Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
A scene from Sorority Row

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, “Reptile Boy,” “Fear, Itself,” and “Selfless” (1997, 1999, and 2002)

There are tons of horror stories about students being mistreated at frat parties, but UC Sunnydale really gives the Greek system a bad name. Every Greek bash Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Scooby gang attends over the course of the series goes awry, leaving an increasingly long trail of bodies behind. In season two’s “Reptile Boy,” a fraternity that sacrifices people to an ancient lizard god holds Cordelia and Buffy hostage. Buffy kills the demon, but they’re too late to save all of the fraternity’s victims. A kid breaks his neck falling down stairs in season four’s “Fear, Itself,” which focuses on a Halloween party thrown by the “mighty Alpha Delts,” who are infected with the presence of a fear demon. And in season seven, the members of an entire fraternity have their hearts literally ripped out by a newly vengeful Anya. Maybe if there’s a long-term lesson to Buffy it’s just, “don’t pledge a frat, guys.” [ET]

2. American Horror Story: Coven, “Bitchcraft” (2013)

In a world created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, anything is possible. In Nip/Tuck it comes in the form of minimal consequences despite massive transgressions. In Glee it’s what allows a gaggle of small-town teens to land anywhere from an L.A. recording studio to a Broadway stage to Vogue’s editorial staff by their first post-high school year. In American Horror Story though, no amount of money from a high paying job or talent from a hard work ethic can explain away the batshit happenings. So, when Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) attend a frat party, the ensuing events are completely plausible as long as viewers suspend any disbelief about the back half of the storyline. During a kegger, Madison, a Hollywood starlet, is sexually assaulted by numerous frat brothers. The unbelievable but completely entertaining part comes when she gets revenge by telepathically flipping over the party bus the frat boys have retreated to with a simple flick of the wrist. [BJ]

3. Sorority Row (2009)

2009’s Sorority Row (a loose remake of 1983’s The House On Sorority Row) is sort of an I Know What You Did Last Semester: Theta Pi sisters are stalked by an unseen slasher after they cover up an accidental murder. That inciting murder is the result of a prank gone horribly wrong, not a deadly party mishap, and much of the movie actually takes place after graduation—fitting for a movie where the sisterly bonds of the Greek system fall apart in a rush of murders both accidental and intentional (also fitting for a movie with little to no interest in college beyond the its inclusion of sorority girls in the student population). But when a mysterious figure reappears, taunting and eventually picking off the group of girls and anyone tangentially related to them, a sorority graduation blow-out provides perfect cover. After Claire (Jamie Chung) dumps her pushy boyfriend Mickey (Maxx Hennard), he wanders around the party looking for a hook-up, until a hooded figure lures him away from harassing women and into an empty room. The killer then breaks his leg and eventually stabs him with a sweet murderer-customized tire iron. No one notices his anguished cries. As foretold by that famous movie tagline: At a bangin’ sorority party, no one can hear you scream. [JH]


4. Old School (2003)

The king of ’00s frat comedies is a lot darker than memories of “earmuffs” might suggest. Old School is hilarious at times, but it’s also a movie about middle-aged men dealing with broken relationships and crushing mundanity by starting an all-ages fraternity, popping horse tranquilizers, and streaking through the quad into the gymnasium. Still, the saddest part of the movie might be the scene when elderly brother Blue (Patrick Cranshaw) dies at the party the fraternity throws for him, apparently shocked to death after being flashed by two attractive young women. Blue’s death isn’t for nothing, though—we get Will Ferrell singing “Dust In The Wind” at his funeral. [ET]


5. Tales From The Crypt, “House Of Horror” (1993)

In this installment of the horror anthology, bully and perpetual post-graduate pledge-master Les (Kevin Dillon) forces his pledges to climb to the top of an ostensibly haunted house as part of their fraternity initiation, an event held in conjunction with a campus sorority. Most of the episode takes place outside the house as the pledges begin disappearing, raising the specter of foul play. Though a bitter former pledge is revealed to have orchestrated most of the night’s events as a prank, Les discovers at the last minute that the sorority is “all ghoul,” and their own initiation ritual involves butchering and eating the fraternity. “House Of Horror” is a bit didactic (the whole episode is about how dudes in fraternities are, like, totally on a power trip) and drops its murderous ending out of thin air, but then again, no one ever went to Tales From The Crypt for subtlety. [ET]


6. Scream 2 (1997)

Slasher movies usually capitalize on solitude, inciting fear by putting the victim and villain far away from possible interference. But Scream 2 opens with a murder in a crowded movie theater, and later, one of the movie’s big sequences revolves around a hopping party when Hallie (Elise Neal) drags Scream survivor and series protagonist Sidney (Neve Campbell) to a mixer at the Delta Lambda Zeta sorority. While Sidney avoids bros doing keg stands, Ghostface appears at another sorority house to murder Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who’s unfortunately on duty as the sorority’s sober sister for the party (don’t stay in, kids). News of the murder causes the party to descend into chaos, allowing the killer to appear and take an (unsuccessful) stab at Sidney and her boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell). [ET]


7. Killer Party (1986)

It’s not as well known as The House On Sorority Row, but the sorority slasher Killer Party boasts both a double fake-out in the opening scene and a big twist ending, both catnip to fans of cheesy ’80s horror flicks. Best friends Vivia (Sherry Willis-Burch), Jennifer (Joanna Johnson), and Phoebe (Elaine Wilkes) decide to pledge a sorority together, and are accepted after Vivia pulls off a big prank during Hell Night. As it turns out, the only reason our heroines made the cut is because Sigma Alpha Pi needs Vivia’s special effects skills for their annual April Fools’ Day party, held at an abandoned frat house on campus. Of course, the liberal use of liquid latex and fake blood makes it difficult for the besotted partygoers to tell the difference between Vivia’s practical jokes and the very real carnage going on, the result of a curse laid by the vengeful ghost of a frat boy killed in an initiation “accident.” [KR]


8. Left In Darkness (2006)

When a young coed named Celia (Monica Keena) decides it’ll be a blast to celebrate her 21st birthday at a kick-ass frat party, it seems like a reasonable enough plan. It isn’t: Not only is she drugged, raped, and murdered, but her spirit ends up trapped in some semblance of purgatory—which, presumably due to the location of her downfall, looks strikingly like a frat house—where she’s forced to figure out how to find her way to a peaceful afterlife by battling her late grandfather (Tim Thomerson) and deciding on the veracity of information provided to her by her guardian angel, Donovan (David Anders). In retrospect, perhaps a quiet dinner with friends might’ve been the better birthday bet. [W. Harris]

9. Cold Case, “The Promise” (2005)
College freshman Laurie Dunne (Lindsay Hollister) is the unfortunate reveler here, on the 48th episode of CBS’s long-running, past-focused twist on the police procedural. Dunne was the sole fatality in a frat-house fire that broke out during a party in 2003, but it’s not until her father finds a photo of the young woman being attacked by someone less than an hour before her death that case-reheater Detective Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris) and her team enter the scene. The story that emerges as the detectives dig deeper and interrogate Dunne’s friends and frat-pledge boyfriend focuses on the ugliest aspects of the fraternity experience: Public shaming, forced conformity, and sexual assault are all addressed, even as the episode also tries to tell a sweeter story about the way people inevitably drift apart as they grow and move out into the world. [W. Hughes]


10. Black Christmas (1974)

As far as sorority parties go, the going away/Christmas shindig that the sisters of Pi Kappa Sigma throw themselves on the night before the start of winter break is a pretty sedate affair. Sure, there’s some drama between Barb (a wonderfully take-no-shit Margot Kidder) and her distant mother, but most of the women living in the house seem happy just to spend one more night in each other’s company. That is, until the phone rings, with the “moaner” on the other end. This delightful specimen has apparently been calling the house for weeks, making animal noises and describing in lurid, obscene detail what he’d like to do to the residents, and his call drags the party to a halt as the sisters gather to listen in frightened, disgusted fascination. Finally, Barb grabs the phone and tells the creep off in as specific, and withering, a manner as possible. And when mousy Clare (Lynne Griffin) protests that provoking someone like that is a bad idea, Barb tells her off, too, driving Clare upstairs… where, of course, the killer is waiting to claim the first of several victims in this forerunner to the modern slasher flick. (For the record, in 1974, “The call is coming from inside the house” still counted as a clever twist.) [W. Hughes]


11. CSI: New York, “Hung Out To Dry” (2006)

Because poor coed Amy was found dead during an episode of the CSI franchise, she is not given the benefit of an easy sorority death. Instead, Amy is found headless and swinging from a ceiling fan, and the inebriated college kids present are of no help in finding her killer. The case gets twisty, because it wouldn’t be an episode of CSI if the plot isn’t unnecessary complicated. Yet a major break comes when fellow college kid Shane (Edward Furlong) points out that Amy’s T-shirt includes a coded message. Stupid move, Shane, considering he’s the killer in question, having charged himself with avenging the death of his brother, who was convicted of murder on a jury that Amy served on. “Hung Out To Dry” also signals Furlong’s first appearance as serial killer Shane, eventually leading to his death at the end of show’s sixth season. [ME]


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