What better way to get straight to the point (very straight) of the slasher formula than by throwing a bunch of scantily clad young chicks together in a house to get picked off one by one by a killer?
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982)
In 1982, Slumber Party Massacre did just this, running only an hour and fifteen minutes! It’s written by lesbian author Rita Mae Brown. I would kill to write trashy, sex and blood-filled slasher movies, and RMB gave it all up to become a real writer?
Seriously though, Rita’s perspective does come shining through, pretty much epitomizing the deconstructed analysis of the slasher genre that claims that the killer’s weapon represents his penis, and sticking it in naked girls represents his conflicted desire and hatred for them due to his mommy issues. There’s a point in this film where the killer, who uses a power drill as his weapon of choice, stands in front of a cowering girl and we see her from the perspective between his legs, where his big drill is dangling–the same drill that is later hacked off by the final girl, completely robbing him of his masculinity, making him defenseless and useless.
Yeah. This one was written by a woman.
And it’s definitely a treasure of the genre. The all-80s synthesizer score is perfect. Quick news reports and shots of newspapers tell us all we need to know; a lunatic has escaped. Girls that like showering together are having a slumber party. A couple of boys plan to crash it. Can this night get any better?
You have to love the blatant pandering to teenage heterosexual boys. When we are titillated by a locker room shower scene, you can almost hear the camera man saying, “DAMN! Look at that!” as he drops the camera from a girl’s back to her ass, then just sits frozen there enjoying the view before the director orders him to move on to the next girl. All of which is interesting, since a woman directed the film. Or when we cut to a scene of a boy and girl in a car, we don’t quite know right away what scene we’re jumping to, because all you see is one huge single tit winking at the camera with a finger happily fiddling with the nipple.
It’s slim pickings for the girls and gay boys. The most we get is a photo of a guy’s ass when one of the chicks is looking through an issue of Playgirl with Sylvester Stallone on the front. But it’s not Sly’s ass. Check out Tango and Cash to see his bare ass in action, with Kurt Russell’s ass right next to it as a bonus.
Where was I? Oh. Right. Tango and Ass. Wait. No. Slumber Party Massacre. Okay. So yeah, girls in house, killer comes to screw them with his drill. Despite the fact that the killer is an ordinary dude with no mask—just a cool denim jacket, jeans, and red shirt—his pervy expressions and lurking in bushes works. Yet we’re rarely scared by him. The number of bogus jump scares is out of control. We’re repeatedly bombarded by POVs of someone coming up on a pretty young thang, a hand reaching out to grab her, and it turning out to be some asshole kid just playing a prank. Of course, we also get the standard pussy scare. Actually, we get a lot of them, but only one of them is a cat.
There’s plenty of other fun to be had as well. Kool Aid spotting. Pringles spotting. A character literally saying “Maybe we should split up.” A blackout. Thunder and lightning. A body in a fridge. A neighbor hacking up snails with a cleaver. An attempt at chasing after the killer with a circular saw…that’s plugged in to a wall. And the realization that LINDA was so smart in Halloween when she said that she always forgets her books on purpose, because when LINDA in Slumber Party Massacre goes back to school to get books she forgot, well, you can guess what happens. By the way, Linda is played by b-movie scream queen Brinke Stevens.
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II (1987)
In 1987, 5 years after the first incident, a young girl who lived next door to the house where the first slumber party massacre took place is now a hot teen in a girl band, and bares a striking resemblance to Crystal Bernard. Oh. It IS Crystal Bernard, post life on post-jump the shark Happy Days, smack dab in the middle of life on It’s a Living, and pre-Wings. She’s having dreams about the night of the first kills, and while there’s footage from the first movie, the part in which the young girl hides under a couch has been re-shot with Crystal under the couch!
Anyway, Crystal and the rest of The Bangles—at least, that’s who they look like when they’re jamming in the garage—go to a summer home for tons of fun. Some of their male friends sneak up and watch through the window as dirty pillows come out and a dirty pillow fight starts, at which point one of the boys delivers one of the best slasher lines ever: “I didn’t know girls really did this stuff!”
See, the second movie is once again written and directed by women. But these creative ladies make it more fun for boy-lovers. Plenty of shirtless action, and this time, the Driller Killer, as he is called, is—and I’m not even kidding—a rock n’ roll guitar player with a huge drill at the end of his twanger. He’s kind of a cross between Elvis, Billy Idol, and Andrew Dice Clay, and wears some sweet ass tight leather. Crystal brings him out of her dreams to kill off all her friends. How original.
Slumber Party Massacre II is extra gory, but straight up laughable. It takes a while for the kills to start, and the final chase is more of a music video, with the driller killer singing, dancing, and breakdancing. Again, not kidding.
The movie definitely tries too hard to be bad. The bad doesn’t come naturally. Still, there are some highlights. The girls watch Rock n’ Roll High School. Crystal keeps having waking flashes of the Driller Killer surrounded by sexy fog machine smoke—even in broad daylight. Crystal gets attacked by a frozen chicken. One chick’s pimple turns into a deformity and squirts all over Crystal. The Driller Killer blows one of the boys a kiss before he screws him. He also has the same final words as the killer from the first movie.
But the absolute best moment of the film is Crystal Bernard’s crazy face as she torches the bastard. Priceless.
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 3 (1990)
Okay. I’ll get the feminism out of the way immediately. Yep, another female writing/directing team. Plenty of shirtless men and one of them a really hot bod—a hot bod that is the first to go, death by Home For Sale sign.
The film has no link to the first two. From what I got out of Slumber Party Massacre III, it appears to me that the killer can’t get it up for girls because his uncle, an ex-cop who committed suicide, used to molest him, and basically robbed him of his heterosexuality. So, of course, he turns to the drill to do the screwing. And in the end, he gets screwed by the girls, further proving his lack of manhood.
Thankfully, this one is somewhat better than the second catastrophe. An eerie musical score is back in place, and the killer runs around in a hoodie and one of those transparent masks. As always, the girls break into a dance and strip routine, and the boys crash the party.
The uncut version of the film clocks in at almost an hour-and-a-half. I know. Way too long. The dialogue is so bad. And there are numerous times when the driller killer is taking his sweet time actually killing a chick because he’s been blinded by fricking bleach, and all her girlfriends just stand on the sidelines and watch him repeatedly miss the mark with his drill until he finally scores! WTF?
The greatest addition to this film is that of the geek known as Dwight on several seasons of the TV series Fame. Awesome. And he also gets the best line in the film when he’s holding a fireplace tool. One girl says, “Give me that poker!”, another cries something like, “Are you crazy? You can’t go down there with just that!”, and Dwight responds, “Besides. They’re tongs!”
Yep. That is the highlight of this installment. Well, that and the guy with the kick ass body and a for sale sign sticking out of his chest.
SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE (1986)
Okay. I’m starting to lose interest at this point. The first Sorority House Massacre goes back to the roots of the “massacre” series, running only an hour and 15 minutes. This time, the same woman both writes and directs. There are too many bogus jump scares, girls getting naked and dancing around, boys crashing their party, and a maskless killer coming to join the fun.
The new catch in Sorority House Massacre, aside from it being a sorority house instead of a slumber party, is that the final girl has psychic dreams about the killer.
Halloween clichés abound. Naturally, one of the girls is named Linda, and I’m beginning to think that is the most popular female name in the horror genre. The killer escapes from a mental institution to find his sister, the only one he didn’t kill years before when he slaughtered his family. His weapon of choice is a knife that he gets by breaking into a hardware store. He steals a station wagon. The lead girl sees him out the window of her classroom while her teacher drones on about foreshadowing in literature.
Highlights of this installment? MAJOR man ass! Wow. Steve Guttenberg-looking dude runs around completely naked. We also get 80s spottings: a Police Synchronicity-era poster, a Twisted Sister poster, a reference to cancer-causing Tab diet cola, and a big plush Smurf.
Best parts of the film include the fire ladder scene and one chick yelling, “Get the ho!” (an actual garden ho, not one of her friends). Plus, the kids watch Slumber Party Massacre on TV and the ONLY scene we see is the pussy scare!
SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE 2 (1990)
Men take the directing and writing credits for this one, which has the absolute best, biggest, bodacious boobs of the entire series, plus girls running around in thongs for most of the film, flashing their asses. And quite frankly, I’m glad, because when they’re dressed, they wear the absolute worst fashions of the late 80s. During a shower scene, I was shocked to learn just how much time girls spend washing their boobs. And as if that isn’t enough T&A, we get to visit a strip club. Plus, there are no surprise visits from any cute frat boys.
Did I mention this installment is helmed by men?
The tried and true clichés abound. A past history in the house. A pervy spying neighbor. No lights. A session with a Ouija board. Thunder and lightning. A chick named Linda. However, this time around, the killer uses a hook in true I Know What You Did Last Summer style.
The real jaw dropping aspect of Sorority House Massacre 2? When one character retells the history of the house, the flashbacks use footage from the first Slumber Party Massacre to tell a completely different story! I have never seen anything like this in my life. The footage pretends the original driller killer was a man who slaughtered his wife (the gym teacher from the first movie), and then his two daughters (2 friends who were at the party). Then they actually use footage of a DIFFERENT girl from the first movie getting killed instead of the footage of the girl they first presented as one of the sisters!
When the film ends with the threatening question, “The End….?” I cried, “YES PLEASE.”
HARD TO DIE (aka: Sorority House Massacre 3) (1990)
I can’t fathom why Shout Factory hasn’t jumped on the opportunity to release a Sorority House Massacre trilogy with this unofficial official third film in the series. You can tell it’s a Sorority House Massacre movie because it refers to a Slumber Party Massacre movie in flashbacks rather than a Sorority House Massacre movie!
This time around, babes working in a high rise building on a stormy night raid the lingerie inventory and run around in underwear as they’re killed in a variety of ways. Yes, it’s an all male creative team.
Lurking in the shadows is a nearly comatose janitor they believe was involved in the previous murders—because he was in the previous movie! Could the killer be that obvious? Or do the murders have something to do with the evil the girls release from a mysterious box they find…?
The kills and screams are as much silly fun as in all the previous installments, the phones are dead, there are gratuitous shower scenes, there are plenty of body reveals, and the dark set, striking lightning, and classic horror music cues perfectly set the tone.
There are also several returning actors from the previous film as the same detectives, 80s horror darling Kelli Maroney has a brief cameo in a totally unrelated scene, and the reason this movie gets overlooked as the slasher it is might be because in the end it turns into girls with guns, which is reflected on the image used in the poster art!
CHEERLEADER MASSACRE (2003)
Returning to the original Slumber Party Massacre series (sort of), Cheerleader Massacre is actually CONNECTED to the first film. Brinke Stevens returns as Linda. Yep. Turns out she didn’t die in the first movie when she went to get her books! So she has a cameo in this for no apparent reason other than to recount how she actually survived and to give us flashbacks from the original Slumber Party Massacre to let us know this one is sort of a sequel.
It runs an hour and 20 minutes and is man written and man directed. And so the very first scene has a girl flash her tits in a tent. Actually, it’s a pretty good, typically suspenseful “the-killer-is-outside-the-tent” scene. In fact, aside from tons of bimbos with huge boobs (great shower scenes and asses bending right into the camera), the other fairly worthy aspect of the film is the attention to chase scenes with classic dark lighting, killer POV, and a music score that seems good at first, but which you soon realize is ridiculously melodramatic to manipulate your senses into believing the scene are suspenseful.
So the girls head to a cabin in the woods with their teacher, two guys, and a male bus driver who looks like a butch lesbian. Like REALLY. I thought he was for half the movie. But after a handful of rapid fire kills, instead of a lot of the time being focused on the girls’ slumber party, the film is about police hunting down an escaped killer.
In one of the most unique twists of the series, well, I can’t tell you, because it’s a surprise twist. All I’ll say is, the film could have been called I Know What You Did Last Summer You Big Lesbo.
The absolute BEST part of the film? The decapitated guy knocking on the door.
SPRING BREAK MASSACRE (2008)
Spring Break Massacre is an homage to the infamous series of movies featuring girls cowering between a man’s legs on their VHS/DVD cases. And it is the fricking BEST film of all of them. And that’s not even because Linnea Quigley of Night of the Demons and Reggie Bannister of Phantasm have roles in it.
The male director co-writes the film with a woman, and together they create the perfect massacre film. True to the series, it runs an hour and 15 minutes. And it flawlessly mocks the entire series while paying tribute to it.
The flashback story that opens the movie takes place in “Mapleton, Illinois. Spring break 1997.” As the words flash on the screen, anyone who knows their horror will recognize the wink to Halloween.
Cut to the modern day, spring break, guys and girls are swimming in what looks like Camp Crystal Lake. And…wait. Why does that adorable shirtless guy look so familiar? OMG, he’s that guy from the phone commercial where he’s standing on a train platform, sees the girl of his dreams on a train, pictures his future with her and their son becoming president, and quickly changes his ticket to sit next to her.
What drags this movie into the new millennium is the comfort level the cute guys have with gay banter. One guy pulls down another’s pants. They feel each other’s muscles. One guy checks out another’s testicles. They suggest having a circle-jerk when they are iced out of the slumber party.
And even better? We see the girls doing the predictable crazy naked stuff—but only because the guys are IMAGINING that’s what they’re doing (naked poker, sensual massages). The spell is broken when one guy says, “No, dude. Chicks do not do that shit.” Brilliant.
And further flip-flopping the formula, the GIRLS decide to scare the GUYS by wearing masks—which leads to a perfectly humorous moment.
But honestly, the person who absolutely steals the show is this film’s pervy neighbor. Best performance. Best lines in the movie.
Plus, there’s lesbian kissing, more boobs, and a series of fantastic twists.
I most definitely saved the best boob massacre for last.