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John’s Horror Corner: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), a raunchy slasher written and directed by a woman as a parody, but delivered with too straight a face to take seriously.

March 9, 2022

MY CALL:  Ah, the female-crafted genre parody that never was. This film actually has an interesting history behind it. Such a shame the movie itself never got to reflect that. Weak off-screen kills, lots of nudity—it’s one of those.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Slumber Party MassacreFor more movies by filmmaking women in horror, consider Jennifer’s Body (2009), which was also written and directed by women… and with much more freedom and success!

So I told my girlfriend that I intended to watch and review Slumber Party Massacre this afternoon to which she responds: Slumber Party Massacre…? That sounds kind of… porny. Now she had never heard of this movie nor has she seen the very classy movie poster. The title was enough for her to instantly not take this movie seriously and assume it to be a way for teenagers to see boobs in the early 80s. So just how right was she? Well, she wasn’t wrong. Not two minutes into the movie and high schooler Trish (Michelle Michaels; Demon Rage, New Year’s Evil) is undressing to flash her delicates just before throwing away her old favorite stuffed animals and Barbie dolls along with her childhood innocence. So yeah, there’s that… and a lot of shower scene eye candy, out of place changing scenes, make-out scenes… all that.

The radio is blaring on about an escaped killer as Trish’s parents leave for the weekend. Trish is planning a slumber party with Valerie (Robin Stille; The Being, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama), Linda (Brinke Stevens; Xenophobia) and Diane (Gina Smika Hunter; The Sword and the Sorcerer). But before school is out for the day the killer is already making short work of some of the girls.

Our slasher has zero personality, story or mystique whatsoever. He’s just some regular-looking dude who wanders around in broad daylight in a jean jacket toting his not-at-all-phallic extra long power drill. He penetrates his female victims with his drill in haphazard, poorly shot attack and death scenes. We see way too much of our killer doing incredibly mundane things. It’s pretty boring.

Clearly not thinking much of typical horny, scantily-clad woman-slaying slasher tropes, female director Amy Holden Jones would move on to a moderately successful writing career (Indecent Proposal, Mystic Pizza, The Relic) after this lackluster parody-told-seriously movie was behind her. Originally it was intended and submitted as a parody. But I guess producers just weren’t ready for filmmaking women in horror with something to say. As a result, instead of a smart parody, we get a mediocre slasher. Moreover, this movie suffered big time in the budget department, as we see basically nothing happen on screen in terms of drill kills. So the death scenes suck. We should have gotten an early slasher parody. Instead we got a cheap breasty cash-grab with an impotent driller killer.

Despite practically nothing occurring on screen, some decent efforts are made to show after-the-fact drill wounds—the pizza delivery guy with the drilled eye sockets being my favorite. It doesn’t make up for the major shortcomings of this movie, but it makes moments more enjoyable. Only the final confrontation shows any gore worth seeing, and it’s too little too late to feel redeeming. So really, the only reason to recommend this movie is for the sake of its place in history (albeit not a shining moment) for filmmaking women in horror, and how a shallow greedy producer can spoil an otherwise great idea.

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