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Review The Slumber Party Massacre (1982): Witty and funny feminist parody on the slasher genre!

genre: comedy, horror, slasher

The Slumber Party Massacre might seem like a bad slasher film but in truth is purposely made that way since you were never meant to take it seriously. 

I must admit that when I watched it the first time I was unaware of this fact. However the second time it started dawning on me and found it to be very witty. I read that this film is based on a screenplay written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown who intended it to be a parody of the slasher genre. Director Amy Holden Jones understood this but apparently the producers (including Roger Corman) didn't which resulted a lot of jokes being cut. Still there are more than enough scenes and moments where it becomes obvious the genre is being made fun of. It is quite fun for the horror fan to see the typical horror tropes being depicted in ridiculous fashion and that at the same time these depictions also could be seen as serious events. Very clever if you ask me.

Comedic and feminist? How is that possible? Well, don't expect big statements or radical activism but think subtle jokes that at the same time could be seen as exploitative also. For example all the repairmen in this film are beautiful and sexy women. Like a phone repair woman and a female carpenter. The coach of the female basketball team is female as well. I don't know if this was uncommon but I assume it was. Actually there are very few men in this flick and the ones that are present don't seem to be very bright or particularly heroic. The only exception is the killer named Russ Thorn who is very effective. However he walks and looks like an average Joe who doesn't feel the need to hide his identity. Maybe they were implying that he wasn't clever or intelligent. And that he was trying to compensate his inferiority complex. What makes me think this? The fact that the killer uses a drill and that in a few scenes the drill is shown as an extension of his penis.  Without this drill the killer is not that menacing or scary. However because no background is given on Russ Thorn there is an air of mystery surrounding him. 

Best thing about this film is that even if you are totally unaware of the fact that this is meant to be a parody it also holds up as a serious slasher film. The murders are bloody and gory and the entire cast play their roles straight and serious. At times you even feel sorry for the victims since they are very likeable. So certainly a must watch!

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