If you were to tell me, at fifteen, that a group of girls acted differently from the ones in the Slumber Party Massacre trilogy, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you told me that same thing now, I still wouldn’t believe you. These films have left an imprint on my brain that petty things like knowledge and realism can’t wipe away. Girls, by themselves, call each other “creep” a lot, only wear t-shirts and panties and talk about sex constantly. I accept no substitutes to this fantasy.
But I digress.
1982 was a good year for slasher films. You had Alone In The Dark, Friday the 13th Part 3, Humongous, plus one of the greatest sci-fi/The Thing. But my favorite horror film of 1982, with the exception of The Thing, is a film called The Slumber Party Massacre, produced by Roger Corman and featuring Russ Thorne, the jean-jacket wearing psychopath who kills a good percentage of a high school girl’s basketball team with a large drill. It’s definitely as awesome as it sounds.films of all time, John Carpenter’s
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… your it bitch!
This film was written by Rita Mae Brown, author and feminist, as a parody of slasher films, but it was produced in a nearly completely straightforward manner. This means that, while there is some legitimate suspense in it, there are also a lot of jokes. A lot of people will watchThe Slumber Party Massacre, and will marvel at the utter stupidity of a move like, for example, the character of Valerie not seeing that the saw she’s carrying has a cord and only finding out when she runs out of cord and is yanked back. Another example is a gag involving a girl’s body stuffed in a fridge that almost falls out a few times. But, when you find out that it was originally a spoof, a lot of the sight gags make sense.
It’s seventy-seven minutes long, and the movie seems to fly by, as it’s paced extremely well and really never slows down once it’s started. And holy shit, does it start. Sometimes slasher films have an extremely boring first half, because they deal with things like “getting to know everyone” and “exposition”. The Slumber Party Massacre doesn’t really do exposition for the story, as much as it does exposition for the tone. Sure, you get little things like a newspaper headline that talks about Russ Thorne’s previous murders, but, at it’s beginning, The Slumber Party Massacre seems mostly concerned with making you realize that A) the killer uses a drill and B) these girls are hot.
It accomplishes A by showing the killer using the drill and stalking a girl with it, within the first ten minutes. It gets through B with an extended locker room shower sequence. Some might call this gratuitous, but I think its film making at its finest. The gore never disappoints in The Slumber Party Massacre, and you get some disembowelings, two gouged eyes, a sliced off hand, and multiple stabbings and, of course, drillings.
Great idea Kirk!!! …and you’re still not invited.
The drill, as a weapon, and especially when being used against beautiful teenage girls, is one of the most blatant examples of a phallic symbol that I’ve ever seen. Russ Thorne might as well have just swung a giant dildo around if they’d wanted something a bit less obvious. Interviews on the DVD (released in a fantastic three-movie set by Shout Factory) show that the killer and his tool are meant to represent a virgin’s fear of sex. Obviously this metaphor directly relates to women more than men, as a metaphor indicating a male virgin’s fear of sex would look more like a gelatin mold being laughed at by a sexy clown. However, this metaphor is toned down a notch and then twisted a bit in the second movie of the franchise, aptly titled The Slumber Party Massacre 2.
Is part 2, and Part 3 worthy of the Slumber Party Massacre name? Find out on the jump…