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Film / The Slumber Party Massacre

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This started out so fun...

"Close your eyes for a second... and sleep forever."

A 1982 American Slasher Movie scripted by feminist writer Rita Mae Brown and directed by Amy Holden Jones (who later wrote the first Beethoven film).

A group of teenaged girls decide to have a Slumber Party, with all that comes with the territory – booze, pot, skimpy clothing, and perverted guys crashing it. Unfortunately, a maniac has escaped from a mental institute, and seeks to continue the deadly work that he started over a decade ago by carving the girls up with a power drill...

The film spawned a pair of sequels: Slumber Party Massacre II in 1987, and Slumber Party Massacre III in 1990. Notably, this has the distinction of being the first horror film franchise to be completely written and directed by women. Slumber Party Massacre, a contemporary reimagining of the original film directed by Danika Esterhazy (The Banana Splits Movie), had its premiere on Syfy on October 16, 2021.

The trilogy also had a number of pseudo-sequels and spinoffs, including Sorority House Massacre, Cheerleader Massacre, and Hard to Die.

This massacred party has examples of:

  • Achilles' Power Cord: Hiding in the basement, Valerie picks up a portable circular saw and tries to run with it upstairs to confront Thorn, but it comes unplugged before she manages to get to the top of the stairs.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Trish, Kim, and Jackie eavesdrop on Diane calling her boyfriend, and much to their amusement, find out that she calls him "Booboo".
  • Allegorical Character: Russ Thorn is designed to represent the male sex drive and a woman's fear of penetration. Russ's drill weapon is given a lot of phallic imagery and he makes a few sexual comments "Takes a lot of love for a person to do this".
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Locker room. All the other girls are complaining about Trish inviting Valerie to the slumber party, making nasty, catty comments about Valerie. Valerie is changing into her clothes on the other side of the row of lockers, and hears everything.
  • Beef Bandage: After giving Jeff a black eye when he startles her in the garage, Kim substitutes a couple of hot dogs for this.
  • Behind the Black: As the slumber partiers change their clothes, they completely fail to see Neil and Jeff staring at them from behind the window, simply because the five of them are never in the same shot.
  • Between My Legs: The movie poster, as seen above. Also, notice the placement of the drill. The same shot (drill hanging between the legs) is done during one of the actual murders of the girls as well in the film.
  • Big Bad: Russ Thorn, the escaped mass murderer who likes to kill people.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Jackie, the film's sole person of color, is one of the last to die.
  • Cat Scare: Cleaning up the mess she made in the kitchen, Jana hears a strange scratching noise in her house. She goes to investigate, and pinpoints the source to a closet. She opens the door, and a screaming cat leaps out. How did it get locked in there? Nobody knows. How did it get to the top shelf? Nobody knows. The film then proceeds to do the same with pranking teens and a neighbor killing snails with a meat cleaver. At one point there is a streak of seven consecutive false scares before the killer shows up.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Just before the end credits roll, police sirens can be heard in the distance.
  • Cool Teacher: Coach Jana is fair and encouraging towards her students both on and off the basketball court and goes to Trish's house out of concern for the girls' safety.
  • Cut Phone Lines: After making his presence known to the partiers, Thorn cuts the phone line to the house just as they try to call for help.
  • Dead Man's Chest: Thorn hides Kim's body inside a fridge. Courtney discovers it when she's going to snatch a beer.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Thorn briefly pretends to be the pizza guy behind the door of the slumber partiers' house. When they ask about the money they owe for the pizzas, he answers with his current body count.
    Jeff: What's the damage?
    Thorn: Six, so far.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Before he attempts to kill Trish, Thorn takes some time to fondle his drill and say things like "I love you" and "I know you want it".
  • Dramatic Thunder: Thunder rolls in the background as Thorn comes inside through the window, and starts creeping towards the unsuspecting Trish and Kim.
  • Eye Scream: After the pizza boy rings the bell, the partiers gather money to pay him and open the door. To their horror, an eyeless corpse falls inside.
  • Fanservice: A huge amount of it with various states of nudity, short-shorts, women playing basketball in said short-shorts, and slumber party Vapor Wear.
  • Final Girl: Averted with Valerie who is a typical good girl, but isn't the only survivor in the film.
  • Foreshadowing: The girls read the horoscope for Scorpio, which is Diane's sign, which states that she's going to "get ahead" with the opposite sex. She later finds her boyfriend decapitated.
  • Furniture Blockade: Trish and Kim barricade the bedroom door with dressers. The killer instead breaks into the room through the window, and the two girls are unable to move all of the furniture to escape out the door in time to keep Kim from being the next victim.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Russ Thorn has no personality, or backstory that would give him some sort of motivation for the things he does. He's just some psycho who killed people in the past, got locked up, escaped and is now killing again. Some of his dialogue implies that he might be a sexual sadist, but that's it.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Trish and her friends are into boys and partying, and Trish's room has many stuffed animals, but the girls are also skilled basketball players.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: The title tells everything what the potential viewer needs to know about the film; that it has gratuitous fan service and plenty of death.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Trish's first scene has her throwing out her old toys, but deciding to keep a stuffed dog which she pets the head of.
  • I'll Kill You!: Screaming in pain for getting his hand chopped off, Thorn starts screaming this word for word at Valerie before she slashes his stomach open.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Thorn is finally killed when he jumps on a machete held by Valerie, and is impaled by it.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Thorn kills Mr. Canton, who is busy killing snails that threaten his garden by drilling through the back of his neck and lets go of it, just to show Canton's corpse to the audience.
  • Indecisive Parody: Confirmed by Word of God. The writers wrote it as a send up of slasher movies with its foul-mouthed, sexually active cast who are stalked by a straw misogynist. The directors treated it as a normal slasher movie, however. It was also complicated by the fact Roger Corman insisted on both the title as well as an addition of numerous nude scenes.
  • Insult Backfire: When Trish calls Diane a snob for not wanting to invite Valerie to the slumber party, Diane retorts that only important people can be snobs.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: After they find the body of the pizza guy and the phone lines are cut, Jeff and Neil make a break for the neighbors' house to try and get help while Trish, Jackie, and Kim stay locked in the house. Jeff doesn't make it past the garage and Neil makes it to Valerie's house, only to be ignored until it's too late.
  • Machete Mayhem: The saw failing her, Valerie picks up a machete in the basement to confront Thorn with.
  • Male Gaze: There are plenty of shots of female backsides and undressings. Since this movie was written and directed by women, it's likely intended as a deliberate send-up of the trope.
  • Man Bites Man: Neil desperately attacks Thorn with a knife. As they struggle on the ground Thorn bites him, takes the knife and proceeds to stab him repeatedly.
  • Match Cut: There's a match cut between Valerie, finally getting off her butt to find out why Neil is pounding on her door, to Thorn appearing in the next scene behind Neil. Then, after Valerie has gone back to watch her slasher film on TV while Thorn is stabbing Neil to death in the front yard, there are match cuts between Neil's murder and the murder on TV, which are staged identically.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: All of the men in the film die horrifying and ignominious deaths. This was part of the parody element intended by the author.
  • Not Quite Dead: Mortally wounded, Thorn falls into a pool and as a relieved Valerie hugs her sister Courtney, he rises from it to attack them once more.
    • After being stabbed with a drill and stuffed within the car with Thorn's other victims, Jeff manages to live long enough to weakly drag himself to Trish's front door. Unsure if it's him or the killer, the girls don't let him in and hear him being finished off by Thorn.
  • Off with His Head!: Diane leaves her boyfriend John for a moment in his car. When she gets back, she finds his corpse with its head put back on top of it, ready for a scare and a scream.
  • Once is Not Enough: As Thorn attacks Trish and Kim inside the room that they barricaded themselves in, Trish manages to momentarily knock him out with a baseball bat. She and Kim then start removing the makeshift barricade, ignoring the unconscious killer lying helplessly on the floor.
  • The Peeping Tom: Two of the boys engage in this behavior and provide the audience a look.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Jeff tries to make a break from the house besieged by Thorn through the garage, but finds the backdoor locked. Then Diane's corpse drops from above and as he screams, as Thorn attacks him from behind.
  • Psychosexual Horror: In this 1982 horror movie, a group of teenage girls decide to have a Slumber Party but are unfortunately terrorized by a maniac with a power drill who starts killing them one by one. The main antagonist, Russ Thorn, is designed to represent the male sex drive and a woman's fear of penetration. Russ's drill weapon is given a lot of phallic imagery and he makes a few sexual comments.
    "Takes a lot of love for a person to do this."
  • Punk in the Trunk: Thorn hides the bodies of his victims inside a car trunk in the Deveraux household's garage. The first four, anyway; he discovers that a fifth body won't fit, which is why that one gets the fridge.
  • Shout-Out: After the lights go out, Kim and Jackie mimic The Twilight Zone (1959) theme when Trish tells them that the fuse box is in the (possibly spooky) garage.
  • Shower Scene: An extended shower scene takes place after a ladies' basketball game.
  • Slashed Throat: Thinking that help has arrived, Jackie rushes to open the door and has her throat cut with a swing from the power drill.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: The first victim is a blonde repair woman and he later kills Kim.
  • Spoofed the Ironic Film Seriously: The film was written as a satirical jab at the slasher genre for its victimization of women and excessive nudity. Its directors took it seriously, filming it as a straight example of the genre, resulting in an Indecisive Parody.
  • Stab the Salad: To a (most likely intentionally) ridiculous extent, repeatedly.
  • Stealth Parody: The original screenplay was a parody of slasher films, but the director Amy Holden Jones filmed it as a straight slasher, so the parody elements are muted.
  • This Is a Drill: Thorn picks up a power drill from the telephone van where he commits his first onscreen murder, and uses it as his weapon for the rest of the movie.
  • Token Minority: Jackie is the sole African American member of the cast.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Firstly, the last two girls in the house leave a window open which allows Thorn to get in. That's followed by one of them clocking him in the back of the head with a baseball bat. Do they use the bat to smash his head into goo while he's lying on the floor? No, they turn their backs and start disassembling the furniture barricade behind the bedroom door, which allows Thorn to get back up, grab a knife, and kill one of them.
  • Uncertain Doom: Linda is attacked in the school by Thorne and takes refuge in a closet. Thorne starts drilling through the door, causing Linda to scream in terror before the camera cuts away to Thorne running outside. It seems doubtful that Thorne would have been unable to get in and kill Linda, but his clothes don't have any blood splatter and he looks flustered and urgent to get away rather than pleased and in control.
  • Vague Age: Courtney is Valerie's younger sister, but exactly how old she is isn't clear. She acts and is treated very much like an Annoying Younger Sibling, behaving very childishly such as playing pranks on Valerie and is spared any Male Gaze shots unlike the rest of the female cast, but she looks just as old as the rest of them. The sequel states she was twelve during the events of this movie.
  • Wrench Wench: The nameless telephone repair woman, who is young and sexy and is wearing tight jeans. She is nameless because she's murdered by Thorn immediately after she climbs down from the roof and fends off a pair of admiring boys.