Sometimes you see a film that is so awe inspiring it takes your brains a few weeks to process it. And I wish I could use that excuse as to why I haven't really written anything in awhile but I can't. Slumber Party Massacre is not that film, although I did love it. Truth is that I think my brain is actually shutting down, or at least going on an extended vacation. All it can really process now a days is Toddlers and Tiaras and Gossip Girl, and I am beginning to think Gossip Girl is too intellectual. Maybe I have spring fever. Maybe I am just getting really, really lazy!
In an effort to jump start my brain I watched an arty film Martha Marcy May Marlene. The film is about a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) who escapes a cult. It is subtle and creepy and features a terrific performance by one of my favorite actors, John Hawkes. Rather than ponder the psychological ramifications of cult membership, I instead spent most of the film wondering if Elizabeth Olsen had a nose job. Her nose is really weird.
My second attempt at waking up my intellect was to read Just Kids by Patti Smith, about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe. It won a National Book Award! It is really amazing but it gave me the notion that moving to New York to become a starving artist might actually be a good idea. Obviously, I am not in my right mind. I finally decided to give in and watch something totally stupid. I choose Slumber Party Massacre.
Gawd wrong choice! One could write a dissertation on this film, hailed as the first "Feminist Slasher." I wouldn't get into all of that even if I wasn't on an intellectual siesta, but if you are interested, check out this fine article at notcoming.com. I will say that Slumber Party Massacre was directed by a woman (Amy Holden Jones) and written by the amazing, legendary, Rita Mae Brown. Yes, Rita Mae Brown wrote a slasher. Now, there is a bit of controversy about the "intent" of the film. Rita Mae Brown claims she wrote it as a parody/commentary of slasher films, but the studio and Jones changed it to be a more conventional slasher. Amy Holden Jones claims (in Rue Morgue magazine) that Brown wrote a serious slasher, and it was her that added in the humorous elements. Whatevers. Both women should be proud because Slumber Party Massacre is one weird, funny, kind of scary film.
High school girls decide to have one last slumber party before graduation. Main girl Trish, who is hosting, wants the party to be like old times: meaning NO BOYS!! Trish is a great final girl but not a traditional one. She smokes, drinks, and definitely has had sex. In fact, every girl in this film does all these "bad" things. Two of them even read Playgirl magazine! Yuck gross.
Wouldn't you know it a crazed killer has escaped the VERY NIGHT of the slumber party. The killers weapon of choice is a power drill. Yes, it's a metaphor..
Our driller killer wastes no time getting to work and it is up to Trish's neighbors, new girls who were not invited to the party, to save the day. The kills are pretty inventive, and there are surprising touches of absurd humor. If it's your sort of thing, there is also plenty of T&A. Now, I was a girl who had slumber parties, and I can tell you we never got naked this much. Maybe I just had the wrong kind of parties, I am not sure. I can tell you if a driller killer showed up at my slumber party, we would have all at least put on pants as we were trying to escape!! Seriously! Running around in a nightie is not going to help your chances for survival!
None of these characters are cookie cutter slasher women. They are all pretty unique. Even the supplementary female characters are interesting: an electrician, a carpenter, a coach. You get the feeling that our girls at the slumber party might have gone on to have interesting careers and lives as
well, and that is truly rare for a slasher. So BRAVO Amy Holden Jones and Rita Mae Brown!
I am off to see Cabin in the Woods which I hear is kind of a mind trip. If my brain doesn't explode expect a review here soon!