31 Days of Halloween — Day 10: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) — by Dr. Shock

The Slumber Party Massacre 1982

Editor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast and the Land of the Creeps horror podcast. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.

Once movies like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” started raking in the cash, most figured it was only a matter of time before B-movie Guru Roger Corman threw his hat into the ‘80s slasher ring, which is exactly what he did with “The Slumber Party Massacre.” Yet, despite its usual mix of gruesome kills and gratuitous nudity, there’s more to this 1982 horror film than initially meets the eye.

With her parents out of town, high school senior Trish (Michele Michaels) invites her good friends Kim (Debra De Liso), Jackie (Andree Honore), and Diane (Gina Smika Hunter) to spend the night at her house. Against Diane’s wishes, an invitation is also extended to Valerie (Robin Stille), a new neighbor of Trish’s who recently transferred to their school (Valerie politely declines, mostly because she’ll be looking after her 15-year-old sister Courtney, played by Jennifer Meyers). As it turns out, Trish picked the worst possible evening to host a slumber party; serial killer Russ Thorn (Michael Villela) has just escaped from a nearby mental facility, and when the sun goes down, the friends will discover he’s closer than they think.

Aside from being a solid ‘80s slasher flick, “The Slumber Party Massacre” also has a few other things going for it. For one, it’s well directed by Amy Holden Jones; the scene in which the killer is stalking Linda (Brinke Stevens, in an early film role) through the school’s abandoned halls is tense as hell, as are the later sequences set in Trish’s house (both before and after the shit has hit the fan). Unlike other slasher flicks of this era, “The Slumber Party Massacre” boasts a number of strong female characters (along with being directed by a woman, the screenplay was penned by Rita Mae Brown); and Michael Villella turns in a remarkably creepy performance as the killer (though plenty sinister when he’s on the prowl, the scene where we hear this psycho’s voice for the first time is particularly unsettling).

Despite its more “artistic” aspects, “The Slumber Party Massacre” is every bit an ‘80s slasher film (thanks to the killer’s trusty drill, there are plenty of blood-drenched kill scenes) that benefits from “the Corman touch” (as mentioned in one of the DVD’s featurettes, nudity was an important part of a Roger Corman production around this time, which is why the shower sequence runs as long as it does). The fact that it offers more than the norm is just icing on the cake.

— Dr. Shock

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6 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 10: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) — by Dr. Shock

  1. Day 10: The Girl in the Photographs (2016)

    Rating: 6.5/10 (rental)

    — — — — — Contains spoilers — — — — —

    What I liked:
    – This is a very basic slasher that’s just good, dumb fun.
    – The film starts with a bang, with some suspense built by the killer’s stalking and a brutal introduction to how they operate.
    – The kills and gore are brutal and done well from a practical effects perspective.
    – I love the film’s idea of terrorizing an individual with these grim photos; I just wish they developed this idea better and went somewhere with it (more on that below).
    – The main protagonist is very likable.
    – The masks and behavior of the killers is very creepy.

    What I didn’t like:
    – Karl Penn; it’s unfortunate that one of the main characters is so unlikable and, in fact, four of the six main players in the film are not people you’ll feel like rooting for.
    – The dialogue is cringe-worthy in spots.
    – I’m still not quite sure what the motivation of the killers is, i.e. exactly how/why they select their “target,” what their ultimate desire is for that target and why they are taking these photographs and showing them to the target.
    – The dumb cops cliche.

  2. Day 10: The House of the Devil (2009)
    Rating: 8.5/10

    I’ve seen this film many times and really enjoy it. I can be an impatient viewer but I have no problem with the slow pacing of this film. It’s deliberate, creepy, and well acted. Fans of pizza will enjoy this film!

  3. I didn’t know this was Roger Corman movie! Hot damn! I’m going to watch it this October if I can! Great review doc. I’m really interested now.

    On a different note, I scored a film starring Brinke Stevens last year. She is still a horror diva. Love her.

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