Film Review: Nightmare Sisters (1988)

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Three geeky college girls who can’t get a date, organize a seance and become sex starved vamps.


I became a horror movie fan around the age of four thanks to my brother who is 12 years older. I looked up to him, and he loved the gawd-awful films our local network stations showed. This was in 1967 or so.

Through the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, I had 3 things I wanted from horror films: 1. A film so scary that I wet my pants; 2. A movie so violent that it made me puke; and 3. A movie so vile that I was offended enough to never watch it again. (In case you are curious, the only movie that almost hit one of those goals was 1998’s “They All Must Die!”, but that is a topic for another time.)

Why do I give you this slice of personal history?

These days, I hear stories from younger fans who cut their horror movie teeth on films created during the video age, specifically during the wild years of VHS madness and the USA Network (for those who had access to cable). A flood of flicks aimed at quick release onto tape with the toned-down versions being presented on the TV by the goofy Commander USA, the eardrum-damaging Gilbert Gottfried, and ever perky Rhonda Shear.

Even without regular access to cable, I watched the more obscure films that occasionally appeared on those shows. Well, obscure horror films. USA Network is remembered by most for teasing the libidos of horny teens with films like “Beach Babes from Beyond”, “H.O.T.S.”, “The Malibu Bikini Shop”, and anything with “Sorority Babes” in the title. Those films did not get me closer to any of the three goals I had set for myself. As a result, I avoided them.

One of the more coveted titles from that era is “Nightmare Sisters”, which put Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and the stunning Michelle Bauer together in a film with an almost non-existent plot and even less clothing for its three stars. Guys growing at that time wax poetic about this film. Umm, more accurately, they drool.

Melody, Marci, and Mickey are three girls who could reasonably be considered either mercy or sympathy pledges at their sorority. Bucktoothed, nerdy, and overweight, respectively, the three find themselves alone in the sorority house. What are three dorks to do with this freedom? Throw a party by inviting three equally-awkward frat pledges over for the night!

Once the evening starts unraveling, Marci suggests a séance using the crystal ball she bought at a flea market. The girls would know better if they had sat through the pre-credit sequence showing a shady medium being pulled into the ball by an obviously malevolent spirit.

Fortunately for both the movie and the intended audience, the supernatural shenanigans turn the geeky girls into nearly naked, lust-filled she-demons under the control of a succubus. From that point, the film is loaded with bare breasts and even more bad jokes than before as the possessed girls seek to claim the souls of the confused guys through sexual conquest.

“Nightmare Sisters” is not a film you watch for subtle and nuanced performances, deft plot twists, nerve-stripping suspense, or well-mounted horror set pieces. You are there for skin and, if you’re a bit odd, maybe some campy humor.  Does the film deliver on those levels? The camp is there from the outset with the nearly 8-minute opening scene of a woman visiting a demented thief of a medium, merrily overacted by Michael Sonye under the assumed name of Dukey Flyswatter.

If you crave the ample charms of the leading ladies, you’ll be waiting 40 minutes before the clothes go on Spring Break. After that, there are plenty of bouncing, jiggling, pie smeared, and suds-covered bare breasts and butts on display. Trust me when I say that, for the intended audience, the goods are definitely worth the wait.

An attempt to analyze “Nightmare Sisters” as anything other than prime T&A fodder is as disingenuous as teenage boy claiming to watch a Victoria’s Secret fashion show for the lighting set ups. Don’t justify a damn thing. Let yourself wallow in the cheese-laden antics and ogle the stars of this bit of fluff to your heart’s content. Just remember to shower when you’re done, please.

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