Directed by Amy Jones
Written by Rita Mae Brown
Cast: Michelle Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella, Debra Deliso, Andree Honore
Shout Factory continues to release some of the most beloved cult favorites in horror, fantasy and sci-fi movies from yesteryear. One of their recent releases was the slasher movie The Slumber party Massacre. Most people probably have no idea the real story behind this movie, and anyone who thinks this is just another garden variety slasher movie from the 80s should take the time to check it out.
The history behind this movie is something that books should be written about. Screenwriter Rita Mae Brown is an activist for the feminist movement in America, and while the slasher movies were all about getting girls naked and then killing them in gruesome ways, Brown had other ideas. She wrote the script as a satire of the slasher genre and then sold it.
The movie then went to first-time director Amy Jones, an editor who was given a chance at a directing career by Roger Corman, who produced the movie. It’s pretty clear that Brown’s satire and feminist allusions were ignored mostly as the movie was shot as a straight slasher movie – sort of. Jones admitted on the commentary track that there were guidelines that had to be followed for every Roger Corman movie. There had to be nudity in the first 5-10 minutes and then again later in the film.
Fans who just want a classic slasher movie won’t be disappointed. There is a long drawn out shower scene where the camera just slowly pans up and down the naked bodies of the women’s basketball team. There is another scene later in the movie where the girls at the slumber party are all getting naked while two guys peep in the windows at them. So, we get the nudity. Then we get the gore, as the killer was an escaped serial killer who used the drill as a weapon.
What people really need to keep in mind before watching this movie is that Amy Jones directed it to be funny. The scenes with people getting killed were done in a manner what was meant to be humorous to ease the tension. It was still bloody and gory and demented, but watched as a satire it really does work as a funny and bloody horror movie.
There is an audio commentary track that is really good, but also lacking at the same time. There is a ton of great chat in the movie, including a look at how a lot of the scenes were accomplished. This is also where Amy Jones talks about Roger Corman’s rules for his movies. It was also fun to hear Jones continuously talking about how amazing the girl’s bodies were.
However, the most disappointing thing was that there was no real talk about Rita Mae Brown’s feminist based satire script outside of the fact that Jones said it really needed some work. Amy Jones and actors Michael Villela (Russ Thorn) and Debra De Liso (Kim) were on the commentary.
Also included is a documentary feature that talks to almost everyone involved. This was a great documentary. Some highlights include the cast and director talking about how star Robin Stille was such a happy and bright person to work with, yet committed suicide 14 years later.
There were also some fantastic comments by Michael Villela about how he approached his character. His idea was that Thorn was making love to the women when he drilled them to death. He even said that, when the drill bit was cut off the drill, he imagined it was his penis being cut off. The guy was very method (he hid in the bushes and watched the girls eat lunch on set to freak them out).
There were also trailers for the three Slumber Party Massacre movies, a still gallery and a strange interview with Rigg Kennedy, who played the next door neighbor. It ends with him performing some of his spoken word performance art.