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"At a time when many horror films are without nudity its always refreshing to watch one filled with nuditorial aspects. This 1980's slasher flick did of course come out at the time of the Halloween series, Friday The 13th series etc. but I don't bash it as a rip-off or anything, I look at it as fun horror entertainment. When the flick opens we get cool music, and cool shots that lead to a house with a girl who gets nude for a moment, telling us we're watching the right movie. The radio tell us a maniac has escaped from a looney-bin, and is now out killing every bimbo and boy in town with a three-foot long drill. Giving him the name : The Driller-Killer! Of course there's a large body-count including the poor 'ol pizza dude! And one of the babes actually eats pizza while going threw the hell, to calm herself. Plenty of dead bodies, gore and breasts to please horror buffs like myself."
"You're not going to eat the dead guy's pizza?!"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I must be getting dense in my old age...why, you ask? Because, if you've seen this film, then you most likely picked up on the very phallic nature of the oversized drill the killer uses in Slumber Party Massacre (1982), something I didn't catch on to until near the end, during the sequence by the swimming pool, when one of the female characters went on the offensive and...well, again, if you've seen it, you know...if not, I don't want to give it away. My point is, looking back on it, the obviousness seems so, well...obvious. Oh well...originally written by acclaimed novelist, poet, feminist, orphan, humorist, nuclear activist, screenwriter, lesbian, and animal lover Rita Mae Brown (I don't know if her cat Sneaky Pie had anything to do with this), and directed by Amy Holden Jones (Maid to Order), the film stars Michelle Michaels (Death Wish 4: The Crackdown), the late Robin Stille (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama), and Michael Villella (Wild Orchid). Also appearing is Debra Deliso (Iced), Andree Honore, Gina Mari (Fire Down Below), Joseph Alan Johnson (Hollywood Hot Tubs), David Millbern (Bikini Summer), Pamela Roylance ("Little House on the Prairie"), and scream queen Brinke Stevens (Nightmare Sisters, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity), in one of her first credited roles.
As the film opens, we're enjoying a quiet, suburban morning on a quiet, suburban street, and the only one stirring is the paperboy on his rounds....hmmm, let's see the headlines...GOP Lifts Social Security Ax?! Oh wait...there seem to be another, something about an escaped mass murderer...anyway, we're now in a bedroom of a young woman (later we find out her name is Trish, played by Michaels). Trish rises from bed, removes her nightie (yowsa yowsa), and gets ready to leave for school (I would have guessed her a post graduate student, as she looks to be in her mid 20's, but apparently she's still in high school). It is around this time we find out Trish's parents are going to be gone for the weekend, and you know what that means...or maybe you don't, but that's okay because I'll tell you...it's party time! Now we're at school watching some women practicing basketball (seems white men aren't the only ones who can't dunk), which can only be leading to one thing, a shower scene! And sho `nuff, here comes some more T & A...not bad, not bad at all...although I have to say, the girls shower talk wasn't as titillating as I'd hoped...Trish spreads the word to her friends about a `girls' only slumber party, and even invites the new girl, Valerie (Stille), despite some of Trish' friends snobby objections (Val heard the snide remarks and declined). Fast forward into the early evening and a couple of victims later (the killer appear early, and often), the small group of girls gather at Trish's, and two school mates/jokesters named Jeff (Millbern) and Neil (Johnson) show up (on their cool, ten speed bicycles) to peep through a window and see the girlies change into their nighties...but they're not the only male presence lurking about...seems the killer, who's claimed a few victims so far, is skulking about somewhere...a point which becomes deathly apparent when the pizza delivery man shows up his eyeballs literally drilled from his head (lovely). Well, at least the pizza is free...
If I learned anything from this movie, it's that feminists probably shouldn't make slasher films...but, it should be known that Brown's original treatment got worked over pretty well, without her input. Apparently she had originally written the script as a parody, but then the producers decided to play it straight, which, in essence, caused it to come off even more like a parody than it probably would have had they stuck to Brown's original treatment. The acting isn't very good (the girls, who are all supposed to be high school students, looked a bit old), the script pretty awful, the characters exceptionally lame, the scene adequately films, but nearly always lacking in any kind of suspense...somewhere I saw stated the film had `lots of gore', which I didn't think was true. There was some, but it hardly qualified to me as `lots'. There was, however, a lot of supposed gore, in that we watch sequences leading up to what will most likely be a gory ending for a victim, but then the camera shifts away and we're left to fill in the rest using our imaginations, aided by the subsequent grisly sound effects (the sound effect of the drill being used on various individuals was actually quite good, in a wet and crunchy sort of way). Was the lack of real gore done for artistic reasons? I doubt it...probably more so because they didn't have the dough to follow these things all the way through, especially given the film was released by Roger Corman's New Concorde Pictures (Corman always embraced the essence of frugality in filmmaking). If you're a fan of the T & A, you will find some worthy scenes up front, but don't expect a whole lot more later on as the cornucopia of boobage dries up pretty quickly. The body count in this film runs fairly high (I counted 12 in all), and leads to a humorous aspect (intentional or not) of the killer running out of places to stack the corpses. I was kinda annoyed with the character of the killer, as he appears to be just your average, garden-variety, homicidal, psycho manic. If there was a particular motive for him attacking these girls, I missed it. Normally these films offer some sort of connection, often times completely stupid and from left field, but, at least its something...here there was nothing...well, I take that back, he did think they were pretty, and wanted to give them love (his interpretation of love is a lot different than mine), but still, it felt like a key element was missing. In defense of the director, Ms. Jones, this was her first film, as prior she was an editor for Corman, until gave her the directing reins. She has since moved on to better things, writing and directing films like Maid to Order (1987) and The Rich Man's Wife (1996).
The widescreen (1.85:1) picture on this DVD looks reasonably decent, but I did notice what appeared to be quite a bit of dust and dirt on the print, along with the effects of age (white specking, and such). Not a very clean print, but watchable...the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo came through pretty well, although it did seem some audio portions were softer than others. As far as special features, there's a trailer for this film, along with one for the sequel Slumber Party Massacre II (1987), and Sorority House Massacre (1987), but they curiously neglected to include one for Slumber Party Massacre III (1990). Also included are biographies for some of the cast, along with Corman himself...one thing that always irked me within these bios for Corman is how they make it appear like he actually discovered all the talent they say he has over the years...when you've produced some 400 to 500 films, you're bound to have hired people who have since gone on to bigger and better things. Now, certainly, I acknowledge Corman may have gave these individuals an opportunity and possibly their start in the business, but I doubt it was due to the fact that he thought they had talent and/or potential, but more so due to the fact they would work cheap...well, Corman never seemed one to shirk away from taking credit, whether he deserved it, or not...
Pay attention, this really is a "feminist" splatter flick
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 11/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first watched "The Slumber Party Massacre" on cable because I happened to catch that women both wrote (Rita Mae Brown) and directed (Amy Holden Jones). I am surprised that many reviewers criticize this 1982 splatter flick for not reflecting feminist sensibilities, but I have to say that my immediate reaction to the film was that it was different from the tradition being established by "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," and their host of immitators. Yes, early on in the film there is a shower scene and this provides a perfect opportunity to figure out which one of these young women is the "good girl" who is going to be alive at the end of the film. However, all those who enjoyed how "Scream" both honored and subverted the rules of this particular genre should appreciate that this film does the same thing. In fact, I am going to go way off on a sociological limb and argue that "The Slumber Party Massacre" is indeed a feminist splatter flick.We all know that the supposed sub-text of slasher films is that those who have unsafe sex are (literally) risking their lives. Laurie Strode remains the icon good girl, who survives in the original "Halloween" because she is a virgin and therefore not sneaking around with her boyfriend while a killer is in the house (forget for a minute the "Halloween II" revelation that Laurie and Michael Myers are siblings). Even though she is a straight-arrow of the group, she is part of the group. Here friends hold out hope for her getting a date (remember Ben Craemer?). Her girl friends die because they are preoccupied with sex.However, in "The Slumber Party Massacre" the good girl is much more than a virgin. Yes, Val Bates (Robin Stille) has the requisite purity to survive the coming massacre (she drinks too much milk, the others complain), but she is also the new girl in town and ostracized by the rest of the girls because she is a better basketball player than any of them. Consequently, the girls at the slumber party are guilty of turning their backs on the one person who could keep some of them alive by the end of the movie. I do not want to give away too much, even when talking about a predictable slasher flick like this one, but look at not only who is alive at the end of this film but why, and what they do to be the ones standing. Look at that and tell me that at least on same level there is not a message on the inherent strength of sisterhood somewhere at the side of that pool.As the title indicates the idea here is that a bunch of senior high girls are throwing a slumber part just like the ones they enjoyed when they were younger. The party is at the house of Trish (Michelle Michaels), whose parents are away. The house is right across the street from where Val is taking care of her kid sister, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers). To this mix we add two guys (David Millbern and Joseph Allen Johnson) who want to crash the party and play some tricks on the unsuspecting scantily clad girls, and an escaped mental patient, named Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), who has followed the girls home from practice and has a tool box. This particular toolbox is full of tools, but this guy really, really likes his power drill. Pointing out that this film has bad dialogue, lousy acting, gratuitous nudity, and most of the killing scenes are too dark to really see anything, seems well beside the point. Those are relatively standard fare in splatter flicks, especially in the decade of the 1980s. The point is that all things considered "The Slumber Party Massacre" is an above average slasher movie, which is not saying much until you remember how made the average slasher film was during the gory days of the genre. Besides that, I have to say that in the absence of a concrete idea of what truly "feminist" splatter flick would be like, there is a decidedly different "message" built into this film that does make it stand out from its contemporaries.There are two more films in this series as it heads quickly downhill. Some of the characters from this one pop up in "Slumber Party Massacre 2," although played by different actresses (such as Crystal Benard), but basically they are low-grade films that spend more time on the "Slumber Party" parts of the title than the "Massacre." "Cheerleader Massacre" is supposedly the fourth film in the series, but by that point the people making these movies have pretty much forgotten they are supposed to be splatter flick and are trafficking in softcore porn. Watch this one if you are so inclined and then move on to better things. They are hard to find when you are talking splatter flicks, but they are out there."
The Driller Killer...
firstname.lastname@example.org | Leominster, MA | 10/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Slumber Party Massacre is a silly movie, but it's supposed to be. The plot, as it stands, revolves around the escape of a maniac from a local mental institution who begins terrorizing members of a high school female basketball team. This one really tends to be a lot of fun, it's by no means a great horror movie, but it's all done in good humor with a female director and writer. What's really surprising is the amount of female nudity in this film. Although it's not terribly explicit, this IS an exploitation film-one needs to look no further than the gym shower scene to understand that. Slumber Party Massacre also manages to pile on some great gore effects and some genuinely funny moments (the bit with the pizza boy is hilarious). For the brisk run time of 77 minutes, this is a fully loaded exploitation fan's dream and a great 80's slasher. It won't win any awards, but have some friends over, gather around and have a blast, you won't regret owning this one!"
Sleazy slasher classic
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 10/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The early 1980s were a great time for the slasher film genre, as every hardcore horror fan knows, and one of the best of these efforts was a nasty little gem called "Slumber Party Massacre." Thanks to the wonders of DVD, we can revisit such gruesome shockers whenever we want to without trudging off to the local video store only to learn that they don't carry anything other than "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th." Remember those desperate days? I essentially quit watching horror films for several years because I couldn't find anything decent in town and was unwilling to spend thousands of dollars on out of print VHS tapes. Not anymore. Now I can plunk down a few dollars and walk away with Joe D'Amato's finest, peruse at my leisure any of Dario Argento's grotesque gialli, relive the awesome experience of watching that girl and her digestive tract in Lucio Fulci's "The City of the Living Dead" (widescreen with awesome sound no less), or systematically work my way through the prime years of the American slasher film. The latter category includes the juicy cut of warped depravity that is "Slumber Party Massacre," an all-American jaunt into the deepest recesses of a genre that rarely seeks to do anything beyond slice and dice its characters in imaginative ways.
What you have here is your standard "nutcase escapes the loony bin and goes on a rampage" horrorfest. Hardly original, I grant you, but in this case highly effective nonetheless. The Mark David Chapmanish fellow in "Slumber Party Massacre" turns out to be the bug eyed Russ Thorn (Michael Villela), just your everyday upstanding citizen who used a drill to dispatch a bunch of poor souls back in the day. Now he's on the loose and determined to start working again just as soon as he can find a new consignment of victims on which to ply his skills. We come into the film at a local high school, where a bunch of female basketball players plans to throw a slumber party that very night. Just in case you're not smart enough to know these are athletes, we see the hardworking gals putting in some serious time on the court with Coach Jana (Pamela Roylance) before hitting the showers. In the locker room we meet the most important character, the new girl in town Trish (Michele Michaels), and a few of the snobbier members of the team. Trish wants to go to the party but isn't sure she will fit in. Besides, she angered some of her fellow teammates by performing well on the court.
Meanwhile, Thorn is already claiming his first victims. He kills a blonde repairwoman right under the noses of a couple of dorky guys on the school grounds in a nicely executed scene before stalking Linda (Brinke Stevens) in the locker room after school. Or was it Linda first and the blonde second? No matter, really. The two crimes serve the purpose of establishing how utterly dangerous this chap is with tools. He picks up a twelve-inch drill along the way, which will act as his primary method of destroying the human race one woman at a time. Then comes the slumber party with all its adolescent antics. The girls giggle, cackle over their guy friends, and nearly get into trouble with the neighbor who drops in to check on them. Thorn turns up to take part in the fun, working his way through the nosy neighbor, turns the pizza delivery guy into a sieve, and wipes out several other minor characters. Trish pops into the picture for a variety of reasons. One, she lives right across the street from the slumber party. Two, her annoying Joanie Cunningham wearing hot shorts sister Courtney (Jennifer Meyers) encourages her to partake in the festivities. Three, the movie wouldn't work without a courageous heroine arriving to save the day. The conclusion turns into a real bloodbath, what with the discovery of all those bodies and the showdown between Thorn and Trish.
"Slumber Party Massacre" works so well for one simple reason: this is a movie that is all about atmosphere. After all, the gore really isn't spectacular, not comparable in anyway to what we've seen in gorier slashers like "The Prowler," or your typical Italian gorefest, or a number of other extreme films. And the acting, with a few exceptions, is corny and what you would expect from a low budget horror film. No, this movie succeeds because of darkened rooms, darker streets, pitch-black backyards, and the relentless, single minded stalk and slash methods of Russ Thorn. He's a truly frightening lunatic dedicated to the proposition that every living being within his reach should perish horribly at the end of a sharp instrument. Thorn remains silent for most of the picture, but provides one of the most humorous scenes in the film when he finally speaks and we find out he sounds a lot like Truman Capote with a bad head cold. After you stop laughing at this point, you realize "Slumber Party Massacre" wins the day. Even the picture transfer on the DVD, a rather grainy and dark transfer, lends a certain panache to the proceedings.
Extras. Filmographies for some of the actors, trailers for this film, "Slumber Party Massacre II," "Sorority House Massacre II," (which cribs footage from this movie!) and a widescreen picture transfer find there way onto the disc. I don't think we'll ever see all the slasher films of this era come out on DVD, but that shouldn't stop us from appreciating what we get. Watching films like this one leaves me nostalgic for the old days, before shot on video productions and cheesy CGI effects replaced good old fashioned hard work. Give this one a go soon. "