The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Main Menu Audio
Trailer-Maniac, I Drink Your Blood, Women In Cages
|Year Of Production||1982|
|Running Time||71:36 (Case: 74)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Amy Holden Jones|
Joseph Alan Johnson
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Do you like your horror with a perfect video transfer and crystal clear audio? Or do you occasionally like to get down and dirty with some Z-grade teen horror action? Slumber Party Massacre is an entertainingly bad horror movie on a substandard DVD, but as a combination it almost works. The audio is variable and the picture quality far from perfect. But in a way it just adds to the dodgy vibe of the overall package.
Slumber Party Massacre is a tale about Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), an escaped murderer on the run. Ol' Russ, who runs around in broad daylight with a 2 foot long power drill and no mask to obscure his face, knocks up his first couple of kills within the first ten minutes, and the bodies stack up regularly from then on. We follow his story via background radio or TV reports as we learn about the victims, err ... characters in the movie. Trish's (Michele Michaels) parents are going away (as they always do in this kind of movie), and the girls are getting together for a slumber party to celebrate old times. They are 18 after all, and must have plenty of old times worth celebrating, right? A couple of guys find out about the sleep over and plan to drop in, which provides the vehicle for voyeurism and some more warm bodies for pointless slaughter.
It's 1982, and early on we realise how far women's basketball has come after seeing the school girls team scrimmage. No, wait. These girls can't actually play basketball. But it does lead us into one of the most gratuitous shower scenes in teen horror history, and not just for the camera work - the dialogue is kinda, uh, larger than life too:
"You know, I think your tits are getting bigger!"
Gratuitous nudity, unnecessary violence, wanton gore and horror. Oh the horror! More shocking still are the fashions that were in vogue in 1982.
"He's got a drill ... and he's ready to screw!" screams the front cover. This is about as subtle as this film gets. Russ, the fool with the big tool, spends almost the entire movie drilling, slashing or poking at nubile teenagers (or thity-somethings playing nubile teenagers, anyway). The back cover goes on to proclaim the drill as "the most blatant phallic symbol ever to appear in a stalk 'n' slash movie". High recommendation, no? The blurb also suggests that Slumber Party Massacre is a "tongue-in-cheek spin on slasher films". This is pretty questionable, because while the movie is d*** funny there don't appear to be any gags that are intentional or satirical in nature. On the other hand though, the movie does appear to have been directly satirised in the Scream films, particularly the first murder which is very similar to one near the beginning of Scream 2.
As for the cast, well, they must have made a mint for appearing in Slumber Party Massacre. After starring in this feature (cough) film they have been remarkably absent from the big screen. Probably they were able to retire on this work alone. Okay, okay. The cast do appear in some other quality productions. Michele Michaels (Death Wish 4), Michael Villella (Wild Orchid) and Robin Stille (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama) are just three examples. And for those who love their scream queens, Slumber Party Massacre was one of the early appearances of Brinke Stevens, who gets both naked and slaughtered in the first ten minutes of the movie. Stevens went on to a lucrative career of getting naked and slaughtered in such epics as Corpses Are Forever and Bad Girls From Mars, frequently portraying a complex and challenging character credited only as "Girl In Shower".
The scare and shock factor in Slumber Party Massacre is non-existent. It follows the formula popularised by Halloween, and is largely derivative of that film in particular. But it's entertaining and fun, and if you are anything like us, it takes you back to those memories of being fourteen years old and enjoying some late night slasher movie thrills while sleeping over at your friend's place (you know, that friend with the mum who let you kids watch this kind of stuff).
We're guessing Slumber Party Massacre wasn't the most professional production to begin with, and even if it was it's 23 years old. Considering these factors, the video quality is surprisingly acceptable. The colours are washed out and the picture is far from sharp, with some scenes appearing as though the lens has been smeared with Vaseline. But overall the film features only a few major distractions. There are some first-person sequences which were probably shot with a hand held camera, where the video becomes quite jerky. Whether this is entirely intentional it's hard to say, but as an effect it works and makes the viewer feel like they are part of the movie and either being stalked or doing the stalking.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
Luckily for a film that takes place largely at night, there is remarkably little low level noise. In fact, while early scenes in the film are marred by high grain levels and positive and negative artefacts which contrast greatly against the daytime sky, the picture quality actually improves once the film's night scenes begin, as the high grain and artefacts are harder to pick up amongst the darker backgrounds.
The are some major film artefacts at 1:33 and 4:33, both of which appear to be instances where the source film emulsion was damaged.
There are no subtitles.
This is a single layer disc with a run time of 71.36, consisting of 12 chapters.
KC: I remember as a kid there were always two things that consistently scared me in horror movies. Clowns, and organ music. This film contains old school organ music. Woody: Well actually KC I think it's probably synthesisers and keyboards but I know what you are saying - the score is pretty good and intense in that early 80s horror kind of way, even if it is a rip off of the classic Halloween score by John Carpenter.
There is a single soundtrack option present, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s). As expected, there was no surround sound panning detectable when surround processing was enabled.
The dialogue can get quiet at times when the actors are whispering, although still audible. There are no audio sync problems.
Incidental sound effects throughout the movie are almost too clear and prominent, like they have been dubbed in excessively loudly during sound editing. Background music, ticking clocks, breaking glass, and garage doors opening and closing are examples of sounds that appear more clearly and prominently in the soundtrack, sometimes drowning out the other sounds. Another example of inconsistent sound is footsteps. At various times during the film one of the girls will be running along the pavement in sneakers, but the sound more closely resembles that of someone running in clogs or high heels! At other times the sound drops out almost entirely when characters are sneaking around. Nobody is that quiet! These are obviously all problems associated with the original source material rather than the transfer to DVD. Maybe this was done deliberately to further unnerve the viewer, but we doubt it.
|Surround Channel Use|
A trailer for Slumber Party Massacre in Dolby Digital 2.0.
We also have 4 trailers for other movies. In order they are:
Maniac - "I warned you not to go out tonight!" As far as we can tell, this one seems to be a about a maniac doing what maniacs do best. Starring horror movie effects legend Tom Savini.
I Drink Your Blood - The deep voice over proclaims this "The biggest double horror show in history - I Drink Your Blood and I Eat Your Skin". Charming. In this movie, a young boy injects pies with blood from an animal that has rabies, infecting the whole town into crazed zombies. As you do.
Women in Cages - We really want to see this one. Taglines flashed on screen during the trailer include such gems as "White skin on the black market" and "Soft bodies for hard cash". Starring blaxploitation queen Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), this one looks like a trash cinema female version of Fight Club.
Vampyros Lesbos - Jess Franco's cult classic psycho sexadelic horror. Now, we ain't no linguists, but we translate the tile as "Vampire Lesbians". Inexplicably, the voiceover and audio for this film is German!?!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 does not appear to offer anything different to this release besides a different jacket design, so we'll call it a draw.
Slumber Party Massacre is just the thing for those looking for some cheap thrills of the slasher vs. nubile teens variety. Grab some beers, popcorn, a few friends and enjoy yourself while you poke holes (no pun intended) in the film's shoddy acting, script and production values. It's like the drive-in in your house!
The video and audio tracks are far from perfect, but both are acceptable with many of the problems likely to stem from the source material.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-533K, using S-Video output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-51P15H rear projection TV (136cm).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to Amplifier.|
|Speakers||Krix Lyrix front speakers, Krix KDX-C centre speaker, Krix Equinox rear speakers, BIC D-121OR 12' 200 watt powered sub-woofer.|