Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Movie Review: "The Slumber Party Masacre" (1982)

Director: Amy Holden Jones
Year: 1982
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes

An escaped psychopath goes on a killing spree at a slumber party being held by a bunch of high school teenagers.

The Slumber Party Massacre 1982 movie still where Michelle Michaels, Debra de Liso, Andree Honore, and Robin Stille stand around in a kitchen
"I don't like people I have to get to know." (Image Source)
Hot dogs, lollipops, and a big, long, fat drill. "The Slumber Party Massacre" is the directorial debut of Amy Holden Jones, who would go on to direct films like "Love Letters" and "Maid to Order." It also serves as the writing debut for Rita Mae Brown, who would go on to work on television shows like "Tales from the Crypt" and the jarringly juxtaposed "The Wonderful World of Disney." When Trish's (Michelle Michaels) parents go out of town, she decides to invite some of the members of her high school girl's basketball team over for a slumber party. Unfortunately, earlier that day, a murderous psychopath escaped from a local mental institution and is ready to continue his killing spree. A high school slumber party seems the ideal place for him to rack up his body count.
Russ Thorn, an escaped mass murderer, taunts his latest victim in The Slumber Party Massacre
"Shut up and drink your Kool-Aid." (Image Source)
As is the case with most horror movies, slashers frequently have underlying social commentaries about trying to ward off youngsters from having sex and doing drugs because they are risky endeavors. When we were done watching "The Slumber Party Massacre," we had to ask ourselves, what was Amy Holden Jones trying to say here? The film boasts some not-so-subtle phallic imagery when it comes to the murderer's weapon of choice. It's clear that the killer is compensating for something by wielding a two-foot-long power drill, meaning he can figuratively screw his victims. This film offers up an interesting contrast where the women are concerned, boasting a mix of hyper-sexualized displays of nudity while at the same time including several female characters who have their own agency. Some of these women are athletes, some are authority figures, and others are handywomen. While they are often victims, they are also usually the heroes. The male characters, on the other hand, are mainly portrayed as horny little predators incapable of almost any function other than leering at women and getting beaten up and/or killed. We appreciate this kind of variety in horror movies, we just wish it had been utilized in a better film. When it comes to how effectively "The Slumber Party Massacre" uses the horror genre to its advantage, it doesn't. There is very little tension and hardly any atmosphere. The first two-thirds of the film consist of a steady stream of fake-outs and ineffective jump scares that left us audibly exclaiming, "gee, wonder if this is going to be a fake-out!" There is the occasional bit of gore, but even the bloodshed is tame when compared to other films in the same genre. The only thing it has going for it is for some dark comedy that sometimes hits is the mark.
Movie scene in the horror film The Slumber Party Massacre where three girls wield knives and try to fend off an attacker
"You know the girls love to scream." (Image Source)
It seems like we've have heard nothing but good things about "The Slumber Party Massacre" over the years, so we were disappointed when there was almost nothing worthwhile about it for us. Skip this one.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
RT Rating: 40%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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