The Slumber Party Massacre Collection
Roger Corman’s Cult Classics
Directors: Amy Holden Jones, Deborah Brock, Sally Mattison
Cast: Michelle Michaels, Crystal Bernard, Yan Birch
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Shout! Factory has been going great guns with their Roger Corman’s Cult Classics line of DVDs and BDs. They have run the gambit from cheesy monster movies, sci-fi farces, and masterpieces of the weird. Now comes some slasher goodness with The Slumber Party Massacre Collection. This set of two discs contains all three of the SPM movies, but is that actually a good thing?
Well the first Massacre movie is a bonified slasher classer with the infamous “Driller Killer” who chases around a bunch of scantily-clad girls having a sleepover with a huge electric drill, usually held at crotch level just in case the symbolism was too subtle for you. The movie is pure silly slasher gold with lots of T & A, good gory kills, and a wicked sense of humor. This film alone is worth getting these DVDs for. But wait … there’s more. Not that the “more” in question is all that great.
I am not a fan of the sequel in name only that is Spm Part 2. Put succinctly, it’s not a good movie. It has little to do with the original other than the little sister from the 1st movie, played by a pre-Wings Crystal Bernard, having bad dreams that warn her “not to go all the way.” Yeah, the whole thing is a ham-fisted parable on virginity and a young girl’s fear of sex.
But as far as being a slasher, or even just an enjoyable movie, it fails utterly. It is boring and silly, a bad combination no matter how you cut it. I say it’s boring because it takes twenty-five minutes for the first nudie shot to appear (the only one in the movie) and almost an hour before the first kill, both of these break the cardinal rules of both Roger Corman and Slasher Flicks 101. Oh, and when you factor in that this movie is only 80 minuets long things really get depressing.
I say this flick is silly because most of this movie is just about the frightened virgin having weird dreams that seem to be ripped off of one of the lesser Nightmare On Elm Street sequels, and once more in case subtlety alludes you, a disposable cop character is even named Kruger … ha, get it! However, once the little girl does the dirty deed of the naughty sex she summons a 1950s prancing, shucking and jiving, do-wop singing Fonzie reject with a big red electric guitar that has a two foot drill bit sticking out of its neck. You see, it has a drill in it, so it has to be a sequel to the original movie, right? There’s no possible way that the drill was just shoehorned into the script of a preexisting NoES knock off as a way to cash in on the infamy of the original Massacre film. Nope, no possible way.
The third film is a bit of a return to form for the series. Gone is the silly rock n’ roll guy and all the Elm Street dream rip offs. It’s a straight up slasher and a bit of a whodunit as the identity of the new Driller Killer remains a mystery through most of the film. There’s also a killing at the 8 minute mark, so right there it keeps you awake better than the previous film did. Part 3 is not a horrible movie, nor is it really good. It falls thoroughly into the “unremarkable” category, so I won’t remark on it further.
Shout! Factory has put all three of these discs out on DVD, but not Blu-ray. That’s kind of a disappointment but I guess they didn’t want to spend the cash on up converting all three movies when really, only the first one would be worth the effort. However, there are some nice extras to be found here. Each movie has it’s own audio commentary and I was surprised to find out the one for Part Two wasn’t just the filmmakers repeating “We’re sorry, we’re so very sorry” for the entire length of the film. There is also a three part documentary about the series, with one part devoted to each movie. Trailers, photo and poster galleries round off the extras.
As I said in the beginning, the original Slumber Party Massacre makes these DVDs worth the price. The other two movies are just icing on the cake, great for cooperationists like me, but they can be watched or ignored as you wish. This collection comes out October 5th and I highly recommend all horrorheads picking it up when it does.