N: Nightmare Sisters (1988)

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nightmare-sisters-movie-poster-1987-1020670322I’ve gone on record that most movies featuring more than two horror icons tend to be pretty dreadful. I have to say the inverse is true for movies featuring multiple 80’s scream queens, because, despite all my worst intentions, I wound up enjoying Nightmare Sisters.

Your three Scream Queens in question are Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, and Brinke Stevens, all of whom spend the first half of the movie trying to make themselves look unattractive. They’re playing what the ad copy calls “geeky sorority sisters”. Melody (Quigley) has buck teeth, Mickey (Bauer) is wearing a fat suit and has some cotton stuffed in her cheeks, and Marci (Stevens) wears glasses and needs some hair product. All are alone in their sorority house for the weekend, so the only one who knows a boy on campus (that would be Melody) calls up the guy she had a disastrous date with a month before and invites him and two friends over for a party.

vlcsnap-2011-03-24-22h55m12s230This proves only slightly less disastrous than that date a month ago, involving scrapbooks, bad sing-alongs, and a game of Twister that ends in injury. Finally they decide to have a seance with the crystal ball Marci bought at a flea market earlier that day. If the kids had been watching the movie before their part, they’d know that the crystal ball belonged to a medium who had used it to track a client’s missing husband, and discovered the chap had been killed by a succubus… who then reached through the ball to rip off the medium’s head.

Well, the succubus is still hanging around the orb, and decides to possess the three girls, transforming them instantly into Scream Queens. Topless Scream Queens (they were apparently supposed to be nude, but Stevens objected). Extreme debauchery seems to be in the offing, but the one sensible freshman suspects that something may be up.

hqdefaultThere are also three upperclassmen from the boys’ frat who are determined to ruin our “heroes” night by substituting themselves for the unfortunate freshmen. Unfortunate is in the eye of the beholder, however, as this means that each charming member of the WASP Hitler Youth club gets reduced to ashes via fanged mouths on their little Hitler youths. There’s nothing left to do but call an exorcist our heroes find in the local Yellow Pages. (“California! Go figure.”)

If you are thinking, with the plentiful and exceedingly gratuitous nudity, that this sounds like a David DeCoteau movie, congratulations! You did not fall off the B-movie turnip truck yesterday! This project was apparently shot on leftover film stock, using a script that was written in seven days. No word on the shooting schedule, but the credits do mention a “Four Days Wonder Group”, which may provide a clue. I’m thinking the ladies provided their own costumes. When they’re wearing any, I mean.

As I mentioned, I was really expecting to hate this. But dammit, it won me over. The script is cheesy, to be sure, but bizarrely good-natured, seldom mean. Except where the frat boy monster fodder are concerned, but come on, they’re asking for it. The most overt nod to self-awareness is an early line from Quigley, who says she’s doesn’t like scary movies because “One zombie movie was enough for me.” (Return of the Living Dead was in ’85, in case you were wondering) Quigley, Bauer and Stevens seem to be having fun playing theoretically unattractive versions of themselves, which really helped.

318And, okay, there was a chink in my armor anyway, and that is Michelle Bauer. I’ve followed her career through a bewildering variety of aliases and a number of genres, some of which *harrumph harrumph* probably shouldn’t be spoken of here. The thing is, in addition to her obvious beauty, if called upon to do so, the lady can actually act, which has made all the difference in some pretty scuzzball movies. That’s my kryptonite, right there. Cute and talented? Go ahead and start chiseling my tombstone.

I was entertained while watching it, but there was one thing that niggled at the edge of my concentration: I knew I had seen part of this on USA Up All Night, the question became, how was this even possible? Apparently the nude scenes were replaced with lingerie shots, and a three-way bubble bath was replaced by the three lingerie-clad demons frolicking on a bed with balloons and blowing bubbles, to match (as well as, um, possible?) the existing dialogue track. Honestly, I would liked to have seen this stuff as an extra on the DVD (which I see now fetches a ridiculous price on Amazon).

84d0d59f2df4173e3947bd44960f703fI’m not sure which amazes me more: that the movie had enough of a budget to shoot alternate scenes, or that they were optimistic enough to think that such footage would even be necessary. You know this thing was destined for a quick VHS release, and not much more.

Well, there’s none of that alternate footage stuff here, so don’t go watching this at work:

Buy Nightmare Sisters on Amazon