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Monday, May 1, 2017

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)



I’m a child of the ‘80s and being a horror fan I of course grew up watching slasher movies. I remember looking at the covers of the VHS tapes at the video store. There was never enough time to watch them all. One of the movies that I never checked out was Slumber Party Massacre II. Time to see what I missed.

This is a loose sequel to the original Slumber Party Massacre. In case you have seen that movie, our main character is the younger sister of one of the main characters from the original. Courtney is grown up and now plays guitar with her all girl band. They take the weekend to get away from the parents. After some semi-naked pillow fighting the boyfriends show up. Not long after that a killer starts to pick the off one by one with his guitar drill! All the time that he does this he quotes lines from songs, dances, and occasionally sings. Eventually Courtney kills him and is safe… or is she?

I’ve made a lot of friends who also love horror, especially slasher movies. Slumber Party Massacre is very popular with many of them and honestly, I don’t get it. The movie is very uneven with long stretches of filler. Conversations in the car, by the pool, in the living room are common. We also get a couple of songs from the girl band, which could be best summed up as bad rockabilly. Even for a slasher movie these characters are completely underdeveloped. It doesn’t help that the cast is terrible. The best actress in the bunch is Jennifer Rhodes and she appears only briefly as Courtney’s Mom.

The one decent looking kill
The traditional hallmarks of a slasher movie are the gore and nudity. You can also toss some comedy and/or self-aware jabs at the audience but those aren’t necessary for a good entry into the genre. For the first two the movie is a mixed bag. There are a couple decent makeup jobs and a single decent kill on screen. But even by the late ‘80s when these movies were neutered by the censors Slumber Party Massacre II is very tame. When it comes to the nudity I suppose it is okay. But it is presented in a very forced and dumb sequence with the girls in a pillow fight while dancing and pouring champagne on each other. Maybe had I seen this when I was younger I might not have felt the same, but at my age it feels forced. Like the filmmakers shoehorned the scene in for the sake of nudity alone. I don’t like it.

The killer is played for laughs. He dances and cracks this way thru the proceedings with what is I think an attempt at comedic flair all while killing off the cast. Sadly, I’ve seen it done much better and with a much scarier edge. The only thing slightly amusing about the killer is his absurd choice of weapon. The guitar/drill is considered iconic by some horror fans. In my opinion it is just gimmicky and not terribly memorable.

Without giving away any spoilers I do acknowledge that there is a legitimate argument made to explain the disjointed plot and silly killer. In my opinion you still need to make a movie that is entertaining and fun to watch. While you can try explain away the flaws they are still there. Again, without giving away spoilers there is an entire franchise that has basically made good movies while dealing with a similar plot device.

Time to sum things up. I might be picky but I want to care about the characters in a horror movie. This way I’m interested in what I’m watching. If that doesn’t work at least give me some good gore. Slumber Party Massacre II brings nothing to the table. I’d say pass on this one. I might have to re-watch the original or maybe check out part III which I’ve also not seen before just to cleanse my horror movie palette.

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer 

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