Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Slumber Party Massacre

2.5/4

Starring: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella, Jennifer Meyers

Rated R (probably for Strong Violence/Gore, Nudity, Language and Some Drug and Alcohol Content)

When a movie is called "The Slumber Party Massacre" and produced by schlockmeister Roger Corman, it's a pretty safe bet that you won't find it being offered from the Criterion Collection.  Unless they market it as an example of existential abstract neo-surrealism.  Whatever that means.  Probably some pseudo-intellectual trying to explain how he found merit in a b-movie filled with nudity and gore that has no artistic value.

Never mind, I'm dawdling.  There are two ways to look at "The Slumber Party Massacre."  One is as a straight horror movie.  On that level, it's an utter failure.  It's too dumb and too poorly made to scare anyone past the age of six.  On the other, the level which I'm sure it is intended to work on, is what I described it as: a sleazy, sex-and-gore romp that is wall to wall with all the reasons anyone would actually want to see a movie called "The Slumber Party Massacre:" gobs of gore and lots of nudity.  It would be interesting to note that the film was written and directed by women.  Although anyone looking for a feminist bent will be disappointed.  Using a super long drill as a murder weapon is as far as it goes in that department (the phallic imagery is far from subtle).

The plot, if you can even call it that, is simple.  Trish's (Michaels) parents are away for the weekend, so she invites her girlfriends over for a slumber party.  She invites the new girl, Valerie (Stille), who declines when she overhears one of Trish's friends saying mean things about her.  Little do they know that Russ Thorn (Villella), a homicidal nutcase, has escaped from the insane asylum, and has chosen their house for his next killing spree.

"The Slumber Party Massacre," as you can imagine, was written as a slasher movie satire.  A lofty goal, considering how close to self-parody many of the genre have gotten, but there you have it.  However, it was filmed as straight horror, which makes some of the humor "unintentional."  It's still a hoot to watch, although it might be more so if you view it while drunk.

The acting is uniformly awful.  Only Robin Stille stands out because she reminded me of Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween," a much better horror movie than this one.  That's okay though.  It helps the film's campy charm.  As does the screenplay, which features characters so dumb it boggles the mind, and some truly hilarious dialogue.  Example: when one of the girls is stealing a phone call to her boyfriend (whom she calls "Booboo"), she realizes that her girlfriends are listening in.  Her response?  "I think our First Amendment rights have been violated."

As silly as it is, and it is very silly, it gets tired after a while.  Director Amy Holden Jones spends far too much time trying to develop characters that we don't care about (nor are we intended to).  Even at a very skinny 77 minutes, it feels padded.  As an hour long short, it could have been a real winner in a campy sort of way.  As it is, it's rather forgettable.

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