Franchise Review: Slumber Party Massacre

I’m sure most of you horror nuts out there are aware that the slasher genre had it’s huge heyday back in the 80s. Having started to pick up steam in the late 70s, the horror audience was inundated with slasher movies trying to be the next Halloween or at the very least trick people into thinking they’re watching the next Halloween. It’s all about the money…and at times certainly not about the script. Generally the story was about people getting killed by an unknown person and we try to figure out who it was before the big reveal with the reason for all this murderation. That seems to be the most basic of plots to come up with, but there were those that just let you know who the killer was early on and then we play the waiting game to see how it pans out even though we go from guessing who the killer is to the game where we just guess who we think will die. Well, we play that game anyway. So after that questionable segue, I think I’ve established that Slumber Party Massacre concentrates mostly on the “massacre” more than any story they would’ve come up with. But does that make for a less than enjoyable slasher? Let’s see!

Story: Insert the snickering here for the story as it is as basic as it gets. Girls decide to have a slumber party, some of the guys are interested in crashing the party, and one crazy guy escapes custody and goes on a killing spree.

Review: When looking back at older films that were released in the wake of the great slashers, you’ve got to remember that the “rules” were still being established in the movie mold. The characters are exactly what you would expect them to be and act. Tough guys, nerds, bitches, cute and innocent virgin, etc. The killer just wants to kill, he may have a great reason to kill everyone or maybe not. But that’s alright. If the movie delivers on what we expect, we can at least expect a good time and this movie doesn’t take a lot of time to get the ball rolling.

He certainly got the tip.

He certainly got the tip.

Within the first ten to fifteen minutes, we are treated to several girls showering after a sweaty game of basketball and not long after that we also get to see the first of the many girls killed by a maniac with a three foot drill. Yeah, we’ve seen knives used countless times and even a few chainsaws but a three foot long drill is a little different and a hell of a way to go. He never breaks away from using the drill either, it’s his primary and only weapon of choice. The killer’s motives don’t need to be dissected at all; he’s nuts and wants to kill all the pretty girls with his big, hard drill. Oh wait, can it be looked into further?

A valid argument to watch the movie.

A valid argument to watch the movie.

With much surprise, I learned that the original screenplay was written by noted feminist activist Rita Mae Brown. It was intended to be a parody of slasher movies that contained a bit of humor and euphemistic imagery (like you can’t tell me the drill is used like a dick.) The movie was filmed as a straight horror movie with all the expected nudity and gore yet kept a lot of the humor so it’s an interesting take with a funny feminist view of the slasher genre.

Released way back in 1982, despite many “whodunnit” slashers already being released, I can actually forgive this movie for being so simple. There’s a good reason why too – it’s a good movie despite being dated.

Story: 5 – Well, it’s not really any different from it’s slasher brethren, but it works just enough to never be boring.

Boobs: 7 – Many scenes with many boobs, you won’t be disappointed.

Blood: 7 – Some of the drill kills are nasty, whether you’re seeing them happen or see the bodies from an off-screen kill.

Rating: 7 – Just another slasher but entertaining despite familiarity.

Story: Courtney, the sister of one of the girls who survived the events of the previous movie, has been having nightmares related to the original incident and decides to get away from it all with her rock group with boyfriends in tow but her dreams start to spill out in real life.

Review: Wow…they, uh, really went in a different direction with this one. The filmmakers really decided they needed more humor in their movie. In a strange movie the humor is mostly delivered by the new driller killer acting as a 50’s rock star who is capable of escaping Courtney’s dreams to kill her loved ones with a long drill attached to his guitar! That’s all you get because there’s little explanation for any of this happening.

She ate waaaay too much chocolate.

She ate waaaay too much chocolate.

The first film worked so well with its simplicity there was no need for much explanation, yet here there’s a supernatural element to the movie that really should require a huuuuge explanation and we get none of it. The killer is certainly meant to be funny, he has his one-liners and he dances and sings as he kills, but it’s just too weird to laugh at or not funny to begin with. The film also has many homages to the bigger and better movies with many characters named after Freddy, Jason, Wes Craven and even Norman Bates which might make you laugh for a split second.

Other than the crazy rocker with the drill, the story is standard slasher fare. Most of the characters are recycled from the previous movie and are acted as such. The gore is only decent though some kills are delivered in interesting ways. Some of the dream sequences with weird things happening (like a monstrous zit on someone’s face popping) are disgusting enough to count too. The nudity is unfortunately lacking, I don’t even remember if there was any or not which is a huge disappointment.

Oh, sorry, wrong dream demon guy.

Oh, sorry, wrong dream demon guy.

Somehow, the film as achieved some sort of cult status and is enjoyed for its campiness. I love camp as much as the next person, but only as long as it’s entertaining, and this movie (minus a few good scenes) is anything but. The killer is the star of the show, but if you’re watching this to be scared you will be disappointed, and if you’re here to laugh, well, you have strange expectations.

Story: 3 – Interesting killer, everything else is boring.

Boobs: 1 – Maybe I saw something, maybe I blinked.

Blood: 4 – Some decent kills here and there, not as bloody as the original though. No one dies but the zit scene is pretty disgusting.

Overall: 2 – Unless you’re looking for a slasher with the killer thinking he’s some sort of funny Elvis, it’s best to stay away.

Story: “Second verse, same as the first.” Well, third verse in this case. Girls have a slumber party, dudes want to crash, creepy and obvious red herrings want to crash, and a crazy guy definitely wants to crash.

Thankfully, this sequel tries to go back to what made the original so fun. It gets rid of the horrible “comedy” aspects of the previous movie, as well as the supernatural elements. The movie is again as basic as can be but unfortunately this movie came out in 1990, long after the slasher craze died and becomes a prime example of why the genre almost completely disappeared.

The douche is always the killer.

The douche is always the killer.

The film has all the slasher fundamentals covered, even bringing back the naked women this type of series definitely needs. The characters are very much as they always have been in the previous movies, just played by different actors (this being the worst of the bunch.) There are several red herrings that should draw your attention away from who may be the real killer, yet it’s incredibly obvious these guys are not the killer. Not that you wait very long for the real killer, he appears around the halfway point of the movie to kill off not only the other characters but whatever tension the movie can muster.

Here’s my problem with introducing the killer so early on. It kills the potential thrills the movie could offer. The first film introduced the killer with radio news updates every now and then saying a killer escaped and we finally see him later into the movie when the tension begins to pick up. We see the killer of the second film way early on, but they were making a different type of movie. Halfway through this third movie we’re introduced to who the real killer is and the movie tries to keep some kind of tension but the way the script is handled any tension is sapped from the viewer who is just left to watch the killer do his thing while we yawn and wait for the ending.

So is there anything that’s good in it? Well, aside from the tits, the killer branches out from just using the drill. A chainsaw gets used at point and even a “For Sale” sign is used to impale one of the poor characters early on. There’s even an explanation for the killer’s motives, but it’s weak at best. I guess that’s all the nice things I can say.

Story: 3 – It is what it is, but usually sequels try to be bigger and better than the previous movies, this one just tried to be like the first film.

Boobs: 4 – Not a smorgasbord like the first one, but a huge step up from the last movie.

Blood: 5 – Some drill kills are repeated (in fact, most of them are) but some of the other kills are alright.

Overall: 3 – Certainly nothing to go out of your way to see…unless you bought the DVD series like I did.

The series started off well enough with the first Slumber Party Massacre but faltered after that with each sequel.  That didn’t stop Roger Corman from producing more like-minded movies.  Oh, I forgot to mention him?  I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn but these low-budget affairs all came from Corman himself and his various production companies.  Other films just like this include the Sorority House Massacre movies and most recently (well, as of the early 2000’s) the Cheerleader Massacre movies.  So I have more hunting to do though I really should just leave things alone.  I’ll never learn.

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