Torment (2013)

torment1
I was looking through the new horror movie’s available on VUDU, and I came across TORMENT. I remember seeing the trailer a couple of months ago and thinking it looked pretty scary, so I had to check it out. Very glad I did. 

Torment is the story of a new family, dad Cory, son Liam, and new mother Sarah (played by Katharine Isabelle, no stranger to horror herself). Liam’s first wife, and actual mother to Liam died recently, and this new family unit is trying to bond, and what better way than to spend time at the family “cabin” (it’s more just a second house). We get a taste of the horror to come in the opening scenes with another family in the area and the home invasion set up that will follow our main characters. Liam is being a brat, not even trying to get along with Sarah, and they think he’s run away…only to discover that a team of hillbilly-esque masked killers are on a rampage. 

torment2
Very nicely constructed scenes create a good amount of tension, the gore is actually fairly minimal, but the atmosphere here is really nice, and it all just works well. Some other reviewers said that the movie built no tension and only had jump scares, but I completely saw it the opposite. The scene where Sarah walks slowly toward the sound of robots and what she think is a playing Liam is one of the scariest horror scenes I can even remember, and that’s saying something…I kind of kept hoping that scene would end, because the tension was over the top. The chase scenes worked out, and they made sense in the confines of the setting. 

I don’t want to give much away, but it’s a semi-unique take on the home invasion weirdo genre, and despite it being a lot like so many other movies, I think the family aspect of it created a higher sense of urgency, and the main bad guy- his voice was totally creative…almost sounded like a deranged adult Winnie the Poo. Trust me, you have to see it for that to make sense…

7/10 for this one. I really enjoyed it…not sure why so many people seemed to dislike it. 

Mischief Night (2014)

Yes, this is the DVD cover.

Yes, this is the DVD cover.

So, apparently there are a million movies called MISCHIEF NIGHT out in the past two years. This is the one with the cover to the right. The one from 2013 I also have, and apparently there’s a higher budget movie yet to be released with the same title.

I saw this one on the bottom shelf at Walmart, where they keep the crappy low budget horror stuff, but it sounded interesting, and who doesn’t love a movie that takes place on the night before Halloween? The film opens on a man taking items from the trunk of a car, in what looks to be an affluent neighborhood…his identity is masked in the soft focus of the shot, plus we see him from across the street behind some trees. Rather odd that no one notices a grown man in a busy neighborhood taking out a knife, perhaps some rope, and putting on a scary mask, but whatever. After that there’s a nice montage of Halloween decorations which really sets the mood nicely. Great looking footage, clean shots, technically well done, nicely lit, the works. I read no reviews going on, so I had no idea what to expect.

Unfortunately, one is let down pretty quickly here, as the main actress is…well, let’s just say you never, for a second, believe she’s a teenager, nor do you ever believe much in what she says or does, as she’s a fairly terrible actor. When we soon meet her best friend, a 28 eight year old youtube “celeb” named Nikki Limo, we scoff again- these aren’t teenagers. The main girl, Kaylie, is filling in babysitting for the second girl…looking after the baby of some rich family whom she constantly talks badly about. When the mother calls to check on the situation, she puts the phone down and says, “cunt.” Charming girl, indeed. The problem here is that she’s not only a bad actor, but she’s horribly annoying, and most of the dialogue here is just so bad it’s the sort of thing you would expect in a book about what to never do in a script. The cheesy lines, the annoying platitudes, the lame jokes. Ick.

Kaylie is babysitting on the night before Halloween, but we learn right off the bat that she’s tougher than her blonde, supposedly teen image portrays. She’s not like your average horror movie “final girl,” and the script takes pains to note this overtly. A masked killer shows up (the guy we saw out of focus earlier), and he thinks Kaylie will be easy to pick off…yet, she’s not, and she nearly kills him. He gets the upper hand at one point and ties her up, but before he can off her, she starts talking shit to him, making fun of his manhood, his inept serial killer ways. Eventually, they start chatting normally, and she’s totally cool with him. They open up to each other, they have a mini-romance. It’s all pretty absurd. It’s a decent enough idea to take some of the basic plot elements and change them around, look to create something new, but the acting is just so bad, the lines so terrible that you can’t take any of it serious. Plus, there’s some lame over the top action on the front end, then a dull long section of nothing in the middle, then some action with a twist you can see coming 100 miles away at the end.

 

Oh, and did I mention, Malcolm McDowell shows up at the start of the film as a creepy neighbor/night watchman warning Kaylie to stay inside for bad things happen on mischief night?

Malcolm McDowell shows up for precisely no reason at all.

Malcolm McDowell shows up for precisely no reason at all.

I wanted to like this. The mood is set nicely, the whole thing is shot well enough, the look of the scenes is really nice, sets a great Halloween mood, the lighting creates a sense of adventure when needed and a sense of tension at other times, but again, that acting, the script. Too terrible to enjoy much of it. Honestly, there were some scenes that dragged on to the point that I just breezed through where there was no dialogue, just in an attempt to get to the end.

 

Killer and victim?

Killer and victim?

 

House of the Devil (2009)

Image

Ti West’s 2009 film, House of the Devil is one of those classic gems that I figure a lot of people don’t know a lot about, most have probably never seen, and a lot of fans have never even heard about. It’s a slow burn throwback to the 1980′s, verging on the the 1970′s, and it’s wildly successful in pretty much every way imaginable. West knows his horror history, and to decide to do a period piece is a stroke of genius, not only because who doesn’t love to visit an old time in our lives, but also because horror was once great. He knows that there was a period in the mid 80′s where horror was still pretty innovative, still an overall success, and still an influential force.

In throwing back to the 1980′s, we also get some cultural history as well. I recall hearing about satantic cults roaming the cities and the countryside, possibly out to attack us in our homes as we slept. I would figure the Manson history and the cult fascination in the 1980′s helped spur this belief, but no matter where it all came from, this film plays on it really well. Sam is trapped in a house of horrors, and despite the lack of blood for most of the film, and in fact the lack of anything remotely scary, there’s still this tension in the house, never knowing who is upstairs, what is going on, etc. Megan’s quick death throws you for a loop, and you’re immediately wondering what’s going on, and once back inside the house with Megan, you know something bad is going to happen, you just have no idea what that something is, and you’re left in the dark until the very end when all is revealed.

West uses his knowledge of horror history well here, and that throwback quality enhances what is already a pretty terrifying movie.

Feminist Horror- I Spit on Your Grave (1978)/Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Two similar films this week, so I’m tossing them into one post here. First off is I Spit On Your Grave (the gritty original), then Jennifer’s Body. Both films deal with female leads and feminine issues (in a way), and both fit closely with sex in horror. Both might be seen as feminist in a certain way.

ISpitOnYourGraveposter

 

I Spit on Your Grave might be the first, or at least the first well known, female revenge picture. Carol Clover spends much of her Men, Women, and Chainsaws discussing the film and the aspect of female heroism. After being attacked, raped, and left for dead, a writer, staying at a cabin in the woods to write her book, gets revenge on the men who meant to kill her. The original film is a bit of a mess in terms of tone, there’s an underlying slapstick in a few parts reminiscent of Last House on the Left (from Craven). The hero in this film is the woman, and never, I would argue, do we, as an audience, sympathize with her male tormentors. This is key, as the men who attack her think she is dead when they dump her body. She is, in fact, very much alive, and she enacts revenge on these criminals in the worst ways possible, especially in attacking their most treasured body parts, so o speak. She is the one who triumphs in the end, taking out a greater physical force through cunning and subterfuge. I remember seeing this box in the small video store next to our house growing up, the scene of Jennifer’s celebratory escape at the end, at the boats helm, a mad look on her face, after dispatching the goons was one that stuck in my head for years. The movie was banned for years in the UK as one of the list of video nasties, and groups have attacked the film for as long a period of time as being masochistic and misogynistic at the same time. The film is, in all manners, a decidedly feminist film, an attack on the violence that men are often associated with, and often for good reason. The attack in the film is fictional, but one can easily see how this sort of event has surely taken place in various parts of the world, time and time again, often ignored as part of the culture, but this film takes that violence head on, and turns the original attacks upside down- when Jennifer attacks the men who hurt her, she uses their taunts against them, sexualizes the attacks on them, and takes her own scars and puts them onto the men.

Clover, in Chainsaws, notes that men who are dispatched in horror films are often taken out off camera, or if they are killed on camera, their deaths are quick and very often painless (51), as if abject terror on the part of men as victims doesn’t exist. In I Spit on Your Grave, that abject terror from a male being killed off is seen, and the camera lingers on these deaths in order to show the double standard between the sexes. Despite being attacked from every corner, the film truly is feminist in spirit, taking the very tropes found in so many horror movies, especially the sexually double standard themes and showing them for what they are. These men die horrible, painful, drawn out deaths that we would expect to see in the deaths of female characters, and that’s the point of the movie.

 

jennifers_body-7

 

Jennifer’s Body, starring the glass eyed, wooden acting of Megan Fox (she’s supposedly hot, so she keeps getting roles, we get it already), is yet another feminist take on the horror genre, partly because it was written by stripper turned screenwriter (how many times do we need that shoved down our throats?) Diablo Cody. The characters are stereotypes and mostly flat…the main character is called Needy throughout the film, and Fox exists as a female succubus throughout, even before her ritual near-sacrifice and transformation into a demonic monster with a body that can’t be easily destroyed, killing her way around the various members of the high school for what reason, only Cody knows.

There are issues of sex and gender here. Needy is the less slutty of the two, and it turns out that Jennifer, whose entire persona screams what we traditionally would consider “slutty,” is the one who is mistaken for a virgin, ready for a ritual sacrifice because of her chastity. Jennifer wants to be more like Needy, whose beauty is less starkly defined, who is seen by most in the movie as a nerdy type. People wonder how these two are even friends being so different, but deep down, are they so wildly different? Martin Fradley, in discussing “postfeminism” in Hollywood cinema denotes the dichotomy here, especially in that Fox, after her stint in Transformers, was suddenly seen as a sex symbol, while Seyfried is generally seen as a chaste, more pure version of the Hollywood female. Cody plays on that with the plot, and no doubt the rumors of Fox being nude in the film drove some young men to the theatres for a glimpse. She comes close, but there’s not a second of Fox nudity to be found here, and that plays on what we expect to see from a horror film as well as Fox herself, as she has been tagged a sexual icon by so many.

Jennifer’s Body isn’t a terrible movie, but I guess my dislike of Juno plays into this. My general distaste for most of Cody’s dialogue is present too. Like Kevin Williamson’s Dawson Creek teeny boppers, no one in high school actually talks like this. In her supposedly witty one lingers and slang, she seems to be trying way too hard, and because of that, much of what could be likeable or even partially effective falls flat. A feminist film, I can get behind that idea, but a good feminist film, perhaps not.

Hostel (2005)

hostel

SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Hostel, the birth (?) of “torture porn.” [1] Well, Saw came before, but still, I figure this is pretty much where it started in the minds of most. A great little film that I remember seeing in the theatre. Pretty scary stuff. Edelstein’s commentary (linked below) is rather confusing. I can’t tell if he’s attacking fully or partially praising this new genre he’s dubbed torture porn. Surely, he’s against it mostly, but what of his comment about relishing telling the details of these sordid films? I am instantly confused by his statement that Josh in this film is confused about his sexuality- perhaps we saw a different Hostel?!

Throughout the film, which is beautifully shot in a wonderful European setting, I kept thinking that Roth was indicting the US in many ways. We are the like the loud obnoxious tourists who can’t stop getting into fights and claiming superiority over “the others.” This is especially Paxton’s MO in the film more than Josh, who is clearly tamer and nicer overall. That weirdness brought about near the 40 minute mark where we suddenly shift from Josh’s POV to Paxton’s…but Paxton changes, he grows as a character. The message here about torture and liking it, liking to view it, being superior to other, “lesser” cultures shines through, but in the end, the big bad brash American wins the day and defeats evil. Perhaps the message is more pro-American afterall?

I love the film. It’s a nice mix of comedy, lowkey action for the first half, then balls to the wall insanity after that, once we make our was inside the factory itself. The gore is effective, the scares are plentiful, and the ending brings happy closure, good triumphs over evil, even if it is tainted in some way. Roth has created a serious pieces here that took a beating from so many critics yet had important and serious stuff to say about the world posy 9/11, about commodification of people, and the balance of power across the globe. It’s an international world now, the internet is here to stay, and it will bring in the good and the evil (it’s important to note that per the baddie’s business card, Elite Hunting has a website and an email address (someone call ICANN and report these weirdos!).

Torture porn? I never found myself wanting to be in the shoes of the bad guy blowtorching that poor girl’s face…I’m in Paxton’s shoes here, wanting to rid the world of these evils. I don’t grasp the idea that you are somehow finding masturbatory pleasure in watching the scenes of brutal torture, because when Josh’s ankles are cut open, I winced and cringed all at the same time. It’s painful to watch, and you put yourself in his place- that has to be terrifying…I watch the torture because it exists in the real world. The thrill isn’t torturing the innocent but pushing the bad guy’s head into a toilet after cutting off his fingers, making him pay for his sins. Good does triumph over evil. These movies are bleak and dark, no doubt, but so is the world around us, and welcome to it.

[1] David Edelstein- New Yorker Magazine-  http://nymag.com/movies/features/15622/

Hausu [House] (1977)

hausu-poster

So, this one. The Japanese “horror” film from 1977, though this could very easily pass as a movie from 1997, from the look of the film itself to the scenery, the clothing, the hairstyles, etc. It’s very weird that this movie doesn’t look like it belongs anywhere close to the 70′s, so right off the bat you’re a little mixed up. It doesn’t help then that the movie is experimental in nearly every sense and it continues to be so throughout the entire duration. I found it pretty hard to watch. If this was a movie I had paid to see, it would have been the first time (that I recall) I walked out of a movie. This was, however, watched as part of a film class, so no such escape was possible. The point is- it’s a tedious film. I get that experimentation is fun, and it’s a good idea to try new things, but to the detriment of a plausible, rational, coherent story that is in some manner entertaining? Hardly. The movie isn’t funny, it isn’t scary, it’s…it’s a lot of nothing. A LOT of nothing.

hausu2

It’s basically the music video-like story of a young girl named Gorgeous (she’s the pretty one, get it?) and her school friends- Kung Fu (she’s tough), Mac (she eats a lot! hahahahaha!), Prof  (she’s smart…get it yet?!), etc. They travel to Gorgeous’ aunts house, her mother’s sister who she hasn’t seen in years. Crazy stuff starts to happen, the girls play the piano, lose one of their group, run around the house for no reason, get lost, get lost again, get lost yet again, run around the house some more, and some stuff with the aunt being  a ghost who devours unmarried girls, something to do with Japan’s crisis of losing so many men to the war — the Japanese, pardon me for saying, but let’s be honest, were sorta batshit crazy during the war, and most of these young men would die horrible, painful, senseless deaths than ever give up the fight (for the emperor god, no less. So, many women were left either widowed or without a man to marry because they so greatly outnumbered the fellas after the fighting ended. This comes into play here, but who cares, because you’re so damned bored by the time it ends, all you care about is seeing the credits. When you think the movie is finished, there’s yet another pointless 15 minutes of nothing to pad the run time with more confusing nonsensical metaphors thrown in for good measure.

Needless to say, I really really hated this one, and I’d like to ignore 99% of the underlying theory. Sure, there are certain cultural world cinema-ish portrayals of women, and most of it is related to the war stuff, but seriously, it was 35 years later, how long do these people hold onto the past? Did no one have male children between 1942 and 1977? A lot of them? I’m tossing this under “horror,” and I’m using the keywords to portray it as such, but even that I’d mostly disagree with, but too many people call it horror or horror comedy to argue with, I’d say, so that’s that.

The Exorcist (1973)


The-Exorcist-Wallpaper1

 

As the title suggests, and as Carol Clover helpfully points out, the film is about the priest, Father Kerras, more than it is about Regan, the 12 year old girl who is possessed by a low-level demon. The Exorcist, like many occult/possession films, is ultimately about a “male in crisis,” and that knowledge brings the movie into an entirely different light. Now, the last time I saw (I say the last when I should say the “first and only time” I saw the film was sometime in the 1980′s, as a child. I clearly have a different take on the film now, especially knowing so much of the film theory, the feminist theory, the Freudian psychoanalytic theory behind the film, some of the major themes, the visual imagery, etc. Clover points out the male in crisis story here by noting that Regan’s story is merely the impetus for Karras’ loss of faith, loss of his mother, loss of his confidence story. This is quite clearly the issue with many of these films, Witchboard being another film that is brought up numerous times in this discussion.

Gender is an issue here as well. As well as religion, the lack of faith in the 1970′s in the US, a cultural switchover, etc. As it turns out, there are 3 distinct versions of the Exorcist- the original 1973 version that feels more pessimistic and less religiously hopeful, the 2000 re-edit with the more Christian message and footage supporting that reading added back into the movie, and the 2006 version that added even more footage, not seemingly changing that tone all that much. It caught me off guard how many times Regan’s mother said “Jesus Christ” or “God dammit” in anger, which makes it a strange idea that this is a pro-Christian film. Apparently director William Friedkin saw this film as a sort of life changing event, bringing him closer to the side of “there is ultimate good in the world.” which is the message he gives viewers on the 2000 DVD version before the film starts.

exorcist2

Father Merrin and Father Karras battle the demon that possesses Regan.

The gender issues pop up mostly in that Regan’s mother is divorced, and so often in these occult films or bodily possession movies, we see a broken home, and that is ultimately part of the cause of the tension and the underlying possession plot. Only when Father Karras allows the demon into his own body, taking on the role of the feminine is he able to resolve his issues at the end of the story. In Men, Women, and Chainsaws, Clover discusses the story arc for women and men in these types of films, and the Exorcist is no different in its trajectory. Regan and her mother are left back in the same spot they were in at the start of the movie, and Karras is changed. Sure, he dies in the end, sacrificing himself in order to save Regan, but in doing so he fulfills his mission and gets past his dilemma– the regret over not taking care of his mother, not being in the house with her, blaming himself for her death, finally resolving that by taking on the demon to free Regan.

A scary film, but the 2 hour version is filled with a lot of fluff. There’s way too much screentime with Father Merrin giving directions in the exorcist and far too much of the prayer to release the demon from the young girl’s body. Perhaps the added scenes did little to push the story along. An eerie film that makes you wonder how Linda Blair, only 13 at the time, wasn’t in some way traumatized by this role. This would be an ordeal for any actor to go through, but especially so for a young teenage girl.

 

 

CITED:

 

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

 

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

The People Under the Stairs (1991)

AS USUAL- SPOILERS BELOW!!

Time for The 1991 Wes Craven horror/thriller classic, The People Under the Stairs. This is quite an inventive film, and it’s always been the kind of flick I could watch repeatedly and still have a good time. Young Brandon Quinton Adams plays Fool, a boy trapped in a crappy apartment in the ghetto with numerous siblings, an older sister played by the wonderful Kelly Jo Minter (who stars in a few 1990′s horror classics, including my favorite- Popcorn!), and a sick mother who has a cancer she doesn’t have the money to get removed. They’re all about to get evicted because of their payment being a couple of days late, and the mean landlords will charge them triple the mount they owe for the late fee. Ving Rhames shows up, a friend of Fool’s sister, and gets in his head the idea that they will rob the landlord who is rumored to have a stash of gold coins in his massive house. Turns out, they get more than they bargained for, of course (it’s a horror movie, what else would you expect?), and the landlord is a family of cannibal weirdos with a bunch of zombie-like people who live in their walls and many stuck in the cellar, living under the stairs (hence the movie’s title). Most of the action takes places in the house with Fool attempting to save the couple’s daughter, Alice, and fight husband and wife (who we find out are actually brother and sister) off…elaborate traps, devices meant to maim and kill, and a deadly dog fill the house with terror for Fool.

Because of the setup, this feels like more of an action flick than a true horror movie. I guess the addition of the mysterious people under the stairs adds that horror element, so in the end it all works out pretty well. A fun movie with lots of great comic lines, some badass action sequences, and lots of good chase scenes- this is just a fun time overall.

Fool and Leroy break into the house but can't get out!

Fool and Leroy break into the house but can’t get out!

 

 

There is, of course, the bigger broader theme of race and oppression. I don’t necessarily buy the film’s politics at the start of the movie. The landlord of the house also owns a liquor store, and it just so happens that store is robbed constantly, and it’s always by the same group of thugs. Isn’t Fool’s sister partially to blame for her own predicament? Rhames’ character makes it clear that she has had at least a few kids out of wedlock, unable to pay for any of them. They live in the ghetto, and I would assume partially by choice. His sister is friends with thief Ving Rhames, and she’s clearly fine with the idea of robbing the landlord of his gold and allowing her little brother into the act, even tho she resists, only slightly, at first. Most of these people living in squalor probably do so because of decisions they have made, and could you blame a landlord for wanting to rent to respectable people who don’t trash their surroundings? So, when we’re supposed to feel bad for this family, I just kept thinking- outside of the kid, they’ve all pretty much chosen their terrible lives. So, the racial stuff mostly falls flat throughout the film for me.

It is, however, nice to see a black protagonist fighting off white villains, if only to mix up the formula  a little. Plus, as I said earlier, this film is quite inventive. The whole set up of the house filled with various traps, no way out, locked windows and doors, bars over every escape, it becomes a game for Fool to win. He has the help of one of the people living in the walls and the daughter, Alice, and he eventually comes to join them in an interracial sort of justice league, helping the white daughter of the white family that is stealing money from the people in the ghetto. To be sure, we can all get pissed at landlords who purposefully allow their buildings to turn to garbage while charging every higher rents, putting people deeper into poverty, while making out like bandits themselves. That ultimate sense of revenge when the whole community comes a’knockin’ is great, despite the holes in logic that soon follow in the story!

Reading of Craven’s background, so much of the story makes so much more sense. The “mother” here is much like Craven’s own mother- very religious and often very authoritarian. Obsessed with the notion of sin and damnation, it reflects a lot of Craven’s upbringing and a lot of the anxieties he surely felt growing up. The oppression of certain classes and races of people seems to be a theme present in some of Craven’s work and his ideals seem to play into that as well. We see a good bit of the New Horror here- Craven never shies away from the gore factor, never dismisses the notion that a character might gain sexual gratification from torturing other humans (the bad guys wear an S&M costume during much of the chasing throughout the house!), and he tackles serious issues of race relations, the ghetto, and terrible landlords looking to punish an entire community for the actions of a few. This is not the stuff of Old Horror, and the fun factor being so high, it’s just a great watch.

The baddies- brother and sister. Sick and twisted villains.

The baddies- brother and sister. Sick and twisted villains.

Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

NOTE: This one will certainly contain spoilers….be warned!!

Just finished Slumber Party Massacre from 1982. The horror movie that put the women in total control. This movie, surprisingly, was written by woman and produced and directed by a woman. The screenplay was penned by Rita Mae Brown and it was directed by Amy Holden Jones. Let me take a second to say that I could nearly boycott this movie because the writer is most well known for her series of cat mystery books that I always see at the book store, and frankly I want to pick them off the shelf, toss them onto the Barnes and Noble carpet, and light fire to them, perhaps cook a pig above the flames!

Cat mysteries and horror movies- this is Rita Mae Brown's varied career.

Cat mysteries and horror movies- this is Rita Mae Brown’s varied career.

Okay, I’m being harsh, but still. What an odd and varied career. Apparently, Brown is known for her feminist views, and this movie was supposed to very different in her mind. It was supposed to be a complete parody of the genre and of the male gaze in horror movies, but the studio intervened and attempted to make it more of a straight horror flick.

The movie follows a group of teen girls who have a slumber party at one of the girl’s house. The new girl in town, Valerie, is mocked earlier in a scene in gym class, but one of the nicer girls invites her to the party. Valerie turns down the offer, and chooses, instead, to stay at home with her little sister watching horror movies and reading magazines (including a funny scene involving Playgirl.) Valerie, unlike all the other girls, never appears nude in the film (the rest of them do for no reason at all!), and she’s basically sexless as she has no boyfriend we know of, never really speaks of boys, and seems to be more into being a good older sister than a party gal like the others. She is, of course, the film’s final girl in every conceivable manner, finishing off the baddie in the end. Finishing him off in the pool after cutting off his weapon (no, not his penis, but rather his really long power drill he uses to kill and maim his way to this final scene).

As mentioned, this was written as a parody of the genre, and the humor, of course, shines through. The true horror doesn’t even begin until the movie is nearly finished, the pizza guy’s death really starting the terror and the portion of the film dedicated to the girls running from the killer, hiding, running into the bodies of their various friends, etc. There are a lot of funny lines, especially between the new girl in town and her little sister who conveniently live next door to the house where the slumber party and ensuing horror take place. Also, a significant portion of the movie is filled with fake scares. The next door neighbor fella chopping a cleaver into a spider next to one of the girls outside getting firewood, cats jumping out of closets, people coming up behinds other characters, putting their hands on the person’s shoulders (aghh!!) There’s a good ten minutes filled with nothing but these fake scares, leaving one to think certain doom is around the corner, but nope- just another friendly character surprising someone. The teen humor of the girls is littered throughout…near the end, when the girls are cowering in fear of the killer they know is somewhere outside, they decide they’re hungry, so they cover up the pizza boy’s body and start chowing down on the pie. Absurdist to the extreme.

The gals at the titular slumber party!

The gals at the titular slumber party!

 

Slumber Party Massacre is an interesting take on the genre, parodying so many of the well known horror movie tropes, often doing so so many times that it becomes laughable, and that’s the point. A genre filled with men looking at nude or hopefully nude women, this is the one where the girls fight back. This one finishes with what is the epitome of the final girl (I guess Valerie isn’t much of a man’s name, so we do lose that part of the setup), and in doing so it’s a fairly well played out parody of many of the elements of horror in a very feminist way. An underrated gem, it might seem like pointless slasher populated with lots of T&A, but it’s so much more.