Color, 1985, 94 mins.5 secs.
Directed by James Frawley
Starring Stephen Geoffreys, Sheree J. Wilson, Tim Robbins, Cameron Dye, Leigh McCloskey, Matt McCoy, Max Wright, Amanda Bearse, Barbara Crampton, Julie Payne, Kathleen Kinmont, Britt Ekland, Nita Talbot, Charles Rocket, John Vernon
Scorpion Releasing (Blu-ray & DVD) (US RA/R1 HD/NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

Boasting Fraternity Vacationway more interest for horror Fraternity Vacationfans than the usual teen sex comedy, Fraternity Vacation was New World's contribution to the scene in 1985 alongside such competitors as Once Bitten, Private Resort, Weird Science, Just One of the Guys, and Porky's Revenge. Like all of those, it went on to become a cable TV mainstay for a couple of years but gained a great deal of notoriety for its cast including a soon to be famous Tim Robbins (who had a small role in the same year's The Sure Thing) and Stephen Geoffreys and Amanda Bearse, both of whom starred in Fright Night later the same year. That film's composer, Brad Fiedel, also performs duties here for a very synth-laden soundtrack also peppered with lots of Bananrama songs. On top of that you get Britt Ekland as a bemused barmaid, John Vernon as a jailer who says "Rapists make my flesh crawl," Frightmare's Nita Talbot, the tragic Charles Rocket as a nightclub DJ, Inferno's Leigh McCloskey, and most spectacularly, a scene with Re-Animator's Barbara Crampton and Bride of Re-Animator's Kathleen Kinmont that earned this a place in the nudity hall of fame.

A freshman at Iowa State, freshman pledge Wendell Tvedt (Geoffreys) gets sent off to Palm Springs with two of his prospective fraternity brothers, Joe (Dye) and Larry "Mother" Tucker (Robbins), because his uncle owns a swanky condo. Upon arrival they stumble on a string of misadventures, especially when Mother and Joe both set their Fraternity Vacationsights on a pretty blonde staying across the way, Ashley (Crimewave's Wilson). They also decide to help Wendell lose his virginity, but Fraternity Vacationthey're all stymied by a couple of obnoxious preppy frat jerks, Chas (McCloskey) and J.C. (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle's McCoy), as they build to the annual "Last Blast" to close out their vacation.

An amiable time waster that checks off all the usual boxes for teen antics, Fraternity Vacation also features the usual behavior that went out of fashion around the turn of the millennium but manages to slide by here thanks to the charm of the cast and the payback they get for their transgressions. Geoffreys is more or less the star here, delivering his trademark nervous, goofball energy in a standout year that also saw him stealing the Catholic teen comedy Heaven Help Us as well. Even the nastiest characters ultimately prove to have a reasonable side, and the episodic structure means you get a decent variety of goofball situations to keep things percolating along nicely. Incredibly, this was the last theatrical feature directed by James Frawley, Fraternity Vacationa TV veteran who had previously helmed films like The Muppet Movie, The Big Bus, and the wildly underseen The Christian Licorice Store. Only in Hollywood.

Issued on VHS by New World before hitting the bargain bins from Starmaker, Fraternity Vacation has since made the rounds on Fraternity VacationDVD from labels like Anchor Bay and Image Entertainment over the years rehashing an okay transfer struck sometime in the early '00s (including odd double features with Soul Man and Reform School Girls). The 2020 Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing fares much better with a fresh scan that looks very vibrant and healthy, with those very '80s primary colors really popping where they should. The DTS-HD MA English mono audio (with optional English SDH subtitles) sounds fine given that it's the usual "gets the job done" New World type of mix. A very lo-res trailer is included along with bonus ones for Covergirl, Talking Walls, Night Patrol, Omega Syndrome, and Stand Alone.

Reviewed on March 7, 2020