Horror Becomes Her - Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Horror and films directed by women are both big blind spots for me, so I am taking this deep dive into some of the more outre films I have come across in my movie watching.
When I first watched Wes Craven’s Scream, I knew theoretically that Craven was parodying horror movies and their tropes, but I wasn’t familiar enough with the movies he was parodying to fully appreciate it. Slumber Party Massacre feels like it would have been the prime target for Scream. There are the silly “teenage” girls making unwise decisions, the
constant fakeouts, the unstoppable killer that is able to take perfect advantage of the stupidity of its protagonists, etc. Also, the ogling of these women who are clearly in their 20’s was over the top and gross. If I hadn’t known that this had originally been written as a parody by Rita Mae Brown, then I would have dismissed this movie.
However, there were redeeming aspects to this movie, namely the little humor that did peek through and also some of the reveals, such as the corpse in the refrigerator scene, are well-staged. There are some not so subtle jokes about penetration that are actually quite funny, including when one of the girls manages to chop off part of the drill that the killer uses. Also, the gore is well-executed, and it is totally understandable why gorehounds would love this movie. And the girls do ultimately give as good as they get, especially in a pretty satisfyingly bloody climax. Overall, Slumber Party Massacre has definitely been the most entertaining and well-directed that I have seen so far. Amy Holden Jones is a good director and probably a better writer who would also go onto write a lot of solid entertainment such as Mystic Pizza and Indecent Proposal. It’s also the one that I could buy a more subversive feminist reading of, even though it ultimately fell to that Corman influence again.