The Slumber Party Massacre Reviews
I think Slumber Party Massacre IS evidence of inclusion in the genre; women, clearly, can make just as tasteless and violent trash as the guys. Roger Corman, who helped produce the film, *was* someone who didn't see genre as any kind of barrier (I remember the first Corman movie I saw was Penelope Spheeris' debut, Suburbia, when I was an adolescent), and while he did ultimately take a script that was originally intended as a satire of slasher movies (by author Rita Mae Brown), there's some of that connective tissue poking fun and, really, revealing the sordid qualities as something to laugh at intentionally. And... sure, there's unintentional laughs as well. Or, to put it more simply, this is a lot of fun, regardless of who made it.
One other question: does it have a running theme that makes it stand out from the pack of things that would've wound up on Siskel & Ebert's shit list? In one respect, there's one that's hard not to see: everyone is wrapped up in their own world in this story, to the point where it gets a lot of people killed. Right from the get-go, the first murder that happens in the *school parking lot* (seriously, is no one else around at all, where's Groundskeeper Willie?), the idea is 'well, I don't need to turn back and look', and it makes what could be a movie filled with nasty, unlikeable people and, at least in some part, *about* how people don't help until it's too late. The other key example of this, among some others, is when one of the teenagers (one of the guys, no less) goes over to the house across the street where our quasi-not-really-sorta Laurie Stroud, Trish (Michele Michaels), is watching a horror movie on the TV while her "younger" sister is on the phone in another room. Just when Trish goes out to see what all the "HELP! HELP!" noise is from outside - hey, why look at it sooner, it's a dumb slumber party she's not been invited to after all - it's too late.
Oh, and of course there's the phallic imagery of the drill (one shot in one particular kill scene seems like the quintessential slasher-movie image outside of something from Halloween), though I'm not convinced that is intentionally some sort of comment. It certainly *could* be going that way, and if I find out later on a documentary or audio commentary how it was then I'll eat my words. But one of the things about Slumber Party Massacre to note is how it's clever AND not clever at the same time. There are too many jump scares in the first half (a cat? really?), and yet at the same time there's moments like when the sisters are in the house, one of them opens the fridge and a body is in there - she closes it, but opens it again, both times not seeing it as she's not looking (though we see it from the composition and placement of the frame).
I think, ultimately, regardless of gender, the filmmakers know in some part what they were doing throughout this, and it's a movie that gets to (mostly) have its cake and eat it: it's both a shameless rip-off of Halloween while being kind of a tribute to it, poking some fun at the cliches of a killer with... issues stalking girls (and men too, he's not discriminating, he just, as he notes at his villain monologue, finds them... pretty), and the girls in the cast are all game and only a couple of them are genuinely not good, like the "younger" sister (seriously, she looks almost as old if not *older* than the older sister!) The climax may try to bite off a little more than it can chew, but by then if one is already in, then it's still an entertaining ride.
In other words: can women direct and write slashers? Well... duh.
I loved it!
Independent and stylish for its time.
So why doesn't it have a place? While doing my research on slashers for THE BIG THREE ARE AFTER ME, this incredibly well done, extremely low budget Corman factory production is hardly mentioned. I'll add that my personal favorite slasher - MY BLOODY VALENTINE with the gore added back in (thanks, MPAA!) - is also not high on the list. Is it because the plots make sense and the characters aren't being idiots? Because the female characters have agency and the ability to fight back? Quite possibly, and SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE is also based on a script by feminist Rita Mae Brown (who kept screenwriting credit) and directed by Amy Holden Jones. Obviously women. (Shhhh - there's sort of a feminist message in it. AVERT YOUR EYES)
Amy Holden Jones said that after this movie, which went around the world and apparently netted her zero residuals on the buckets of money it made for Corman's company, she was unable to get an agent, a manager, and, presumably, meetings. She talked Corman into funding her next writer/director project, an arty film called LOVE LETTERS with Jamie Lee Curtis. Let's just meditate for a moment on the fact that a woman with seemingly no love for slashers, who had not even seen HALLOWEEN, made a slasher that is not only great but is also respectful of the genre (boobs! blood!) and of the characters (brains!).
After LOVE LETTERS, Holden Jones directed two more movies, but she said that just slipped away eventually since she never had regular opportunities. She doesn't even think about directing now. Holden Jones has had a great career as a writer (MYSTIC PIZZA, BEETHOVEN, created the tv series BLACK BOX), and for this I'm glad. But how many great writer/directors have we missed out on because they're female, minority, or LGBT? We're silencing more than half of our cultural collateral, and this is just wrong.
I was impressed by the decent female characters, something most horror movies lack. The male characters, however, were all pretty bad.
An escaped psycho stalks a group of girls having a (duh) slumber party, intermittently broken up by boys crashing the party.
Good stuff, well worth a rental if you have the chance.
If you're taking about sitting through this movie, drill wielding maniac Russ Thorn, then yes, I fully agree.
It's not the worst slasher, that's for sure. It goes for some humor, though the jokes fall flat and miss the mark in my opinion. There are some decent kills and okay suspense, though it's funny how so many people can get stuck in a house in the middle of a suburban neighborhood without getting away or finding help. Maybe that was part of the humor.
The girls are all attractive and have very lovely... assets. This was released by Roger Corman's studio, so that's to be expected. It has the blood, the nudity, and a fairly unique killer, but it's kind of forgettable. The ending is great, but there are long stretches where your patience may wear thin.