The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
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Some lovely young ladies decide to throw a get together, only to have some loonie with a drill stop in to kill them all.
Slumber Party Massacre is a slasher fan's guilty pleasure with a pretty silly edge to it! One might just gather that from the DVD cover or poster for this film. It takes the predictable elements of the "splatter" film and with a complete lack of seriousness has a ton of fun with them. It makes sense considering that this film was originally written to be a slasher parody, and frankly still works well as a parody. The acting, directing, and special FX are all B-grade stuff, but overall that helps rather than henders the mood of the film.
At any rate, this film is strictly a good-time party kinda film, certainly nothing to be taken serious, but just enjoyed for it's humor (both intended and unintended) with the horror genre.
*** out of ****
In other words, compared to the absolute crap we horror fans are subjected to nowadays, this movie is funny, clever, entertaining and fast-paced. SPM possesses a genuine sense of fun that is just about extinct in today's slasher movies. The principle cast (Michele Michaels, Debra DeLiso, Robin Stille...) is comprised of mostly unknown young actors and actresses, but they are fun, natural and appealing and none of them walk through their roles acting disinterested in the material. Brinke Stevens, one of the most ubiquitous Scream Queens of the past twenty years, has an early role here, as does Aaron Lipstadt, the director of the sci-fi sleeper Android (1982) with Klaus Kinski. Humorously scripted by feminist author Rita Mae Brown (of 'Rubyfruit Jungle' fame).
Score: 7 out of 10
Contents: 11 killings, good graphic gore (including a head lost and a hand getting chopped off), female nudity galore, lots of screams, a more stylish-than-usual, energetic flick.
It's uneven, certainly not a laugh a minute, but no way is it on the level. It has just enough fake gore and mild sex to make it a bit stressful (the way they like it) for the 5TH grade set, yet it won't give them as many nightmares as "Halloween" or something built with a bit more care (and talent).
Trish (Michelle Michaels) is a popular basketball player whose parents have gone away for the weekend. Just so happens that the night before, convicted killer and mental patient Russ Thorn (wonderfully played by Michael Villella) has escaped from confinement. Awww...timing is everything! Val (Robin Stille) is the new girl in school as well as on the basketball team, who also happens to live right next door to Trish. Of course, Trish decides to gather her girls for a night of fun at her empty house. She suggests they invite Val, and is of course is rejected by her snobby & trampy friend Diane (Gina Mari).
Cut to the chase...the girls have there slumber party. Of course Russ has been following them around all day and is just waiting for his moment to strike. Val on the other hand is alone too next door, with the exception of her boy crazy 13 year old sister Courtney (Jennifer Meyers). When the pizza delivery boy shows up dead on Trish's doorstep- mayhem ensues. The girls (along with some boys who have crashed the Slumber Party) are scared to death. They are afraid to leave the house - so the boys volunteer to make a run for it.
One by one our teenagers get hacked away. Eventually Val and Courtney get involved in the goings on and before you know it our girls are in some serious trouble.
The movie works due to some genuinely funny comedic dialogue- and Michael Villella's great portrayal of the Driller Killer. When he says "I love you" in his sick and twisted way- you genuinely feel creeped out! The music is also quite good as well. With a 77 minute run time- Slumber Party Massacre doesn't drag and keeps pace quite nicely. If you collect horror and are a big fan of the classic cheesy horror movies from the beloved 80's, Slumber Party Massacre is worth an entry into your DVD collection.
Now I don't know about most slasher lovers but I'll name a few who set the bar:
Halloween: I don't think there are many people who dispute the fact that Halloween is a real horror classic. It's got many of the slasher film elements but it's also a really good demonstration of how to make a great horror film with little more than enthusiasm and skill.
Friday the 13th: A really great slasher film. Nowhere near Halloween in terms of atmosphere, suspense and overall craftsmanship but the "woods scenario" was pretty much perfected here, the kills are great and the "wooden disposable teenagers" are presented here basically for the first time.
Black Christmas: A moody, atmospheric sorority slasher that is a bona fide horror classic. Here lighting, music, grueling set pieces, good acting and an OK sense of humor ensured that Christmas was always going to have a dark side. Made before Halloween so in some ways this film could be considered the granddaddy of all slashers.
Now these are three excellent films and belong as top referrers to any horror lover. Then there are those copycats and while some are really good (some Friday sequels, some Halloween sequels, The Burning, My Bloody Valentine for instance) many are not at all good. Many films fall somewhere in between, displaying some features that are to be admired. Films like "The Prowler", "Happy Birthday To Me", "Prom Night", "Dead and Buried", "Maniac" and "The House on Sorority Row" have some features working for them, be it atmosphere, gore, solid display of originality or good craftsmanship - something ensures they have good entertainment value.
Then there are those that have none of that, just copy from better movies and do it in a cheap, unimaginative and talentless fashion. Now seriously, those who won't find this little outburst of mine helpful will agree to the fact this this film has any of the features that make a solid horror movie.
It's horribly acted with one badly staged set piece swiftly followed by another. The set ups here are painfully bad (that pizza delivery boy who's just had his eyes drilled out was a particular fav). Honestly, I wish there was a comment section here so I could have admirers of the film point out to me what they liked and why.
Now, maybe I was just in a really foul mood when I watched this and I certainly don't want to imply that those who like it are any certain type of individuals, hell, I like some movies that get horrible beatings here. But, in my humble opinion, it's movies like "Slumber Party Massacre" that gave slashers a bad name and I'm just amazed to see that many horror lovers seem to think highly of it.
And, ironically enough, even in the case of a movie that is obviously driven by nudity (of which the film features remarkably little), I don't mean cheap thrills as far as shower scenes or lingerie scenes or any weak trash like that. You have the screeching cat scare, half a dozen or so friends sneaking up on people and viciously grabbing their shoulder from behind or something, only to throw up their hands like, What? What? I scared you? Each successive one making this movie more and more of an endurance test than the weak horror, awful acting, or abysmal script-writing could ever do.
And who's the killer? No one. Some tool in cowboy boots and a lot of denim. Evidently he's an escaped mass murderer who went on a killing spree in the late 60s, which I guess would explain why he appears to be nothing but a middle-aged man with graying hair and a three foot drill. It's like they picked some jerk off the street and said Hey, hold this drill and let us film you running around this locker room for a little while. That should be good enough for this movie.
I love all of the attempts to impose some deep women's lib meaning into this movie by commenting on the obviously phallic drill that this jean-jacket-clad maniac chases these women around with. Not that there's anything wrong with the women's liberation movement or implying that a film like this has any meaning in regards to the plight of women, I just think it's really funny to inject meaning into a film as meaningless as this one.
(spoilers) There's one scene at the end of the film where there is a weak attempt to suggest the insanity of the killer as he mumbles his total of I think 21 spoken words (not including the gibberish he screams after he gets his hand cut off), the first few of which are, "You're all so pretty," and, shockingly enough, "I love you." Very cute, it's too bad this sudden moment of character depth comes so far out of left field that it is memorable simply because of its separation with the rest of the film than any meaning it might carry.
Joseph Ulibas (my neighbor right over in Sacramento) makes an interesting comment that Freud would have loved to psychoanalyze the killer in this movie. Sure, this last scene definitely implies some serious sexual anxiety, as this is apparently a man who gets his thrills by killing pretty women that he loves, but to be perfectly honest, I think Freud would have more of a field day analyzing the writers and, at least as much, whoever it was that read the script and decided that this would be a good movie.
So with the setting established a slumber party at the home of one of the girls homes, the characters all exposed as expendable and the killer on the loose after having escaped authorities, we were set for some bloodletting.
There is nothing new about Slumber Party Massacre. Even in 1982, the film was a rip of just about every other horror film that was hitting the theatres in rapid releases. Even the film's score was an organ key shade away from John Carpenter's classic Halloween winning number.
Surprisingly directed by Amy Holden Jones (women directing horror films were not of the norm), the film does at least try to use the horror playbook to ensure that all the plays are executed. We have a shower scene that is definitely a press pause and zoom experience. There are countless individuals that are lined up as plausible victims. And there is a killer that has a kill toy of choice even if he doesn't have any kind of personality present within the film's frames.
Slumber Party Massacre was originally written with the intention of being a slasher movie spoof. It was reconstructed into the straight horror that it ends up becoming, but the resonating humor is still present throughout the film.
One of the worst things that can happen after viewing a horror film is having the details of the film forgotten. This is exactly Slumber Party Massacre's problem. I remember the shower scene, but just two days since my revisit to the experience, I can't remember anything notable about the films plot, it's characters and most importantly, it's killing.
R.I.P Robin Stille who played Valerie sadly she killed herself a few years back
Oh classic slashers! Where would we be without them? And hey, it don't get more classy than this! If you read the title, you know what you're getting with this. Sexy women being butchered by a madman. With a great big drill. Hey, for what it's worth, it's not that bad. I've also seen Slumber Party Massacre III, and let me tell yah, that is some purile sh*t right there. This one, on the other hand, at least has being the first movie in that series on it's side. So it feels at least a little refreshing. It has decent atmosphere and story--from the early to mid 80's when slashers were in their prime of course. But we're really watching this for nudity and slayings. Which we get, the film's not too shy. The nudity and gore are pretty average and nothing all too special. The driller killer? Just an escaped lunatic with a big-assed drill. He doesn't wear a mask, just a grimace. Some decent tension and a pretty good climax (ha ha) prevent the film from failing--though, the story and setting are really damn average. Worth a gander for horror and especially, slasher fans. 5/10
I fail to see why this movie is actually admired by some fans of the Horror genre. It just fails miserably on all counts. There are some funny moments in it (like when killer counts the number of bodies in the trunk) but there is almost nothing memorable about SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE except for the nudity at the beginning of the film. And the fact that every actress playing the teenage girls looked like they were actually 29 years old. The killer is lame and the uninspired cinematography is so dark that I had a hard time seeing what was going on at times.
Not funny enough to be considered a successful parody of slashers. Not gory enough for gorehounds. Not scary enough for those looking for thrills. But boring and unmemorable enough to be forgotten. For horror films completists only.
Anyway, Slumber Party Massacre is not original. If you have seen Halloween, Friday the 13th, or any of the dozens of slasher-horror movies, then you know what happens here.
So the plot is that a mass-murderer escaped from prison recently and he begins killing high schoolers almost immediately. You know the rest, some kids have a slumber party where the murderer descends and gore and blood ensue.
This movie has all the typical 80's horror movie elements: gratuitous nudity, lots of blood and gory death scenes, mediocre acting, and ever- present "boo" scary music.
Now, like I said, pretty much all the slasher movies are the same, other than the killer and his weapon of choice. In this movie, the killer picks a power drill (or whatever it is called) as his weapon of choice. That would not have been my pick if I were a mass-murderer. I mean, sure it can be efficient, but it sure is bulky, and very noisy. You better hope that there are a lot of coincidental cover noises around when you are dispatching another hapless teen. Luckily for this killer, there are plenty of blenders and other noises to allow him to kill around a dozen people before people suspect something!
I laughed out loud at some of the scenes...especially the par where the killer is running from the school, where he recently killed a girl, in broad daylight with his bloody drill and he's looking around to see if anyone sees him...hahaha, I mean, subtlety is not this guy's motif!
And of course there is plenty of nudity. Lot's breasts in this movie and an prolonged shower scene where the camera actually does a slow pan down a girl's back to see her butt. I'm not complaining but at least in other movies, the nudity isn't this blatant.
The acting is about what you expect from a movie like this...below average.
Now I will say, I did enjoy this movie, but its not going to be considered a true classic.