Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sisters of Death (1977)
At an initiation ceremony for an organization known simply as The Sisters (and which apparently has a whopping 5 members), the final act of courage for the newest inductees is to kneel before a pistol while one of the members pulls the trigger. I am not exactly sure what is courageous about taking a blank to the back of the head (and I am pretty confident that's still highly dangerous). Of course, something does go wrong and one of the girls gets "Brandon Lee'd," if you will. Seven years later, the remaining five Sisters each receive an invitation to a reunion. They meet up at a hotel, but are quickly escorted by two hired goons to a resort in a remote desert locale surrounded by an electrified fence. Meanwhile, only one of the Sisters is concerned about how strange it is that none of them know who set this up and the clear fact that they are being isolated from civilization.
Filmed in 1972 (though not released until 1977), Sisters of Death is actually a lot better than one might expect from that fact. More than anything, the film takes a few choice turns that I was not expecting. Contrary to what one might think based on the set-up, the film does not merely go about dispatching the girls one by one until the killer is revealed in the final reel. Rather, he introduces himself shortly after they arrive as the father of the dead Sister to be and states that one of them is responsible for her death and did so willingly. He also suggests that one of the Sisters is working with him to determine the guilty party. I apologize, Sisters of Death, for assuming you were just another run of the mill slasher.
Still, the end result is a mixed affair. The reveal of who was helping the father and the sister who did indeed kill the girl intentionally is rushed and does not really add up. How was the father confident that the girl assisting him was not the one that killed his daughter on purpose? As well, there is a lot of manufactured tension that seems completely out of place. We get a tarantula, rattlesnake and German Shepherd attacks, all of which basically come out of nowhere. As well, a good chunk of the middle of the film relies on the girls (and the horny hired goons who snuck back into the complex unwittingly) trying to determine how to escape, yet no one thinks for a second that four, five, maybe six of them could try to overpower the old man who is openingly walking the grounds. To be fair, he is pretty menacing looking, but it was probably a better option than trying to dig their way under the fence using a plastic funnel.
Favorite Line: "Yeah, well, I don't trust light bulbs."