Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Eternal Slumber: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
starring: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille and Michael Villella
The Slumber Party Massacre was one title I had very little interest on when I was re-oriented to slasher films a few years back. The title alone felt like a cheap little number with nubile teenage girls yaking their big 80s hair off about boys, being popular and stuff, only to end up in pieces at the hand of a psycho.
That was until I've read an article concerning this film being written by a feminist Rita Mae Brown, and directed by Amy Holden Jones, as an attempt to parody the female-hating ways of the 80s hack-n-slash. The result? Far from the point. In fact, it's sleazier and crazier than what was done before. Seeing how much trouble this title alone went through, I gave it a shot and ended up liking it more than what I expected!
Early morning in the good little town somewhere in US of A, a paper boy does his usual route tossing papers, which reads a mass killer by the name of Russ Thorn breaking out from an institute and is now hightailing his way back to his hometown, which is right where one ’Eighteen year old Trish Devereaux lives. On that day, too, Trish bid her parents goodbye as they left for a vacation, leaving her alone and in the watchful eyes of her neighbors. (Much to her dismay)
But thinking she'll do fine on her own, Trish plans a slumber party and invited her friends Diane, Jackie and Kimberly to enjoy an irresponsible evening with various boys gatecrashing, all the while new girl Valerie from across the street looks after her younger sister, Playboy-reading "It crowd"-wannabe Courtney, who in turn wanted to join Trish's party.
It's all fine and dandy until Trish and the girls found their pizza man with his peepers drilled out. Yes, Russ Thorn was behind this and now he's breaking in to finish off every single peeps in that party. When Courtney finally decided to crash the party as well, Valerie has no choice but to get involved and stop the killer herself before he adds her sister to his drilling list.
If there's one thing I'll admit to this uneven scripting of a mess (probably due to the hefty changes of its tone) is that it's clever; the plot roads easily on its own, relying very little on any clever twists or gimmicks. SPM just gave it all on its own as a basic narrative and yet passes it off quite nicely with one-liners, morbid humor and some pretty cool kills. Filler moments had its shares of false scares as well as general build-ups that had all the female characters interact with.
Staying true to the title, SPM had also strands away from the intended feminist tone with close-up T&As, from soap-soaked to smooth and dry, thanks to this film's awesome camera work. But, in turn, the male characters were all stereotypical sex-hungry jocks or nerds (or somewhere in between), lacking much focus on their part and hardly developed via plot, a clever out-look on the slasher cliches that's just as workable as contextual look into the killer's weapon of choice, which was everything but phallic.
I know we always have long hard weapons as means of finishing life in slasher flicks; Jason has his machete, Leatherface and his chainsaw, Michael and his kitchen knife. The killer's weapon of choice, which is a powerdrill, was given more than a nod on its libido subtext with shots including the drillbit dangling between his legs and, curiously, when he lost his drill to a machete, he went all out ape on them as if they get rid of something very dear to him. Symbolically castrated perhaps? Maybe. After all, he is an Average Joe killer and what he lacked in man-of-steel traits of Michael, Jason or, at some context, Leatherface, or in supernatural magick like Freddy, he made it up with his powerdrill.
The kills, while starting off cheap and easy (blood splashes and offscreens), escalates along the tension and gores up better after each slaying. Some were darkly comic especially the one with the eyeless pizza boy, while other are decently cool like that poor old-timer and a drill bit through his neck. I can't help but note that the bodycount was far from misogynistic as well since the male and female death ratio are enarly even and the survival count among the gals were high (or higher than usual).
Slumber Party Massacre, whether as a straight slasher or a horror flick for gals, is a recommendable 77 minute of pure and standard slash-o-rama that anyone looking for an easy slice of horror entertainment can surely like. Even with it's uneven scripting, it had more punch and gut compared to some of its kin, and one of the most gratuitous nude scenes you’ll ever see!
1 female powerdrilled on the head
1 Female powerdrilled (mostly offscreen)
1 Male had a drill ran through his neck
1 Male found beheaded
1 Female killed with powerdrill (offscreen)
1 Male found with his eyes drilled out
1 Male killed with powerdrill (mostly offscreen)
1 Male stabbed to death with knife
1 Female had her throat cut with powerdrill
1 Female knifed on the gut
1 Female had her gut slashed open with powerdrill
1 Male hacked and stabbed with machete