in Shocktober

Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

I know what you’re thinking, “This movie has to be terrible!” And maybe you’re right. But in all honesty… I liked this movie. Sounds crazy even to hear myself say it but it’s true. Slumber Party Massacre doesn’t aspire to be anything more than mindless entertainment and on that level it succeeds. The kills, combined with an independent retro charm made this movie a lot of fun. Those expecting a bunch of babes bouncing around in skimpy lingerie will be slightly disappointed. This movie is not a sexploitation film (though there is a shower scene) and I wouldn’t say it’s demeaning to women. As a matter of fact, the writer and director were both women. While the antagonist is a man with a big power drill. Hmm, power drill… A phallic shaped object. Could Slumber Party Massacre be the first feminist slasher flick?

The setup: Eighteen-year-old Trish’s parents are going out of town so she decides to throw a slumber party. She invites her friends; Kim, Jackie, Diane and the new introverted girl Valerie who just doesn’t fit in with the group (Oh man, feelings and stuff.) Meanwhile, mass murderer Russ Thorn has escaped from prison and goes on a killing spree with a power drill. Why? Cause it’s awesome. Eventually the stories converge and all hell breaks loose in this off-the-wall, late-night massacre.

The film was produced by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures and written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown. Intended by Brown as a satire on the slasher genre, the studio preferred to play it as a serious story. Kind of disappointing when you consider they changed the vision of someone who actually had an original idea. Luckily, the film still retained some of the humor from Brown’s script and resulted in a fun flick nonetheless. Director Amy Holden also got her big break on this film (if you can consider Slumber Party Massacre a big break) going on to some success co-writing the movie Beethoven, an equally if not more terrifying film. The acting here is wishy-washy, but still manages to float by. In a way it’s the almost amateurish quality that makes this film so enjoyable.

I get the vibe that Slumber Party Massacre probably featured a lot of first-timers in different capacities. When working for Roger Corman it wasn’t uncommon for talented newcomers to be given an integral role on a film even with little experience. That was one of the great qualities of Corman. If someone showed any kind of promise he gave them a shot. Thus Slumber Party Massacre had the fresh feel of youth, rather than something that was hashed out by indifferent fogeys trying to make a quick buck. What this film lacks in content it makes up for in style and exuberance. Slumber Party Massacre has the classic feel of a late night drive-in movie. Not that I’d know anything about that. The only drive-in movies I’ve ever seen are Small Soldiers and The Truman Show. Both were very scary.

Can you find the dead body in this picture?

  1. I thought this poster couldn’t possibly look that silly, our blog must have cropped it weird but… No, the full poster is even worse.

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