The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) – Film Review

Director Amy Holden Jones

Writer: Rita Mae Brown

Starring: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella

Rating: ★★½

The original The Slumber Party Massacre was released in 1982, at the height of the slasher craze. The original script was written by feminist writer Rita Mae Brown, as a parody of the genre, with the title Sleepless Nights. Instead when the film went into production it was a much more standard slasher film. The story follows a group of teenage girls at a slumber party who are attacked by an escaped serial killer who brandishes a giant drill. In the years since its release the film has gained a cult following, as well as two original sequels, a surprisingly brilliant reboot, and quite a few spin-offs.

While it was originally intended to be a parody of the genre, it instead comes across as a formulaic film. There are parts where it’s doing nothing more than copying Halloween from four years prior and there’s nothing to really set it apart or make it unique, besides the killer’s choice of weapon. Despite that it’s still entertaining. There’s a good amount of humour and the hint of feminism makes the film feel a lot less dated than it could of, especially since there’s a lot of gratuitous nudity in opening half of the film.

It doesn’t take long for the blood to start gushing, with the killing starting very early in the film and there isn’t a long gap between any of the deaths. There’s not a lot of gore on show, probably due to a low budget, but the sound of screams being drowned out by the drill as the camera pans away is probably scarier anyway. Later in the film the stabbings are shown, but there’s nothing impressive about the effects, even for the time. The original Friday the 13th had been out for a little while by this point, which has some great effects on show.

Running at a little over seventy minutes, the film flies by. It’s shorter than some episodes of modern TV, and that’s probably its greatest strength. It’s short, sweet, and bloody. It’s pure entertainment, with paper thin characters that you don’t really care about, being killed one after the other by a killer who has just as little development. It’s a good horror film to watch with a group of friends and have a good time. It’s funny, not always intentionally, and that makes it worth a go. One of the funniest bits is the neighbour to one of the girls, who just keeps on turning up making everyone jump and is just downright creepy.

While the original is enertaining, if you haven’t already, watch the reboot from last year, which is a great parody of the genre fulfilling the original premise.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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