Junkfood Horror: Killer Party
Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; arson is only acceptable against houses that give out pennies on Halloween. We have emerged from our coffins yet again to bring you the dankest, dingiest, most malodorous horror films we can scrape from our blood-stained basements. We will cut into the flesh of these films with sharp lampoon and serrated mockery, spilling all of their faults onto the ground with a satisfying splash. But then we will take that hollow corpse, stuff it full of love and whatever legitimate praise we can muster, and raise it high upon a post in the middle of our cinematic cornfield to scare away even worse films. Then, as we all sit in a circle around it reciting our hymns to the great Cthulu, I will pass around a tray of snacks themed to the film to help ensure your gut grows to the size of The Great Pumpkin himself.
This Week’s Cauldron Offering: Killer Party
The basic story here, and I only say “story” because they’ve yet to come up with a word for the result of highlighting every fifth word in the newspaper and then filming it, is that years ago on a sleepy college campus an April Fool’s Day prank ended with the death of a young fraternity brother. Years later – after the world had, after much doubt, decided it could in fact continue spinning with one less frat boy in it – the now vacant frat house where the accident occurred is designated as the spot for this year’s collegiate bash. The film follows three fresh pledges who have just gotten into the most exclusive sorority on campus and must work the party as part of their initiation. Too bad no one bothered to tell them someone was planning to drop a big, stinky murder bomb right in the middle of the proceedings.
What Makes It Bad?
Some films start with a bang, others take their time and slowly acclimate the audience to the world of the film through subtlety and nuance. The filmmakers here opted to be so subtle in acclimating the audience to Killer Party, that they actually start two entirely different movies before they even get to this one. This film opens with a meta bonanza as first we are introduced to a horror film involving a vengeful corpse…which is then being watched by a pair of young lovers at a haunted drive-in…which turns out to be a music video being watched by one of the characters in Killer Party (I’m repeating the title in case you had forgotten as we traversed the many planes of existence at play here; none of which are particularly worthwhile). We are talking about a movie within a music video within another movie. Uncross your eyes, you look as ridiculous as the screenwriters for Killer Party.
Many of the tropes of bad 80s horror are alive and well in (and to a certain extent invented by) Killer Party. A group of college girls, who are supposedly cute but all look like your mom, have their hearts set on joining the most popular sorority on campus; clearly not limiting their dreams and truly shooting-for-the-moon-top-of-a-Pontiac-Fiero. The girls who are already members of I Whana Di are exactly like every college sorority girl you’ve ever seen: thirty years old and harboring lesbian tendencies. The afternoon communal, nude dip in the hot tub is weird enough, but the fact that their house mother is casually floating around the whole time creeps into a whole separate talk show topic I don’t want to explore. We also have the dorky boy characters who are constantly mistaking “harmless pranks” with “assaults bordering on attempted murder.” Yes, it’s adorable (read: near felonious) that you want to snap pictures of the hot sorority girls naked, but lobbing an entire nest of bees into their backyard to do it is…somewhat ill-advised. It’s like watching Revenge of the Nerds as directed by Ted Bundy.
Speaking of psychotic, let’s talk about the hazing ceremony these girls must endure. The leadership of the sorority have more nasty tricks for torturing their pledges than George Lucas has ways to ruin Star Wars. They call their fledgling sisters “goats” and if they were any more obsessed with that particular animal, the ceremony would have ended with one of the pledges impregnated with Satan’s unholy hellspawn. But in the midst of all this, one of the pledges, Vivia (which is in fact a name and not an over-the-counter asthma medication) decides to pull an elaborate prank involving moving tables, in-house explosions, a perfect plastic likeness of her own head, and a working guillotine (like you do). Wait, what? So who’s actually being hazed here? To haze the hazer in the middle of your own hazing is textbook haze entrapment, which will cost you $500 in fines…or 15 yards and a loss of down, I can’t remember. The irritating thing is that this is merely the start of Princess SillyName’s long string of practical jokes that completely delude most of the horror from that point forward because almost all of it turns out to be her pranking people. In other words, for a majority of the film, the scariest thing present is this ratty little goofball who looks as if Joanne Fabrics stuck two fingers down its throat and temporarily alleviated its body dimorphic disorder all over her.
Killer Party so fleetingly establishes changes in its temporal setting that it borders on time travel. The film begins on the eve of “Goat Night” which is clearly in the fall from the preponderance of dead leaves on the ground. But the day after Goat Night, the president of the Sic Lil Shrus (if it isn’t obvious by now, I can’t remember what the sorority was actually called) tells Vivia St. MaleEnhancementDrug that she is to perform the same prank she executed during her initiation during their April Fool’s Night party the following spring. This scene ends with a smash cut to that same sorority president walking into a meeting on what seems like the next day. But then the very next night is the April Fool’s Night masquerade? Unless this sorority is called Alpha Zeta McFly, that doesn’t seem to gel. But, if you rewind the film and freeze frame right as she goes in the meeting, because you have that much time in your life, you’ll see a blurry sign that reads “Greek Letter Society Council Meeting, March 15, 9:30 A.M.” Apparently that’s all the more we need to be made aware that six months have passed. For all we know, some overzealous, forward-thinking Greek Society page posted that sign to denote a meeting occurring half-a-year in the future. The point is, if you had sneezed – or wiped away the shame crumbs from your once-full bag of Mallomars – at that precise moment, you would believe this to be the University of Quantum Leap.
Why I Love It!
About fifteen minutes before the end, Killer Party really kicks it into high gear…is not a sentence I should have to write. But it does in fact adopt this bold pacing strategy and just before the credits roll, the film turns a sinister corner toward, get this, watchability. That’s when the spirit of the too-soon-departed frat brother – you know, merely the trivial antagonist of the film – shows up and begins killing. But in fact, he only shows up because he’s possessed the body of poor…what’s her name…Mom Hair#3. Disguised in a diving bell getup, apparently so she can kill those fornicating teens at the bottom of the fish tank, she dispatches a few schlubs in fair to middling ways, and then reveals herself to her friends. At this point, Killer Party becomes a weird Night of the Demons clone…two years before Night of the Demons! The effects and sound design here are actually pretty impressive as they make her look as if she is crawling across the ceiling and sound as if…she just found out she was contractually obligated to do Killer Party 2. To her credit, the actress playing the possessed monster is throwing herself headlong into the role and really selling it…as much as any emotionally unstable sorority girl can sell crazy.
Call me crazy, and I’ll eat the faces of your first cousins. But I do indeed enjoy the unrestrained idiocy of Killer Party. The lines of dialogue seem presciently stolen from drunken Facebook status updates nearly two decades before that intellectual garbage shoot was created. Killer Party doesn’t just look down its nose at dorks, it feels more comfortable assigning them to the same category as sexual predators; marching their dignity from house to house and informing all the neighbors of their odiousness. The dorks literally spend an entire scene crawling around a dance floor looking at girls’ asses because they can’t think of anything to say to them. Apparently for men there is no happy medium between James Bond and Amber Alert. I also enjoy that the twerpy nerd in the group ends up getting the girl…even if it is Vivia VonFashionDisaster.
The ending of Killer Party is flat-out awesome. The demon is transferred from Female Trainwreck #1 to Female Trainwreck #2 just before the cops arrive. They swoop in to save non-possessed Vivia Antihistamine and, assuming the other girl standing there is also a surviving victim, whisk her away as well. But they end up in the same ambulance, which despite being as ironic as a black fly in your dark-colored insect collection, is actually an amusingly dark note on which to end this campy college slasher. But the best part, and believe me when I say you should be dubious when I use the word best, is the song that plays over the credits. It’s one thing to cut budgetary corners by not getting a big-name singer to record your theme song, but it’s something far more ingenious and/or irresponsible to get your cast of dooftard girls drunk, take them to a karaoke bar, and record whatever song they make up when they can’t remember the lyrics to the Who’s The Boss theme. These are indeed the best times of our lives girls, what with all the blood and death and killer parties.
Junkfood Pairing: Gorditas
A certain taco-vending establishment denoted by a sonorous ringing device, who have repeatedly asked me not to mention their name and suggest any sort of association with this column, is to thank for this week’s snack. Taco Bell’s original Gordita seems the perfect junkfood pairing for Killer Party. As the opening of Killer Party is a movie within a music video within another movie, please enjoy this taco within a layer of nacho cheese within another taco all wrapped in a heart attack and deep fried in a you really need a girlfriend.