Slumber Party Massacre Review

The Film

Does the popularity of stalk and slash movies say something about modern urban fear? Does the desire to watch attractive young women be consumed first through the lens of a camera and then through a killer's perspective say something about the need to possess or destroy what our eyes can only covet? Just why are these borderline misogynist films so successful that Michael Bay is getting even more wealthy remaking them all?

I say misogynist because generally it's men who watch them, men who make them and men who profit from them. These films are often more likely to embrace the killer's perspective, nearly always a sexually twisted man, and punish those women objects of that gaze who are sexually liberated rather than chaste. Similarly, the mode of killing in these films often destroys through a masculine act of penetration - the sunken knife, the piercing of the usual female object by the watching male threat. For most self aware, politically mature and grown up viewers, such films can leave you rather disliking yourself for liking them.
Slumber Party Massacre in terms of simple construction is as dumb a tale as any of the films that it tries to exploit. It steals plot points and devices from films like When a Stranger Calls and Halloween, and it emulates a lot of the worst characteristics of the genre that I mention above. It does though go way over the top with a knowingness around the story that enjoys the potential misogyny and, importantly it is a film directed by a woman, written by a woman, and almost exclusively performed by women. It's very much the case that the finished product covers the mainly male bases but it does it in a way that tips a large wink that it knows exactly how foolish the desires of this audience are.

The story, such as it is, involves several cool but snotty teenage babes having a sleepover whilst sensible social outcast and Laurie Strode-a-like Valerie looks after her sexually inquisitive younger sister. Cue escaped murderer with an impressively long power tool, a plethora of nubile disrobing, teenagers doing what they shouldn't and you get Slumber Party Massacre. And of course, the film is one long set of slash and stalk set-pieces that very much gives its audience what it wants.
Yet, there are great touches. The unremitting presentation of the killer's tool in overtly Freudian ways, the decision to tuck into a delivered pizza prised from the grasp of a recently murdered delivery boy and a comeuppance which puts the gender war back into balance. Short, peppy and very derivative, Slumber Party Massacre also manages to be a witty and competent version of a slasher movie, it uses the formula of many before it but does it with a welcome wryness.

Of course films like Student Bodies at the time and Scream since have been more overt in their satire, but this entry in an often stupid and reactionary genre is preferable to both in my book. Slumber Party Massacre delivers.

Technical Specs

Sadly, the film has been given a letterboxed transfer. This is a budget disc so don't get too despondent though as despite rather too much blue in the colour balance and some smearing the image isn't all that bad, not being edge enhanced or greatly sharpened. Grain is pretty obvious, contrast seems strong and mild print damage and dirt is little to complain about. Overall, the quality would be easily improved upon but I was satisfied that for a budget title this was acceptable.
The sole mono track lacks clarity and dialogue in certain sequences isn't as easily understood as I would prefer. The high end of the music is reproduced well but the bassier effects did seem quite unrefined and indistinct. No subs, no extras and no menu.


This film doesn't seem to have had an anamorphic transfer on these shores or across the pond yet, so this barebones release is little different to existing releases on that score. It's awfully cheap and jolly good so go on tempt yourself...

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out of 10

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