Slumber Party Massacre (Amy Holden Jones, 1982)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 0
slumber party massacre poster
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Trish, an all-American high school girl, decides to invite some girlfriends over for a slumber party while her parents are out of town. Who knew that it would fall on the same weekend that a deranged, murderous psychopath escapes from the local asylum?!

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This may come as a shock to some of you readers out there but this was my first sit-down with Slumber Party Massacre. I vaguely recall part 2 with the shitty girl-band and that ugly midget from Wings. Those things alone made me steer clear of giving it any more of my attention than necessary. Raz tried convincing me that part 3 is worthwhile, so I grabbed it, although I suspect it will be a chilly day in the Sixth Circle of Hell before I even dare attempt.

Slumber-Party-Massacre-1So yea, about the movie! I was actually really pleasantly surprised. I’m sure most of you know all about how it was written by feminist Rita Mae Brown as a parody of the slasher genre but it was picked up and played fairly straight. There are some wonderfully funny moments in this that aren’t hokey or forced-comic-relief like so many other cringe-worthy instances from lesser films. (the pizza-eating scene, to me, was amusing in the most charming of ways) I also found the behavior of the girls as well as the dialogue to ring true. That makes this movie infinitely more refreshing and enjoyable, particularly from a female perspective. Also, this is the only horror movie (from this era) that I can recall where almost the entire cast is female. Not just the main characters, but roles that would traditionally go to men such as the coach, the telephone repair-person, the rental property factotum, etc. they’re all played by women. How awesome is that?
Slumber-Party-Massacre-2Another thing that I really dug about this was that it centers on an escaped mental patient which is something I’ve personally been fearful of since I was a child. Who among us didn’t shiver at the sight of all those crazies in hospital gowns lumbering through the darkness in Halloween? Eek gads! I have to admit when you first catch a glimpse of this guy decked out in denim my initial excitement started to wane, but sure enough it came back! It held the tension and was remarkably full of red herrings even though we’re treated to the killer mere moments into the picture. Everyone is creepy and suspect, you’re on your toes the whole time wondering if it will pull some kinda crazy 180 and serve you up something wacky. How in the hell did I end up watching this 30 years too late?

And don’t worry; it still delivers the goods for those of us who like a little T with our A. I respected the fact that it let me peek behind the curtain on its own terms and not some ridiculously set up premise that only serves to make the women involved look like stupid sluts who care more about cock than their own safety. 
Slumber-Party-Massacre-10Where this flick shines is in the believable friendship between the girls, you get enough of their backgrounds to be invested in them and they’re all very down to earth and real, not hyper-sexualized or dumbed down to appear vulnerable. As I was watching this I kept thinking about how true to life it was; who says that slasher films can’t have heart?  It’s funny, witty, cute, suspenseful, silly, scary, mysterious; they even threw in some gory bits cause they know what packs asses in the seats. Any way you slice it, this movie wins.

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While much of the cast isn’t overly recognizable to genre fans there are certainly some exceptions. Brinke Stevens makes an appearance in one of her first credited roles as Linda (aka Victim #1). You may also recognize Debra De Liso from Stephen Sayadian’s Dr. Caligari. Unfortunately, the lovely, leggy and capable Val (Robin Stille who you will surely recognize from her lead in Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama) died far too young in 1996 at the age of 34.

If you have put off sitting down with this early 80s tongue-in-cheek slasher extravaganza I highly suggest you do yourself a favor and wait no more! To the sleazy pigs out there who haven’t made up their minds: I did say there are skimpy nighties, T&A and blood, right?
 
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating: 

 

 
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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