of the nostalgic and cult value of the movie. This score isn’t memorable or one of the best I’ve heard, but it symbolizes an era and a sound which have become classics. This is the 80s slasher sound and fans of the movie and genre couldn’t wait to get a taste of it now.

I enjoyed this score a lot. I loved the way it played with emotions and hallucinations and I loved the images it brought in my mind. As always, I was more drawn and attached to the melodic parts and my favorite cue is “End credits”. The rest of the score is a gem as well and it was well worth the wait to finally have this in clean and complete form, especially since some of the best moments are in the bonus material. I will, of course, go watch the movie now.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 41

Album excellence: 51%

Highligths:

Main Title

Music Box

Hallucination And Escape

Last Hallucination

Prologue

Slater’s Cane / Slater Bursts In

The Girls Dump Slater

Stevie In Basement

Music Box Reprise

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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