Crazed Men with Battery Powered Drills: The Slumber Party Massacre Movies

A couple weeks ago, a group of smart-ass friends and I watched all three Slumber Party Massacre movies in one night.  Should you do the same?

Reviewers often mention that the screenplay for the first Slumber Party Massacre was written by lesbian activist Rita Mae Brown who wrote the classic Rubyfruit Jungle before writing lots of mysteries with cats on the cover and bad puns in the titles.

Brown’s one authored screenplay that was produced is considered by some an embarrassment to the lesbian movement, as it is in the super-sexist genre of horror flick. Brown explains that the all-female cast save themselves from the electric-driller killer without male intervention, but she bemoans the fact that, in Hollywood, “to assume that a screenwriter has any power over the process of filming is naive in the extreme.”

“Rita Mae Brown.” Gay & Lesbian Biography. Ed. Michael J. Tyrkus and Michael Bronski. Detroit: St. James Press, 1997. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 2 Sep. 2011.

Indeed, all three of the Slumber Party movies were written and directed by women, but are somewhat indistinguishable from other male-created slasher flicks of the 80s.

Slumber Party Massacre I

The template is set here: high school girls have a slumber party, voyeuristic boys hover around and prank them, but the true danger is a psychopathic killer who wields an enormous battery-powered drill.  Men, his drill is probably bigger than yours and one friend commented that he looks like Rahm Emanuel.  My favorite moment is when after the pizza man is killed, one girl still wants to eat the pizza.  This movie is worth seeing for horror movie fans.

Slumber Party Massacre II

A survivor (played by a different actor, Crystal Bernard, before she achieved fame with the sitcom Wings) is haunted by nightmares and memories of the carnage from the previous movie.  Yet she still agrees to go to a slumber party with her girl-group band mates.  But this time around, the killer that haunts her is now a leather-clad, dancing rocker with a pompadour!  And his battery-powered drill is refashioned as a guitar!!   Other reas0ns that I enjoyed this movie:

  • One of the girl’s boyfriends has a voice that’s so California surfer that it makes Keanu Reeves sound like Laurence Olivier.
  • The protagonist’s hallucinations make a zit on her band mate’s face look grotesquely enormous and then, of course, it pops.  Great make-up and special effects on this scene!
  • You could make a drinking game for every time a character says “weird.”  (“I had the weirdest dream,” “I feel weird,” etc.)  One fellow watcher exclaimed, “Buy a %$#@ thesaurus!”

Slumber Party Massacre III

I figured that we’d already watched I and II in a row, why not go for III?  Not a good idea.  The formula was tired even though the filmmakers tried two new things.  One, they actually tried to conceal the killer’s identity for more than 10 minutes.  Okay.  Two, they tried to give him a back story and reveal his motivation.  Trouble is, character development doesn’t work so well when an actor is terrible at acting.  Watch I and II.  Skip III, unless you really want to complain about how inept the victims are at operating doors and windows to escape the killer.

Organize your own slumber party and enjoy watching or enjoy criticizing these movies.

– Tim

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Crazed Men with Battery Powered Drills: The Slumber Party Massacre Movies

  1. Tim, you just keep unfolding like a flower. Initiate slumber party planning process!

    LAV

  2. therealbeanogee

    i will wait until october until i have any big horror movie festivals.

  3. I think that, as cliche ridden and distinctly non-feminist as SPM is, it’s totally addicting and more entertaining overall than the majority of early ’80s slashers. The severed-limb-heavy finale is also one of the most memorable demises for a slasher villain ever! I also really like Part 2 and to a lesser extent Part 3.

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