It’s spooky season, so in order to get in the mood I thought I’d dip my toe in the dark and murky waters of horror movies.
A group of teen girls arrange a slumber party, with the parents of one girl being out of town. The trouble is, an escaped murderer is on the loose – and he’s armed with an electric drill that he likes to use to kill his victims.
I’d always been intrigued by The Slumber Party Massacre series, but not for the reasons that the title or poster may imply.
No, the biggest reason these films piqued my interest is that they’re the only slasher movie series that were entirely written and directed by women, which is sadly unusual even today.
Due to this, I was expecting a subversion of the usual sexist tropes and blatant male gaze that blights many a horror movie (and not just those in the slasher subgenre, though they can often be the worst offenders).
However, it’s hard to look past the blatant attempts at titillation that almost immediately rear their head – and the pretty standard, generic-feeling sequence of events that plays out from the start.
Sure, you can see the obvious symbolism from the poster and the literal discarding of childhood that the apparent protagonist goes through at the opening of the film – but I didn’t see that much in the way of further subtext at least until the killer decides to speak at the climax of the film.
By then it’s too late; the relentless nastiness, the many lingering shots of nude female bodies and endless procession of cardboard cut out characters – seemingly only there to be horrifically dispatched – just blunts any attempt at a feminist reading of the material, which is a real shame.
It does have a few things going for it: one, it’s not much over an hour long and two, the practical effects – despite the low budget of the film – are really impressive.
I’m aware that the sequel is a bit more inventive and unusual, so perhaps the approach I expected can be found there. However, I won’t be getting my hopes up.
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