Retrospect on The Slumber Party Massacre films.
I can't exactly say when I first watched the original Slumber Party Massacre, but I remember somehow getting it on DVD and instantly loving the old school California atmosphere in the suburban neighborhoods. This was a product from B movie legend Rodger Corman who for years was the man behind so many amazing movies. I personally loved whenever he produced B movies in the late 70's and 80's such as Piranha, and Chopping Mall. Something about these movies always had high re-watch value in my eyes and always a treat to watch. For Slumber Party Massacre, originally a spoof on the MANY slashers that had been being cranked out since the late 70's and were being cranked out one after another during the 80's. These all had the basic formula. There's a killer, a group of half naked girls, a booming soundtrack, and lots and lots of gore. Last second the movie was decided to be played more serious even though it still had some questionable as well as laudable moments still in the final film. Written and directed by women, this makes it even more of a laugh since the film was supposed to prove to be a woman's film, but actually just features them basically undressing, in little nightgowns, and soaping up in a shower scene. Hey, it is what it is. A fun, cheesy, gory, 80's movie! This film tells the tale of an escaped mental patient Russ Thorn who begins stalking several young beautiful high school students in the area. Here he targets a slumber party being thrown by one of the girls who's parents are away from the weekend. The night seems promising as the girls smoke some dope, order a pizza, make drinks, and let some of the local boys in, only to begin to get picked off one by one by Thorn and his huge cordless power drill he's been using on his victims. Here the girls are trapped, as well as two sisters that live next door. With the phone lines cut, the girls are finally faced to team up and fight back before it's too late.
One thing I love about this movie is the soundtrack. In fact Death Waltz records released a stunning vinyl of this movie that I still need to get.
The movie has a huge cult following for just how over the top it is and how it's basically a big metaphor for being afraid of getting laid for the first time. I mean here are these half naked girls, and a killer with a big "drill" ready to drill into them. Yeah...
Still, the movie doesn't try to take itself too seriously. How about the repair woman who puts the peep hole in only to drill and crack the door? Or the killer laying down pretending to be a corpse?! How about that Kool-Aid and all that sugar?! It features a early role of Ms. Brinke Stevens in a pretty terrifying chase scene. It shows a killer who is completely insane, and doesn't even care if he kills in the middle of the day. I love how crazy he looks and how he confesses his love for all the girls saying that he's doing all these horrible things because he loves them so much. C-r-a-z-y. One of the best moments has to be the pizza delivery guy getting murdered and how afterwards one of the girls admits she feels better when she eats only to crawl over to his fallen corpse and start chewing on one of the pizzas. Classic. Or how about the killer creeping up behind the girls in the bedroom, or the handsome neighbor getting a drill in the neck while killing slugs! The movie is a B movie at it bests, and as a woman makes me laugh since this seems to be what a man's fantasy would be if he tried to think of what a slumber party would look like. Still, the final battle with the girls at the pool is brutal and gives us one HELL of an ending. Was completely sparked when Shout Factory released this baby on blu-ray a few years back. A great slasher for any horror fan!
In 1987, towards the end of the decade Slumber Party Massacre II was released. I remember finding this on tape years ago and watching it, completely stunned at the complete polar opposite direction they went in with this movie. Giving zero fucks, they decided to turn this into a black comedy ten times more over the top than the original. This time the film picks up several years later where Courtney, the younger sister from the original is now a teenager and her sister Valerie (played by a new actress. Tragically years later the original actress who played Valerie took her own life. Such a shame, her last name was very close to mine and she was completely stunning. Major bummer.) is in a mental hospital. Plagued by nightmares of the original attack, Courtney is trying everything she can to be a normal teenager. She's in a band with her friends (featuring Juliette Cummings from Friday the 13th part 5, and Psycho III, and Heidi Kozak from Society and Friday the 13th part 7), and is lusting over a local cutie, trying to forget what happened to her when she was twelve years old. Well on the weekend of her birthday, she's invited to spend the weekend at one of the girls' parents's new condo which is across the state in a new development where hardly anyone lives. The girls invite some guys over, and plan on practicing their music and party. First off one thing I loved about this movie was the soundtrack. I really honestly want to see if it's been released yet. There are too many songs to name, but every single one is beyond catchy, even the ones that the girls sing!
The biggest thing about this movie is the killer. Basically you are led to believe he only exists in Courtney's mind. He's a sexy leather wearing 1950's rockabilly maniac who has a huge gutair with a drill attached to it. Yes, you heard right. He legit seems to jump right from Courtney's nightmares into reality and begins picking off the teens while thrusting about, and dancing. I gotta admit, the car scene where he has the flower tucked behind his ear, and he wiggles his tongue. Mmmmm! This movie is made to be weird, and laughable. We get fantasy scenes of hands being in burgers, a girl's zit taking over her entire facing and spraying everywhere, and flashes of Courtney's sister in the mental hospital begging her sister not to go all the way. Gotta love the montage of the girls dancing, having a pillow fight, drinking, and eating corn dogs. The kills are over the top, are are the scenes of this very strange killer dancing about stealing the show. I think it's great how Courtney snaps and uses a flame thrower to try and kill him looking completely like a crazy bitch, only to make you believe it was a dream. Or was it? Is Courtney the crazy one? Did it all happen in her snapped mind or her sister's? Yet again this movie isn't about to win any awards for screenplay writing. It's a sequel to a very cheesy over the top slasher, and doesn't take itself seriously at all. So many horror fans know these movies for the posters of the half naked girls laying frightened with the killer sticking his drill down towards them. I would say this film wins for best poster in the entire series. It's crazy. and is a huge guilty pleasure of mine.
The third film is a movie I watched for the first time today when I got the awesome double feature yet again by Shout Factory of both part II and III. It's awesome to see these lost gems now crystal clear in HD. From what I heard, part III was a very mean spirited film, that went back to being told in a more solid format as a straight horror/slasher film. Made in early 1990, it was the beginning of a new decade where these type of movies weren't as popular, and usually went straight to video. This movie was a blast to watch just like the other films. Here we follow a group of girlfriends who decide to have a slumber party at one of the girls' houses while her parents are away looking to sell their current home. Here in typical fashion, the girls drink, dance, get half naked, eat junk food, and have a bunch of the local boys crash the party to try and scare them. There are several memorable moments from this movie. LOVE the exchange between the nerdy guy wanting to crash the party and the pizza woman, or that creepy shot of the killer following her and then starting to run. Pretty creepy. We got the girls stripping, and the lead that looks like the girl from Orange Is The New Black. The movie was filled with very cheesy lines, such as the guy shouting how the girlfriend was found in a garment bag at the top of his lungs. I completely lost it there. Even though it seems like this is just another slumber party massacre movie, it gets thrown for a loop when the killer is unveiled. At first he's masked, with a huge drill (a classic never goes out of style) there's some great kills, such as the guy getting stabbed with the For Sale sign, then we meet Ken, a guy from the opening scene who some of the girls all seem to know from school. He's handsome and charming, and comes to the party and goes upstairs to hook up with one of the girls only to um, well...not "rise" to the occasion. Here he tries to make the best out of what happened, only to afterwards head back down to the party. Here the masked killer drops a plug in sex toy into the bathtub killing her. Ah, the early 90's. What a time to be alive! It isn't long before her body is discovered, and the teens all panic thinking it's either this creepy guy who's been lurking around, or the creepy next door neighbor (loved his girlish scream from an earlier scene while he's visiting the house.) After trying to call the police for help, only to be dismissed as a prank call, Ken, and another boyfriend say they are going to run down to Ken's uncle's house who's a retired police officer. As they run, Ken claims his leg is bothering him, where they wander into a construction site to find weapons. Here the big reveal happens where Ken shows he's in fact the killer only to return back to the house to massacre everyone.
Yes this movie is stupid since they are legit in a neighborhood, there was help everywhere you could look, and working phones yet they all stayed like scared little puppies in the house. Even several times when they had to chance to run or when the killer was knocked out they STILL STAYED IN THE HOUSE. Argh! Hey, it's a dumb little B movie slasher, but man oh man. Still, clearly something isn't right with Ken. The film hints towards it, but his uncle who recently killed himself as a retired police officer, and meant the world to Ken. We only get these details from a few small things shown in the movie, but it's hinted that the uncle molested Ken when he was younger, causing him to snap after he died. Here he goes nuts. I still a stronger script could have actually made this backstory a pretty decent plot point for this movie, but again a slasher is a slasher. The movie picks up pretty quickly once the killing starts, and we get girls that actually fight back which is refreshing. One disturbing scene that seemed a little over the top was one Ken traps one of the girls who keeps begging that she'll listen to him, that she's sorry if she hurt him, and tries to befriend him and gain his trust only to have a very uncomfortable scene where he rips off her nightgown and starts kissing her. A little out of left field, and more than likely just an excuse to show some tits. Still, yikes. The kills are gory and bloody, and the showdown is pretty awesome. In fact after the original this one has the best ending. It's a fun little slasher that I'm surprised not so many people have heard about. Love the credits with the photos. Beyond unsettling. Love the shot of the lead's best friend finally dying, and her kneeling covered in blood, staring at the creepy photo of Ken as a child with his uncle as sirens are heard in the background just like in the original.
I've yet to see the Sorority House massacre movies but those are next. I enjoyed these three little slashers for exactly what they were. They are fun little movies with pretty much the same over the top plot points. Shout Factory did an amazing job, and I'm beyond happy to have them in my collection now. I think it would be a complete riot to see a new Slumber Party Massacre be made paying tribute to the first 3 films!
So which one is your favorite?