Ladies Hostel (1973)
Cast: Ravi, Rama, Lata Malini, Kokila
Director: Ramesh Kumar
Music Director: Omi-Sonik
Synopsis: Sluttish Hostel girls pay for their nastiness in a terrifying manner
Just as it was time to consider giving the whole Bollywood horror thing an extended break due to rubber-mask burnout, along comes a deliciously weird and wonderful slice of madness to restore faith and continue the lifelong binge into South Asian shlock.
Ladies Hostel, judging by the lame VCD cover and the title of the movie suggested another sleaze-fest in the vein of Khooni Dracula, Khopdi, Maut etc. That it would turn out to be a delicious twist on the done to death raped and murdered ghost returns in white sari and rubber mask to wreak revenge theme comes as a welcome surprise.
Ladies Hostel is more like Sorority Girl meets Abby on crack with shades of Khooni Dracula thrown in for good measure and it is a soul stirring concoction. The director rejoices in some wonderfully bizarre lighting effects and many of the special effects are truly astoundingly brilliant, almost matching those of that All time classic, Mithun Chakraborty’s Suraksha.
The music too is bizarre and intriguing and helps add to the crazy mix of madness that unfolds on screen. Much to the films credit, musical interludes are kept in check and there are mercifully few scenes of comic relief (read incredible tedium). The film waste no time getting down to business and after a title sequence featuring a catchy score, the first scene is of some sluttish bad girls smoking up a storm with their studly friend. After puffing away like the worst fiends from Reefer Madness listening to Dum Maro Dum the girls break out into a sexy dance with their hunk of a boyfriend. The principal, a decent old girl is clueless that her hostel houses a posse of high octane lusting nymphomaniac drug fiends who will break every rule in order to get their daily satisfaction.
Sadly, one night the party is cut short as a Carrie White like moron is brought in to share the room with the fast girls. Naturally our bitchy girls are none too pleased to have a village bumpkin amidst them yet they are still determined to have their fun and threaten the new arrival with death if she tells on them. As it happens one of the sluttish girls receives a call from home in the principal’s office that night and when the old lady comes to deliver the urgent message she finds only the bumpkin in the room dutifully while the rest of the cats have gone out for a piece of the action.
Battle lines are drawn and Carrie White is soon at the end of waves of bitchiness from all around including her male Physical Education instructor who slaps her around mercilessly on at least one occasion.
It’s a spectacularly strange and hugely entertaining freak of a horror film that comes as such a refreshing change from the tedious, one dimensional Post Ramsay’s horror formula that it manages to succeed in making its mark. Then there are several bizarre and unique sequences done with such cheap panache that it recalls some of the work of the great Jose Mojica Marins – the highest praise indeed. Truly, Ladies Hostel is head and shoulders above 90% of the post Ramsay’s Indian era of Indian horror movies and has got Eli Roth’s Hostels beaten by miles.