Monday, February 20, 2012

Slumber Party Massacre: Oh How Times Have Changed

Slumber Party Massacre holds the great honor of being one of the VHS covers at the video store that scared the living crap out of me.

Not only did it show a madman about to kill some girls with what I assumed at the time was a telephone wire but it also made me nervous about what slumber parties would be like when I got to high school. Somehow, the idea of spending the night with fellow girls clad in lacy and sexy bras and underwear, plus also maybe forming a pig pile of terror didn't appeal to me. I think I was still afraid of naked people (which is a fear I was relieved from after I started going to the gym last month) (Side note: I'm still afraid of older women who walk up to me naked and ask me if I'm using the lotion....eeeeeek).

Ultimately Slumber Party Massacre challenged my happy thoughts about sleepovers. Seeing this VHS cover back in the days of elementary and middle school, firmly made me question the importance of such future rituals. Basically if slumber parties in high school did not include falling asleep while leaving the N'Sync CD on repeat and chocolate milk in sippy cups--I wanted no part. If only I knew then what I know now, I would realize that Slumber Party Massacre is just a movie!

By the way, Slumber Party Massacre is exactly what it sounds like. A massacre at a slumber party! An escaped mad man is on the loose and he just happens to hit the jackpot by finagling his way into a house where a slumber party is happening. Bloodiness and boobies ensue.

Although made in 1982, the slumber party in Slumber Party Massacre is I'm assuming wildly different from anyone's idea of a slumber party that is not a 55 year old male living in their mother's basement. Then again, if Slumber Party Massacre tells us anything, it's that the world was vastly different in good old 1982. For instance, who knew that in 1982, Kool-aid wasn't sweet enough on it's own? Clearly it had to be made sweeter by pouring in a bag of pure sugar!

(Side note: IS that how you make Kool-aid? By adding the powder to water AND then mixing sugar in? Nobody tells me anything important anymore...hmmph!)

Due to this evidence I am drawing the conclusion that slumber parties in 1982 were exactly like they were Slumber Party Massacre and not only that but LIFE is exactly the same as well.

This means that towels at the high school were about half the size they are now.

And the showers resemble prison showers. Also, the high school is probably an old abandoned prison that does not get money fed to it by taxpayers based on the fact that all the walls are decorated in gang graffiti unable to be removed. I guess going to high school in 1982 was not a very fun time--which is why girls needed to have slumber parties.

I'll be honest with you. There's something I find incredibly endearing about Slumber Party Massacre. I think it's because I expected it to be a worthless piece of garbage with tons of boobs and a tiny bit of blood. But no, Slumber Party Massacre is actually a fun piece of garbage with tons of boobs and a fair amount of blood. I was way off!

I was actually surprised at how brutal much of the film is. There isn't a whole lot of lolly gagging throughout this. Sure there are cats jumping out of closets but there are also some fairly sad and unnerving death scenes. Take for instance the early on kill of a telephone repair woman. Our dopey male character hits on the woman who smiles to herself as they walk away. Then she is unceremoniously pulled into her OWN telephone repair van and we see her flailing arms and hopeless poundings on the window, trying to alert the clueless boys now walking away.

It's one of those scenes that would definitely have scarred me for life, had I seen it when I was younger.

Also, the man man's weapon of choice--a cork screw drill is unexpected and very bad ass. Plus it's loud which makes his ability to kill people in the garage without causing alarm very impressive. Although we never get to see actual blood and guts due to the corkscrew drill, we do often get to see the aftermath which is in many ways something that I prefer.

For some reason it's something that affects me more than blood and guts all up in your face. Maybe because it lessen the silly entertainment factor that many people receive from watching blood and guts all up in their face?

Fun fact! Slumber Party Massacre was written and directed by women! I had to go back and edit a bit of this review because originally I was all like pffft yeah whose fantasy of a slumber party is this---MALE FILMMAKERS. Whoops. Upon further reflection though, if this was made by men I have a feeling the slumber party would include some experimental lesbian sex, booby grabbing and silly talk about the male anatomy that no girl would ever actually say. Then again...I'm still confused about the edition of a Playgirl magazine being used as some form of tantalizing print material. I'm pretty sure Playgirl ultimately failed as magazine because no one wants to look at some guys junk. Or maybe I'm alone because secretly, I still fear naked people!

Anyways, Slumber Party Massacre surprised me in more than one way. It showed restraint while still being a tad bit unnerving. It created seemingly likable female characters and threw in creepy next door neighbors to boot. It's entertaining for what it is, and it's a refreshing take on the slasher genre that doesn't leave me with feelings of bitterness and hostility (COUGH Friday the 13th). Hooray!


The Scream Queen said...

I just reviewed this as well -- what a wonderful surprise to find it randomly available on Netflix instant.

And, yes, when you use the Kool Aid packets, you have to add sugar. You also used to be able to buy the little canister mixes with sugar already in them ;)

Andre Dumas said...

You're right, the canisters! That's how I've always seen it made so this had me all thrown off!

Spooky Sean said...

Dude, watch Slumber Party Massacre 2, I've heard it's a musical, and the drill is added to a guitar.
I've never watched either, but I might now.
I did always assume a movie with a title like Slumber Party Massacre would be written by men, and include some ridiculous, "whip cream fight, oh no, now I have to take my top off!," moments.

deadlydolls said...

I really love this film. I believe the whole trilogy was made by female filmmakers, which is just neato. If you don't own the triple pack, I HIGHLY recommend it. All the films have commentary tracks and include some features with the actors today.

Bracer said...

Heh -- actually, it's more surprising there wasn't some experimental lesbian sex; the screenwriter was Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle and Martina Navratilova's significant other for most of the 70s. This was originally supposed to be a feminist spoof of slasher movies (drill = phallic symbolism, geddit?), but New World didn't care for the result and recut it into a more straight-up example (that's the story Brown tells anyway). The first sequel is kind of a hoot in its own way as well. (I never saw the third one -- hmmm...)