Slumber Party Massacre, The (1982)

Slumber Party Massacre, The (1982)

“You know how girls love to scream.”

A teenager (Michele Michaels) whose parents have gone away for the weekend and asked their next-door neighbor (Ryan Kennedy) to keep an eye on her invites a group of friends (Debra Deliso, Andree Honore, and Gina Mari) over for a party, and they’re soon joined by two male onlookers (Joe Johnson and David Millbern). Meanwhile, Michaels’ beautiful new classmate (Robin Stille) stays home babysitting her annoying little sister (Jennifer Meyers). Can the teens all stay safe from a power-drill-wielding serial killer (Michael Villela) on the loose in their neighborhood?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Horror Films
  • Serial Killers

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this “slice-and-dice” slasher flick “has received attention because it was produced and directed by a woman, Amy Jones, and scripted by radical feminist Rita Mae Brown” — but “as hard as one looks, it’s impossible to find a satirical-political-feminist theme that would explain why Jones or Brown would be associated with this entry” in the genre. Indeed, Jones and Brown “follow all conventions relating to female nudity, horny teens, too many false alarms, painful death, [and] buckets of blood,” leading Peary to wonder, “Were they just trying to prove that they could make as tough and obscenely violent a film as young male directors, or that they could make a bloody, sexy exploitation film that would rack in the same amounts of money as the male-directed Halloween rip-offs have?” (If so, they succeeded; this film earned quite a bit at the box office and spawned several sequels.) However, as Peary points out (rather harshly):

“… this film is trash. Every character is stupid beyond belief. There are numerous ways in which the girls could get out of their predicament, but they haven’t even the intelligence to lean out a window of the two-story house to yell for help. Instead, the dense girls wait around to be murdered one by one. It is infuriating and frustrating how they are set up for slaughter.”

While I’m not at all a fan of slasher flicks, I think Peary is missing the boat a bit: viewers of this type of movie don’t tend to spend much energy worrying about logic or characters’ intelligence (and Brown originally wrote it as a parody, which makes sense).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric cinematography

Must See?
No; this one is only for horror fanatics.


2 thoughts on “Slumber Party Massacre, The (1982)

  1. Not must-see.

    Intended indeed as a parody by lesbian writer Brown, but director Jones took a straightforward approach (against Brown’s wishes) to give us something more along the lines of a standard slasher. Sometimes Brown’s original intent comes through (i.e., the refrigerator discovery of the body, which wants to slip out; the decision to eat the delivery pizza – with the box on top of the dead delivery boy) and it’s possible to see how the film could have been ‘funnier’ with more of a comedic tone. But that’s not how Jones directed her cast of unknowns. She does mostly allow everyone some degree of depth – even when they’re doing something stupid.

    Overall, the film clings to basics: a combination of grisly (if toned down) murders and an abundance of yawn-worthy false scares. At 76 minutes, time is also used economically (you wouldn’t have wanted this to be stretched to even 90 minutes) but in terms of narrative surprises… there really aren’t any.

    A dual-plus for the film: it’s surprisingly well-shot on a low-budget and the editing is often clever and effective.

  2. ⭐️⭐️1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Amusing, entertaining but certainly not must see by any stretch.

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