RJ Bayley Reviews: The Slumber Party Massacre

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The Slumber Party Massacre is a mixed up movie. The script was written by Rita Mae Brown: as a feminist activist and author she obviously created the script to lampoon the slasher, the genre that’s always been entangled in gender issues since Laurie Strode had a nasty run in with a certain Smith’s Grove Sanitarium escapee.

The Slumber Party Massacre was ultimately, however, filmed as a straight up slasher film by director Amy Holden Jones. As a result it’s a film that seems to be constantly changing its mind and doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Everything seems half-done and often contradictory.

Take the killer for example. Of course he’s got an enormous drill for drilling girls, the deliberately laughable size of which puts Reno Miller’s tool firmly in the shade. But beyond that Russ Thorn’s (a half-arsed horror name if ever there was one) only crime outside of mass murder is wearing double denim. It’s more heinous than a hockey mask, but it doesn’t really cut the mustard like an Edvard Munch mask or old Pizza Face’s pizza face.

Jones shows us some moments of brilliance. There’s a decapitation gag I literally applauded and the final conflict is dynamic and well shot. Action is generally very well handled, both in the build up and release. Yet it’s stranded in a petri dish of cinematic mould. There’s a great fridge joke too which would’ve worked wonders had the script been shot as intended. Here it’s still funny but startlingly out of place. Maybe it’s in contrast to the tone, or maybe it’s just that it’s an entertaining moment. The Slumber Party Massacre is proof that you can’t make a good movie out of a bad script, but you can make a bad movie out of a good one.

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