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January 22, 2011

Movie Review: Slumber Party Massacre Collection


Throughout Roger Corman’s career (most notably in the 70s and 80s), the legendary cult film producer and director has taken a lot of unwarranted abuse by critics and filmgoers for producing too many films that portray women as just objects, that are best seen either naked or getting killed. To me that’s a bunch of crap. Few producers have empowered the female gender like Roger Corman has. Sure they get naked, and yes plenty have perished at the hands of Carnosuars and Driller Killers, but some talented ladies have actually been employed to do more, like direct, write and produce. The three directors of the Slumber Party Massacre trilogy are all women and gladly participate in the new Shout! Factory release of the popular trilogy. That's my evidence, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Gloria Steinem!

Buy The Slumber Party Massacre Collection on DVD!

Corman saw much promise in director Amy Jones, so with Roger's blessing she gladly took the helm for the first film, that would later spawn two official sequels and soak up thousands of kleenex across the world. Russ Thorn (Michael Villella) is a serial killer on-the-loose who wields a massive power drill, scoping the neighborhood and the local high school for victims. Of course he finds some very suitable prey in some sexy teenagers partaking in a slumber party put together by the very virginal, Trish (Michelle Michaels). Slumber Party Massacre’s biggest highlights are an uber explicit shower scene with several gals on the basketball team soaping up, Villella’s extremely underrated turn as “Russ Thorn” and of course the gory drill deaths. Villella not only adds a sick lecherous feel to Thorn but also has a unique look (greasy hair, beady eyes).


Slumber Party Massacre II takes a pretty goofy turn surrounding the plight of an all-girl band attempting to hit it big with their rockin’ tunes and, yes , the mandatory slumber party. Our killer has changed, the Driller Killer is now played by Andrew Dice Clay doppelgagnger, Atanas Ilitch. Ilitch is great, but he’s far from the character Villella brought to life in the first film. His guitar/drill that he uses to dispatch the “slumbering” beauties( including Wings cutie, Chrystal Bernard) is a surprisingly well designed piece of equipment. Overall, Slumber Party Massacre II is an enjoyable film , it’s just far less of a horror film then the original.

With Sally Mattison’s, Slumber Party Massacre III we drop the laughs and go back to the original's concept, just no Villella . The graphic violence and welcome nudity in part three is here, and helps gets you through the poor acting that is rampant among the majority of actors. Some would say violence that it even goes a little too far. It's even a bit more mysogynistic than part one. In the audio commentary, Mattison talks about how she thought that one kill in particular may have been pushing the limits of taste. The use of the drill as a phallic symbol is even more evident in this entry then the previous two films and the fact that the killer is impotent also might add that extra volume of sleaze. Slumber Party Massacre III is most enjoyable for its ineptness.





Shout! Factory has managed to pack this set to the brim with extras. We get three audio commentaries with directors, Jones, Brock and Mattison and some of the actors, including Villella and Stevens. The commentaries are Slumber Party Massacre fans dream as their loaded with information and moderated perfectly by Slumber Party Massacre super-fan, Tony Brown. Brown is non-stop with his questions for the participants and even is observations are very welcome.

Another gem in the extras department is the documentary, Sleepless Nights, produced by Jason Paul Collum. Each film is given around 20 minutes during the 60 minute documentary. You have an option to watch them one at a time or together. It’s an awesome extra with much of the best material being the interviews for Slumber Party Massacre I. Collum also writes some informative liner notes that takes a personal direction, as with Brown, he’s obviously a Slumber Party freak. Trailers for the features are included as well.

The Slumber Party Massacre Collection is an amazing release from Shout! Factory and easily one of the best DVDs of 2010. The films are not only more visually pleasing but the sheer amount of extra features that Shout! Factory has put together, give it some added value that will keep you quite busy. Highly Recommended!

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