If there’s a horror trilogy that doesn’t get enough love, it’s Sleepaway Camp. Wait, actually no, there are four of those now. Okay, so if there’s a horror trilogy that doesn’t get enough love, it’s Slumber Party Massacre. Now, these Roger Corman produced films aren’t necessarily great, but they hit all the notes a good slasher film should hit. There’s a great deal of nudity, a good bit of gore, and a peculiar weapon- in this instance, a three-foot long drill.
The first installment follows a group of high school girls having a, you guessed it, slumber party, which is rudely interrupted by an escaped psycho killer and his drill. You can guess where it goes from there – the bad guy tries to stick his very phallic weapon into the women. The women don’t want it. Tough.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the kills in a movie, but thankfully in this one the killer himself informs us at the midpoint of the film that he’s killed six people. By the time we get to the end, a total of twelve people have been murdered. A few of the kills are predominantly off-screen though, so that’s kind of weak.
The driller killer does as driller killers do and jabs the drill into a lot of people. Drills to the face, the stomach, the throat. Someone gets their throat torn out by the drill and another girl gets her belly torn open. Some eyes are drilled out, a head is cut off, and there are a couple of traditional knife stabbings. The gore is mostly mild, though at the end we get a chopped off hand and a torn open belly which is really well done.
Slumber Party Massacre delivers. There are some boobs pretty close to the opening and we’re treated to an early shower scene that features quite possibly the most gratuitous butt shot in the history of cinema. We’re talking a no-reason slow pan down from the shoulders straight to a nude female butt. In that same shower scene we see at least three other asses and at least four different sets of tits. Later we get more boobs, some sleep wear, and a nipple close up.
Pretty standard slasher lessons to be learned, namely don’t go anywhere alone, don’t open the door, and when you think the guy is dead stab the fuck out of him some more.
Slumber Party Massacre is a fun one. Whether you’re talking about the ridiculous choice of a portable, apparently gasoline powered drill as a weapon, the group shower scenes, or the “just a regular dude in too much denim” serial killer, this is one film that waves the slasher standard proudly.
While at times the movie slows a little bit, for the most part the film doesn’t waste a lot of time in getting to either nudity or people having a giant drill bit shoved into their bodies. Try as you might, you’ll probably never find a more phallic based slasher. The killer professes his love for his victims and no fewer than six shots involve Russ Thorn (the bad guy) holding the drill about crotch level, before thrusting it into some unlucky lady.
SPM has been recently released on DVD by Shout! Factory as part of the entire Slumber Party collection that also includes the two entertaining sequels. One the first disc for SPM, there are some extras, most notably a “revisiting” of the movies that features interviews with cast and crew. Here is where I have issue with the project. Not with the actual movie.
I enjoy the movie. It’s fun. It’s not overly deep, or at least it doesn’t come off that way. It covers all the bases that we want to see, from kills to gore to boobs. What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. Unless you’re one of the actresses or director Amy Holden Jones. If you watch the extras, you’d think that making this movie was like some descent into a misogynist hell. Actress Debra Deliso talks about doing penance for years after the project for her nudity scenes while director Jones sounds dejected and defeated over the shower scene and the nudity. And you know, not to be a dick about it, but for both of these ladies, Slumber Party Massacre is the best thing on their resumes and probably paid for their cars. Well, actually, Amy Jones went on to make that feminist tome of excellence Beethoven.
As an avid horror fan, it bothers me a little bit to see people take shots at the genre and it’s conventions, especially when it gave you (and thousands of others) their big breaks. That aside, Slumber Party Massacre hits all the right notes for horror fans and while it doesn’t break the mold, or even nail it perfectly, it’s still a good enough movie to spend 90 minutes with. Plus, when it’s paired with the two sequels, it’s definitely worth a purchase.