31 Screams in October, Vol. 3, #28: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Posted: October 30, 2016 in Movie Review
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28. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Director: Amy Holden Jones

Starring: Michele Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella, Debra Deliso, Andree Honore, Gina Mari, Jennifer Meyers

Unimpressed by horror movies with nuanced plots? Looking for something extremely lightweight? Have you ever wondered what a slasher movie written and directed by women would look like? “The Slumber Party Massacre” is your app for that. Made during the height of the slasher genre’s popularity, “The Slumber Party Massacre” was intended as a parody of the genre, but was filmed straight. As a result, this low-budget horror still contains some of the humor from the original script, yet is unburdened by standard things such as plot or character development.

Trish (Michele Michaels) is a high school students whose parents are going away for the weekend. This provides an opportunity for Trish and friends Kim (Debra Deliso), Diane (Gina Mari), and Jackie (Andree Honore) to get together for a slumber party. Trish also wants to invite Valerie (Robin Stille), the new girl in school, but is turned down when Valerie overhears Diane talking trash about her in the girls’ locker room. Meanwhile, a serial killer named Russ Thorn (Michael Villella) has escaped from prison, looking to add to the list of five murders for which he’d been serving time. His weapon of choice: a power drill. Quickly, he kills a telephone repair woman and appropriates her van, and then kills a female student who becomes locked in the school after going back for a textbook.

As night falls, the slumber party begins. Three boys, including Diane’s boyfriend, show up to join in. Instead of going to the party, Valerie, who lives next door, has elected to stay home and babysit her younger sister, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers). Their relationship seems to be a contentious one, full of squabbling and insults… so, your typical sibling rivalry. Courtney wants to be where the fun is, but Valerie says “no” to the party. It isn’t long before Russ Thorn shows up to crash the party, killing a neighbor who’d promised Trish’s mother he’d watch over the house. Thorn gets into Trish’s house via the garage door, which no one in the house seems to have a firm grasp on how to close properly. Diane and her boyfriend, who step out to the garage for a make out session, are next to die.

Inside the house, nothing yet seems to be amiss. While Trish is on the phone with her gym teacher (who is quite clearly no more than five years older than her students) discussing a recent baseball game, the others are waiting for the pizza guy to show up. When he does, the girls are horrified to see him collapse to the floor dead, with bloody holes drilled where his eyes ought to be. The coach overhears the screams, then calls Valerie to check on the situation before deciding it’s better if she goes there personally. No further calls to or from Trish’s house are possible, as Thorn has cut the phone line. Both of the remaining boys are killed outside the house.

Back inside, Thorn kills Jackie, causing Trish and Kim to barricade themselves upstairs. When Courtney takes it upon herself to go check out the party, Valerie follows her, hoping to find out if everything’s okay over there. Scared out of their minds at this point, Trish and Kim wonder if Valerie and the killer aren’t somehow in cahoots. Thorn breaks into the bedroom and attacks Trish and Kim, stealing Kim’s knife and stabbing her to death with it. Valerie and Courtney enter the house and discover Kim’s body stuffed inside the refrigerator. Courtney hides under the couch, while Valerie eludes Thorn by going down to the basement.

With Courtney still under the couch, Thorn switches places with the dead pizza guy under the sheet which the girls had placed over the body. Just then, the coach shows up, but Thorn gets the drop on her and kills her. Trish, who was nearby, stabs Thorn, but that just pisses him off. After taking her time choosing a weapon with which to arm herself, Valerie emerges from the basement to attack Thorn with a machete. The action spills outside near Trish’s family swimming pool. There, Valerie cuts off a piece of the drill bit from Thorn’s power drill before cutting off his left hand as he falls into the swimming pool. Believing the nightmare is over, Valerie and Trish hug. Suddenly, Thorn leaps out of the swimming pool, only to fall directly onto the machete, still being held tightly by Valerie.

“The Slumber Party Massacre” is cheap, and definitely looks it. But this is a slasher movie, and they work best when they appear rough around the edges in every respect. Kudos to actor Michael Villella, whose crazy eyes are the creepiest thing about this movie. The movie itself scores points by cutting through the BS and skipping right into the action. I do wonder what it would have looked like had the satirical nature of the original script been followed to the letter. But the end result is a movie that belongs as part of a horror marathon. There are certainly less interesting ways to spend 75 minutes of your time.


  1. vinnieh says:

    I did find the humour of it entertaining, particularly the pizza scene.

  2. Sylvia Williams says:

    What? No back story to explain why Thorn commits these murders?

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