Oct 22nd: Slumber Party Massacre(1982): http://youtu.be/waUk0igDAEA
Ah, those VHS days… I’ve spoken about the magic of browsing through the Horror section of the old movie rental store several times before, so regular readers will be familiar with the impact it’s had on me. Slumber Party Massacre was among the films whose covers became iconic to me. My stepfather is an Electrician by trade, and would frequently take freelance work to supplement his income, and on one such job, my Mom and I happened to come visit him. One of the first tools i saw on site was a large bore drill, similar to that depicted on the cover of Slumber Party Massacre. Even though the drill was unplugged, and resting off to the side, I immediately became nervous and a little afraid. This was my reaction only from seeing the cover, not even from watching the film! If you haven’t seen the film, the plot is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the poster. A bunch of pretty young things have their Slumber Party interrupted by a drill-wielding lunatic with murderous intentions. The brilliance is in the finer details. This is a film that originally started out as a parody of slasher films, but when it came time to film, they decided to play it straight, somehow still managing to retain most of the comedy. When Valerie is rummaging around in the basement for a weapon to use against the killer, she finds a power-saw, and runs up the stairs. Of course, the saw is plugged into an extension cord which reaches it’s limit just as she reaches the top of the stairs, the recoil dragging her backwards complete with an audible “BOING!” sound. No Slumber Party would be complete without ordering a pizza, and of course, the Pizza Boy is killed upon arrival. “Oh…he’s so cold…” “Is the Pizza?”
I don’t want to give the impression that the film is all fun and games. Despite being a trashy, nudity, joke filled piece of 80’s slasher treasure, there are some genuine elements of fright to be found, however, I am not the target audience. Boys are supposed to have fun with this movie, Girls are supposed to be scared by it. This could be said for most slasher films of the 80’s, but this film has a more predatory aspect to it as well. The killer’s weapon of choice is a giant drill, which he wields with destructive grace as he stalks towards his cowering prey. Promo shots for the film, and even scenes within the movie itself depict a cowering victim viewed between the killers legs, the phallic drill is then lowered into frame and revved menacingly as the victim’s fear grows. Is it purely fear in her eyes? Or is she turned on a little bit too? The killer is even quoted as saying “I love you…takes a lot of love to do this to someone…now i’m gonna give it to you…and you’re gonna love it”. Is this meant to be a reference towards the fear a young woman may have about losing her virginity? Are we meant to perceive it as a rape allegory? I think it is likely a bit of both. It seems very clear that the drill is meant to represent a penis, when during the finally, the killer is defeated shortly after Val slices the drill bit off with a machete.
In it’s day, the film received mostly negative reviews, but it has become a cult classic thanks to horny teenagers, and those having Slumber Parties of their own. As long as there are teenagers who want to have sex, this film will continue to stay relevant. Also, It has one of the best “It’s Just A Cat” jump scares of all time. I love those. So much so that sometimes i will deliberately hide friends cats in their closet, just to set up real life “It’s Just A Cat” moments. Try it!