An oppressively hot summer and the general uselessness of Windows 8 has kept me off of the computer, but Windows 10 is out now I and saw something that I need to talk about.
Last night I watched two movies from the late 80’s/early 90’s, an era that has always been hazily combined in my mind. Both of these movies were put on for the intention of background noise while I did other things, I find I get a lot more done when there’s something to listen to or glance at every so often. The first film was about a troubled young woman who gets into a semi-abusive relationship with a sparkly vampire who’s been stalking her. I know what you’re thinking ‘isn’t that the plot of Twilight?’ It is, but this was To Sleep With a Vampire, which is a lot like Twilight if Bella were a Stripper and Edward was…well he’s the same. Think Twilight if it was produced in the 90’s by Roger Corman.
While To Sleep with a Vampire is fun for being the proto-version of one of the worst things ever, it was the second film that got me to brave the heat of the laptop battery and update my blog: Slumber Party Massacre II.
I haven’t see the original Slumber Party Massacre, nor have I seen the third or the similarly themed Sorority House Massacre films. I don’t need to, without watching I can say that these films peaked with Slumber Party Massacre II. I fear that watching the others will taint the brilliance that is Slumber Party Massacre II.
Yeah you read that right, I think that there’s a certain brilliance to Slumber Party Massacre II. Yes, it is a typical 80’s slasher filled with bad actors poorly playing archetypes, who die horribly, but it’s so strange and surreal that all of that is forgotten. Everyone stares into the camera, which in most cases is just plain wrong in a film. But it kinds of works in Slumber Party Massacre II, because I think it’s trying to emulate the music videos of the time. Because at it’s heart, Slumber Party Massacre II is an 80’s music video with a lot of gore and a little nudity. Slumber Party Massacre II gives you the same kind of enjoyment that you’d get from Birdemic, the Room or Troll 2, it goes beyond so bad it’s good. It’s so bad it’s amazing.
Slumber Party Massacre II tells the story of Courtney, who barely survived the first Slumber Party Massacre years earlier, and her band mates planning a weekend band practice at one of the girl’s summer condo. Courtney talks her mom out of visiting her sister( another survivor of the original) at the mental institution and gets permission to go to the titular Slumber Party. It’s a pretty standard horror movie setup, bringing the principal cast together for their inevitable slaughter. Their characters are fairly thin and can easily be described by their sole personality trait, slutty, nice, ditzy and Courtney rounding out the group with crazy. Later their boyfriends show up, jerk, nice guy and cardboard.
Throughout the film Courtney experiences strange dreams where she simultaneously fantasizes about her new boyfriend, cardboard, and witnesses her friends getting slaughtered. Despite her best efforts and slumber party shenanigans, featuring the required 80’s nudity, the dreams start to weigh on her and she starts to lose her mind. This leads to some decent fake outs and some great body horror. Seriously, death by zit, it’s amazing.
Courtney’s group of stereotypes start to worry about her sanity, but being 80’s caricatures leave her alone with her cardboard camera staring boyfriend. As with all 80’s horror anyone with any sexual inclination with be punished in the most brutal way and before Courtney and cardboard can copulate, Courtney’s craziness comes to fruition and the movie becomes awesome.
So before I go any further, I’ll ask you a question. Are characters like Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krugger, Michael Myers and Leatherface really scary? After their initial reveal, do they hold up, do they scare you? For me it’s a no, the darkness hiding behind the shadows and unseen threats will always be scarier. While iconic, the baddies of horror lose their terror factor once you see them, once you learn a little about them. Tragic back stories are fun and interesting, but they’re not scary. So I’ll ask you another question, does the antagonist of a horror film need to be scary for it to make an impact? If Slumber Party Massacre has taught me anything, it’s no, and the sillier the killer the better.
The Driller Killer can only be described a punk rock god with the ability play a guitar with no strings, as the neck is a fully functional drill that he uses for murder most amazing. There’s a part of me that thinks he might be a bit of the inspiration for Baphomet in the Wicked and the Divine.
He’s not even that effective of a killer, spending most of his time jamming and singing about killing rather than killing. It feels more like the characters fault for not running away during his musical numbers; though to their credit he can teleport. When he does get one of fodder teens in his sights you can tell that he really enjoys his job. In other horror films the killer sort of has this attitude of ‘you people’ and seems annoyed that they have to kill all these teenagers. The Driller Killer, he’s having the time of his life; he parties for keeps. I know you’re not supposed to cheer for the killer, but the Driller Killer is so entertaining, so much fun and so damn likable, you can’t help but cheer for him.
It’s not like it’s a modern horror movie where the characters are so disgustingly unlikable that you have no choice but to cheer for the killer. Despite their one dimension, they’re not bad people, you don’t actively want them to die. They’re fairly nice teens who just happen to get in the way of the embodiment of the Chaotic Evil alignment from Dungeons & Dragons.
So if you have ninety minutes to kill, go watch it, you won’t be sorry. Slumber Party Massacre II will make your day or at the very least prove to be so stupid that it’ll put a smile on your face. It’s not hard to find, it’s on Youtube…in fact I’ll put it at the end of this post.