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!
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.
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.