Wicked Wednesday: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)


There are some movies that really don’t deserve their hype. And well, I don’t think The Slumber Party Massacre is by any means a “hyped film” but I think the title alone promises plenty.

When I was just a wee one and just getting into horror films, I had a friend of mine tell me about The Slumber Party Massacre. He was all wide-eyed and amazed at what he had seen, I could only envy him (it wasn’t exactly the type of movie my parents would have let me rent at 12). For years it was built up in my mind, and well, once I had a chance to view it for myself, I was left underwhelmed.

But I’ve seen this film a number of times now. And I’ve learned to revel in the little nuggets of weirdness it has to offer. While much of it is really standard, the wackiness of it is actually pretty damn funny.

The Slumber Party Massacre is (somewhat shockingly) both directed and written by women. The film was originally meant to be a parody of the slasher genre, but ends up being more of the same. Writer Rita Mae Brown wrote the original script with a feminist slant, but it was taken out in production.

But remnants of the parody have remained. Especially at the film’s ending where it all goes a bit bonkers pretty quick.

Director Amy Holden Jones, who co-penned Mystic Pizza and worked with names like Joe Dante and Roger Corman, actually turned down a job working on some little film called E.T. Incidentally, this was the film my husband and I watched for Valentine’s Day. Sorry, but one of these movies is better than the other.

The film also stars a number of ladies from Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama (which is one of the best slasher films entirely shot without a single light). And yet, this film is actually pretty unremarkable – it certainly doesn’t have a jive-talking imp.

Trish is a normal high school 18-year-old. When her parents leave town for a trip, she plans a slumber party with a few of her friends. The kids at Trish’s school blissfully ignore radio reports that an escaped killer is on the loose. Probably to the detriment of the phone lady and one of Trish’s friends, who are both killed off straight away.

The killer is a problem straight off the bat. For one, it’s the Driller Killer. Two, you see him straight away. I mean, we know it’s an escaped so and so. But even Michael had the subtlety to hide behind a few shrubs.

Trish preps for her party when she’s freaked out by the local neighbour man. He’s a creep, but he’s inconsequential and gets killed off. Trish’s other neighbours are a pair of sisters, Valerie and Courtney. Val was invited to Trish’s party, but declined to stay home with her sister (I think, this isn’t explained, so I’ll also mark this one in the “inconsequential” column).

But while the killings proceed, Trish’s guests arrive and they get down to the usual slumber party shenanigans: anchovy pizza, a six-pack of beer and changing in front of windows so boys can perve in front of you. While two of the local boys succeed in pranking them, the girls have a rather normal night – until their pizza arrives and it’s delivered by a man with his eyes drilled out.

Oh and they didn’t notice that their friend has been gone for ages with her boyfriend, whose head was drilled off.

After realising that they’re all getting killed off, they try and get help from Val, who can’t hear them over her horror film. She doesn’t leave to check out what’s going on until Courtney goes missing. Her dumb-ass little sister spent most of the night belittling her for not going to the party.

The sisters sort of mosey around Trish’s house when no one answers the door. They don’t recognise signs like “HEY! Look at all the blood on the doorstep!” but at least they pick up on it when one of the girls’ bodies falls out of the fridge.

Though you do have to appreciate a killer who takes the time to clear out an entire fridge AND its shelves so he can stuff a body in it so it can be used for a great slapstick joke later.

But this is around the time things get really wacky. A random clap of thunder sounds, though a storm never arrives. The girls’ basketball coach comes to save them and tries beating the killer with a fire poker. Dumbass Val hides in the cellar and thinks she can go upstairs with a electric circular saw.

The killer’s drill bit gets sliced off while fighting a girl (ha ha?) and THEN he loses a hand! The Slumber Party Massacre goes from average to gloriously bizarre so fast, it’s almost impossible to understand what’s happened. But this is also the bit with the most feminist message. While the killer doesn’t have any sort of backstory, he does say to the girls, “All of you are really pretty. I love you … You know you want it!”

Oh boy. Can’t every woman relate to that shit.

This is actually one film I’d like to see remade. There are several sequels to the film, but neither are really anything much more than the first (though the entire series is completely filmed and written by all women). No one likes original ideas much anymore, so how much fun would it be to actually put the feminism back into this and really give it some balls vagina.

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