The lights are down, the music’s swelling, and I’m turning all of my shirts into crop tops because I think I can pull off that look, which can mean only one thing: it’s time for Screaming in Harmony, where we shine a spotlight on monstrous murderous musical mayhem! Since we’re celebrating Women in Horror Month here at Nightmare on Film Street all February, it seemed appropriate to take a look (and a listen!) to a film written and directed by a woman. Tonight’s feature presentation is the one, the only, Slumber Party Massacre II, written and directed by Deborah Brock!
The original Slumber Party Massacre (1982) is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a slasher movie where girls at a slumber party get stalked and killed by a maniac. It’s a perpetual feature in Women in Horror Month lists because it was written and directed by women (a common trait for this series), and is also just a whole lot of fun. The sequel, 1987’s Slumber Party Massacre II, goes way off the rails. For the most part, it’s more of a psychological horror movie than your average psycho-stalks-the-coeds flick. This time around, the star of the show is Courtney, the younger sister of Slumber Party Massacre’s final girl. Courtney’s been having some awful nightmares, but the man of her dreams isn’t some child-murdering burn victim ghost janitor. The villain of Slumber Party Massacre II is some guy completely unrelated to the first one, and he’s here to rock.
P.S. There’s also a Slumber Party Massacre III, almost completely unrelated to the other two and not as good, but I liked it!
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THE SHORT VERSION
Courtney from SPM1 is on the cusp of all-grown-up now, and she’s in a band. She plays a super cool aquamarine fat strat type thing, her and her friends are physically incapable of wearing a bad outfit, and they sing some cool pop/rock songs. One of the band members’s dad just bought a condo, and the girls head out to spend Courtney’s birthday weekend jamming, swimming, and eating corn dogs with champagne. What will happen when boys show up to crash the party? What will happen when a dude dressed in all leather playing an electric guitar with a drill where the tuners should be shows up to crash the party?! Find out in Slumber Party Massacre II!!
GORE AND SCORE
Much like Hillbillys in a Haunted House, the music of Slumber Party Massacre II mostly happens when the characters perform. Courtney doesn’t step into a spotlight to sing a song called The Creepy Guy Who Tries To Kill Me In My Dreams. Instead, the songs happen when the band performs. The girls play tracks by real-life pop/rock band Wednesday Week, and it’s the kind of music that sounds best on a slightly warped cassette coming out of a boom box or the tape deck of a hand-me-down convertible. Sweet stuff! If you wanna check them out, the songs If Only and Why are both on Wednesday Week’s Spotify.
One MASSIVE notable exception is when the slasher gets to do his song and dance, because this is the raddest movie ever! The Driller Killer spends most of the movie showing up unexpected and going “ooh, I’m gonna smooch ya” and then doing a little shred riff like in Bill and Ted, but when he gets his two minutes to win it he prances around singing a kinda-rockabilly track called Let’s Buzz. It’s definitely more in the 80s honky-tonk vein of rockabilly than say, Hasil Adkins, but it’s a song with its own charms. Of course when I say “its own charms,” what I mean is a killer in a leather motorcycle suit with 36-inch fringe on the arms prancing around and singing about making a lot of money and also trying to kill people. I think Slumber Party Massacre II is all great, but the movie’s honestly worth watching for this scene alone.
Big round of applause for Heidi Kodak as Sally, one of the best characters in any horror movie. She’s the drummer of the band, and 300% valley girl, and she’s ready to party. I also have to point out that while she’s clearly not playing the drums that we’re hearing during the Wednesday Week songs (through a process called Movie Magic), she’s playing the way a drummer actually would. It’s not the sort of “act like you’re playing drums” where people just kind of flail their arms around, what Sally does looks like someone really playing drums. Keep clapping for Crystal Bernard as Courtney, driving the plot forward and being terrorized by the Driller Killer. Speaking of, Atanas Ilitch deserves an Academy Award for playing one of the most unique slashers in the history of the genre, and a Grammy for Best Interpretive Dance In A Slasher Movie Or Documentary- Let’s Buzz.
Slumber Party Massacre II is a prime example of a sequel doing its own thing and benefitting greatly from it. Whereas the first one is a great slasher movie, part II has psychological horror on Elm Street, body horror from Nuke’Em High, and a summer class at Rock’n’Roll High School. That’s the suburb I wanna live in, and maybe even be dismembered by a maniac in! Slumber Party Massacre II is available on Shudder, and it clocks in under 80 minutes. This is an excellent pick for the more attention-deficit among us, and as such is probably my favorite movie on Shudder. Check it out!
Are you in a cool new wavey pop/rock band, or are you a murderer hunting that band with a custom made B.C. Rich six string monstrosity? Let us know over on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Film Street Facebook page. For more reviews, recommendations, and killer guitars, stay tuned to Nightmare on Film Street.