"I just want to get my clothes on and get the hell outta here!" shouts Jackie hysterically. It may hide behind the alternate title "Hard to Die," and utilize the stage name "Arch Stanton" (the name on the grave in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) for director Jim Wynorski, but with most of the same cast returning and with reused ideas and recycled flashbacks, Sorority House Massacre III is still very much the same cheesy movie. The character names have changed (except for Orville Ketchum, now the janitor, and through the majority of the film practically a zombie), the goofy synthesized piano music is back, and the cleavage is as prominent as ever. Since the film doesn't take place in a sorority house, the working titles "Hard to Die" or "Tower of Terror" are more appropriate, but the film is practically identical in story and tone to the series the director took over.
Four department store employees (Dawn, played by Robyn Harris; Jackie, played by Deborah Dare; Tess, played by Melissa Moore; and Shayna, played by Bridget Carney) arrive for the yearly inventory at Acme Lingerie and meet up with the newly hired girl Diana Farrow (Lindsay Taylor). While working in the dusty basement, the sprinkler system is accidentally activated, getting the group of seductresses suitably wet (yes, that was a major plot point). After cleaning up in the manager's office, they discover a mis-delivered occult witchcraft soul box that unleashes an evil (and poorly animated) spirit. The mysterious package was intended for Dr. Newton (a man who casually reads from the book "Demonology and You") at the museum, who attempts to warn them of the dangers - until the phone goes dead. Meanwhile, the same two detectives from Sorority House Massacre II decide to investigate the lingerie store and their old pal Orville, who they both finger as a mass murderer. As the five isolated girls wait for a Chinese food delivery, they are quickly slaughtered by a hooded assailant, armed with a diabolically evil metal hook.
It's especially funny to see the desirable vixens talk about the sorority house massacre that happened in the previous film, considering they played the victims, most of whom didn't make it out alive. And that film reused an introductory plot from the Slumber Party Massacre films. It's like a remake of the previous film, shot for shot, but with a new location; it's even more absurd if you've just seen the previous movie. Both of Wynorski's sequels are completely unrelated to the first Sorority House Massacre, rendering that film obsolete for either understanding the inconsequential plot or enjoying the scatterbrained characters and their extremely toned bodies. Even the first fight scene with Orville is choreographed in an identical fashion (the knife to the guts is in the same place, as is the strangulation by handy extension cord). The repetition is just plain obnoxious (except for the copious nudity, which somehow never gets tiresome).
The same girl manages to take a shower first again (Melissa Moore), her spontaneous undressing moderated by remarkably silly saxophone riffs. And the others aimlessly slip into sexy lingerie in short order. Even the creepy janitor eyes the girls in the same way, and once the bloodletting starts, the splattering of blood and gore is all too familiar. The only major difference is the immoderate amount of machinegun fire. Some people consider this to be a softcore parody of Die Hard, but it couldn't be further from it - if anything, it was simply a gimmicky title choice. Ultimately, who cares? There's plenty of flesh on display, and none of it is unappealing (except maybe for the odd food delivery girl dressed like a clown). It's all in the interest of conceding to the target audience's poor tastes.
- Mike Massie