The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The Slumber Party Massacre
Director: Amy Holden Jones
Writer: Rita Mae Brown, Amy Holden Jones
Cast: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella, Debra De Liso, Andree Honore, Gina Smika Hunter, Jennifer Meyers, Joseph Alan Johnson, David Millbern, Jim Boyce, Pamela Roylance, Brinke Stevens
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2019

Trish’s (Michelle Michaels) parents will be gone for the weekend, so Trish invited her friends Kim (Debra De Liso), Jackie (Andree Honore) and Diane (Gina Smika Hunter) for a slumber party. When she wants to invite new girl Valerie (Robin Stille) as well, the others balk, though. So the four of them find themselves at Trish’s house, preparing for a nice evening in. What they don’t know is that killer Russ Thorn (Michael Villella) is on the loose – and he set his sights on the girls.

As one of the few slashers written and directed by a woman, The Slumber Party Massacre has been on my watchlist for a while, so I was very glad that the Festival programmed it and even more glad that I really enjoyed the film. If you like classic slashers, make sure you see it, too.

The film poster showing four women in underwear cowering in front of a man with a huge drill.

The Slumber Party Massacre is not so much scary as it is fun (and sometimes not quite on purpose), but that’s just par for the course for a slasher movie anyway. I didn’t really expect the film to be scary. And it has a lot of other things to offer instead.

I certainly enjoyed the abundance of phallic symbolism sorrounding the murderer – including a castration metaphor. It does get a little silly sometimes, but that, too, just fits the tone of the film and is a nice counter to the many slashers that are all about men empowering themselves by hurting and killing women.

Trish (Michelle Michaels) lying in bed.

Given the feminist undertones here, I was surprised by the many asses and boobs (all from women) we got to see. I mean, I know that writer Brown is lesbian, but as far as I can tell, Holden isn’t. Maybe it was a studio requirement, maybe they just felt that it belonged in a slasher. At least, the scenes aren’t completely exploitative, but they are definitely not without objectification.

Be that as it may, The Slumber Party Massacre is still an enjoyable film. It has likeable characters and even some hints at a queer lovestory. That’s definitely more than many other slashers have to offer.

Kim (Debra De Liso), Trish (Michelle Michaels), Jackie (Andree Honore) and Diane (Gina Smika Hunter) at the titular slumber party.

Summarizing: Fun and a classic.

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