The ever suprising Shout! Factory keeps consistantly blowing me away with their breathtaking, film geek-friendly releases of content ranging from popular cult TV like "MST3K" and "Freaks and Geeks" to the "Gamera" monster film series and the seemingly non-stop "Roger Corman Collection". Here, they release the infamous, beloved "Slumber Party Massacre" trilogy for the first time on DVD for horror fans everywhere. All 3 films come complete with all-new commentaries, as well as photo galleries and a "making of" feature and a trailer for the first film. Good stuff.
"The Slumber Party Massacre" (1982)- A jean coat-wearing, drill-toting maniac escapes from a mental institution and makes his way to a slumber party being held by cheery, athletic girls. Who will come out alive?! Infamously developed from a screenplay by femenist Rita Mae Brown, this is a fun thriller that lightly makes fun of the genre, but actually mostly gives us a straightforward classic thanks to a number of darkly comical moments, likable characters, and some gooey death scenes. Reccomended viewing for all slasher and horror fans.
"Slumber Party Massacre II" (1987)- An all-girl rock band, including a survivor of the first film, head up to a high-class neighborhood for a weekend of practice and good old fun. But the survivor suffers from increasingly bizzare nightmares and visions, including a punk rock reincarnation of the previous film's killer, who may or may not really be coming to get them. Here it is, the infamous SPM sequel. Infamous, for it's sequence of events and ending(s) which considerably blur the lines of reality. It is because of this reason that SPM2 is my least favorite of the series. The ending whole is like a big, convoluted middle finger to the audience, who has been waiting patiently for nearly 40 MINUTES for any sort of major horror content; much before that is made up of semi-comical teen antics. On the upside however, we're treated to more gory kills and other wild makeup FX concerning the survivor's grisly hallucinations, more likable characters, and a scene-chewing, only occasionally annoying killer who wields a stupidly over-the-top but memorable take on the first movie's murder weapon, all of it adding to the film's zany but still overall nonsensical atmosphere. Worth a watch, but don't expect your typical slasher movie.
"Slumber Party Massacre III" (1990)- In this quasi-remake of the first SPM, a group of lovely young ladies have a slumber party to top off a long day of beach volleyball and staring at boys. But one by one they get knocked off by another drill-toting maniac who seems to be any one of more than a few unexpected guests. Made long after the slasher genre hit rock bottom, SPM3 is still a suprisingly decent followup to the last two movies. Although the acting is a bit more sub-par and and the death scenes not quite as elaborate, the characters are still a cute and likable group of close-nit girls. Most notable about this entry, however, is its dark feel. SPM3 abandons the darkly comical nature of the first movie and the surreal zaniness of the second in favor of a more grim tone, packing in sadistically prolonged death scenes, girl beatings, and even an attempted rape, making easily the darkest of the trilogy. Regardless, despite the darker, cheaper feel, it's still a good watch and is a good look at what some slasher movies were like past their prime.