Sunday, August 22, 2010

Slumber Party Massacre

Reviewed by: R. K. Hook
***(out of 4 stars)

Slumber Party Massacre was intended to be a parody of the pethora of slasher films that came out in the 80's. However, the producers had a change of heart and intentionally wanted to shoot this as a serious, genre piece. It has been said that this was one of the reasons for the underlining humor thoughout the film. I, however, have enjoyed this film since first viewing it back when I was a wee little one.
The film's plot is simple enough. The local girls basketball team is throwing a slumber party for "old times sake". Little do they know, Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), an escape mental patient is looking for a good time too. He's murdered before and tonight his target is the scantily-clad, beautiful high school party animals. When Russ shows up weilding his drill, the girls fall victim one by one in the ordinary formula of the slasher film. Trish (Michelle Michaels), and the rest of her friends must fight to stay alive.

If you're looking for a bit of T&A you've popped in the right film. The cast consists of some of the more beautiful women in any slasher film of the 80's. The late Robin Stille is my favorite and is absolutely gorgeous. She does an adequate job playing Valerie, the coy teenage girl next door.

Screenwriter and feminist author, Rita Mae Brown, penned this classic and depicts the men as whiney wimps that get slaughtered easily; without contest. The two boys, Jeff (David Millbern) and Neil (Joseph Alan Johnson) are portrayed as the two horny teenagers spying on the women in their meager hopes of scoring. The two are picked off rather quick and effortlessly by Russ Thorn. Now, I'm certainly not one of these guys who believes that women are portrayed as the lesser sex in these films, because in any horror film most of the time, the woman lives to tell the story. I think in slasher films, both men and women are put in situations that try to heighten the plot. When a women is scene running up the stairs and not out the door, I'm just thinking that we are being set up for something else. I don't necessarily look at it as making anyone look stupid. It's a horror movie. Somebody has to die, right? Why not pile the bodies to the sky? Regardless of what they got under their pants.

In one scene we see Russ Thorn standing over a would be victim with the drill in between his legs. Wonder what that could stand for? And with Russ saying lines like, "I do this for love," and "You know you want it." It's hard not to notice the underlined message. Men are evil pigs. Yeah, I get it.

Trish, Valerie and Valerie's younger sister, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers) gang up on Russ in the film's climax. After chopping his hand off, and castrating his drill, the killer is less effective and proves to be just another hack without his weapon. Russ meets his demise by the young, beautiful scarlets and girl power prevails. Chalk another one up for the women. And even if they are battered and bruised - they still look pretty damn good and can kick some ass.

If you've gone through life, without seeing this film, you shouldn't worry. But if you're a slasher fan, or just a plain old horror fan, I'm not sure how this one slipped under your radar. Keep an open mind and enjoy this flick. It's growing in cult status and should be viewed by any fans of the genre.

You've got my opinion, now check it out.

A new edition of SPM and its two sequels will be coming out this October in one box set. Special features include, cast interviews, "Making Of" featurettes and a lengthy documentary on all three films. Can't wait for that release.

Directed by: Amy Jones

Screenplay: Rita Mae Brown

Cast: Michelle Michaels, Michael Villella, Robin Stille.

Released: 1982

Running time: 77 mins.

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