Horror U: “Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island” (2007) [VIDEO]

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Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island

COED is counting down to Halloween with “Horror U,” a Halloween-ready celebration of 31 killer fright flicks set on (or around) college campuses. Your professor scare-meritus for today’s entry is Mike “McBeardo” McPadden–author of Heavy Metal Movies: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, & Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big Scream Films Ever! (Bazillion Points, 2014).

Welcome to Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island, where the pledges of Zeta Alpha Roh at Felix University must spend one entire night on the titular location, spooked by the souls of four dead dancers who were doomed by a Gypsy curse to wander in eternity. Naturally (and, uh, supernaturally), the ghosts take their cosmic rage out on anyone who dares to come visit.

Before the plebes can even set up camp, though, a former Zeta wannabe gone psycho has escaped from a nearby mental institution and a literal clown with a butcher knife takes to tearing up freshman and upperclassmen alike. That’s just how things go on Hell Island, whether it’s fraternity massacre season or not.

FMAHI polishes its pledge pins pretty obviously right up front. First, the frat’s initials spell ZAP, which is kind of cool, and the college is repeatedly referred to as “F.U.”, which is kind of too on-the-nose to be snicker-out-loud funny, but it does beg the question as to why more movies haven’t used that joke.

The larger point is that Fraternity Massacre wants a pat on its Greek letter sweater shirt for “not taking itself too seriously,” as if that’s not a far worse cliché in modern horror than a screaming female virgin being the lone survivor was back in the ’80s flicks that movies like this attempt to send up.

What’s good in FHMAHI is in how it pays tribute to specific classic slasher films such as Halloween (an uncomfortably intense psychiatrist pursues the killer on the loose), Terror Train (an ex-student on the lam may be the slayer), and especially the 1981 hoot-and-a-half Hell Night with Linda Blair (pledges in a haunted locale realize that something non-spectral is out to waste them). The movie also boasts some better-than-decent bloodletting.

If campus speech codes, sensitivity training, and social media’s rabid loser torch-and-pitchfork mobs have re-educated us in anything, it’s that we’d be wise to single out FHMAHI for being heroic, groundbreaking, and revolutionary for having its student hero be gay, rather then just shrugging, “Oh. He’s a dude who likes dudes. Big whoop. When do we get to the next killer clown-college jock slaughter fest?”

To grade Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island on a curve would be to flunk it with faint praise. So let’s go the “pass/fail” route and help FMAHI squeak by in admiration for its makers obvious love of the genre, a nicely committed cast, a bit of creepily effective atmosphere, and the sheer existence of the title Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island. There you go, movie. No summer make-up classes are necessary for you…

Previously at Horror U:

The Dorm That Dripped Blood

The House on Sorority Row

Final Exam

Frat House Massacre

Sorority Party Massacre

The Roommate

Alpha Girls

Black Christmas

Delta Delta Die

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

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