Slumber Party Massacre II | Varied Celluloid

Slumber Party Massacre II

Posted by Josh Samford On October - 30 - 2011

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
Director: Deborah Brock
Writers: Deborah Brock
Starring: Crystal Bernard, Jennifer Rhodes and Kimberly McArthur



The Plot: Courtney (Crystal Bernard) is the younger sister of Valery, our protagonist in the first Slumber Party Massacre film. In the proceeding years after the events of the first film, Valerie has been locked away in a mental institution and Courtney has finally shed her tomboy phase. Courtney has been the perfect daughter in recent years and consistently does what her mother tells her to, however, she looks to finally break away and do something rebellious when her crush finally shows some mutual attraction. Courtney agrees to meet the young man at a special slumber party that her friends are hosting at a out of town beach home. As it turns out, things won’t be that simple for young Courtney. She finds herself having nightmarish visions of her sister being executed by a strange rock & roll murderer. This man in “greaser” attire carries with him a guitar fashioned to look like an electric drill, and he continually threatens Courtney. Once the kids arrive at this beach home, Courtney’s nightmarish visions quickly escalate to the point where she can barely distinguish her reality. As she drives her friends crazy, Courtney begins to doubt her own sanity. However, as it turns out, she isn’t crazy and her dreams become a frightening reality.

The Review
The original Slumber Party Massacre film was both everything that I expected as a fan of slasher films, but also shockingly generic for a film written and directed by women. The series has become quite well known for this fact over the years, and it is well known that the first entry into the series was intended to play out as a black comedy of sorts. However, knowing Roger Corman’s general hatred of horror/comedies, it isn’t surprising that the film inevitably became a much more conventional slasher feature. Although the first sequel, Slumber Party Massacre II, may also seem like your run of the mill slasher flick upon first glance, it is hardly that. Potentially the strangest serial killer film the world has ever seen, Slumber Party Massacre II demonstrates a knack for the surreal that I have rarely seen in this genre. This does inevitably lead to a film that is horribly disjointed, but the head scratching logic of the film is also one of its greatest asset.

Immediately, there seems to be something different about Slumber Party Massacre II. It doesn’t rush directly into the nudity in the same way that the first film did. The movie doesn’t outright present itself as a piece of pure exploitation sleaze, either. It instead goes after the sentimental angle, where Crystal Bernard (best known for her role on the television series Wings) is presented as the ultimate quiet and sincere “final” girl. The introduction of our main group of girls as a band is also certainly befitting of a slightly more mature group than was shown in our previous film. The girls are all slightly less antagonistic with one another than in the previous movie, and you generally get the idea early on that these filmmakers weren’t entirely interested in revisiting everything that the first movie did. However, they did manage to sneak in some requisite sexploitation. There’s an otherworldly topless dance sequence that seems to be totally a service towards Roger Corman and the fanboys, but the scene somehow manages to come across more puzzling than erotic. If you’re looking to see Crystal Bernard go topless, however, you may leave disappointed. The closest you’ll get to seeing her do anything suggestive is a fairly strange scene featuring the girls all sitting around eating corndogs, and the imagery seems to border on obscene in how phallic theses breaded pieces of meat seem to be.

Over the top is the best way to describe Slumber Party Massacre II. In every aspect, this is a movie that takes things to their utmost extreme. The gore is ramped up from the original, the overacting is almost on pace with a Troma production, and the driller killer in our movie is… well, how does one even describe him? Looking like a combination between Andrew Dice Clay and the lead guitarist for nearly any glam-rock band of the 1980s, the killer inevitably makes this movie the far fetched and utterly insane piece of cinema that it is. When he seems to escape the dream reality that he has apparently lived within during the first three quarters of the movie, he manages to spit out line after line of cheesy dialogue while killing off our teen stars. This third act plays out a lot better than the introductory sequences where we have to deal with Courtney having her delusional fantasies. The film essentially runs these bits into the ground in a PAINFULLY cliche manner. It really is the Michigan J. Frog effect to its most painfully obvious extent. While I respect that the filmmakers were trying to establish a “boy who cried wolf” atmosphere around the Courtney character, this doubt ultimately doesn’t have much of a payoff (other than causing the police to doubt Courtney). Instead, we find ourselves continually infuriated by the cliches that the film tries to bolster. Finally, when our Diceman look-a-like escapes into reality we are alleviated of the previous stupidity by watching the majority of these teens killed off.

The prospect of a dream becoming real is tackled by the film very late in the overall runtime, to be honest. It is such a bizarre and ridiculous concept for a series whose introductory title was so obviously based within reality. This isn’t the Nightmare on Elm Street series where the supernatural was a part of the norm, and it isn’t even a series with the longevity of Friday the 13th. If you remember, the Friday series didn’t really venture into the supernatural until the sixth film, and that was the only supernatural sequel that ever truly appeased the fans (Friday 7, 8, 9 and 10 were all duds). Still, Slumber Party Massacre isn’t dumb about how it plays with the surreal. The filmmakers establish some very nifty twists and turns that come about during the final ten minutes, and despite it seeming slightly tacked on, it still works to great effect. Like I always like to point out, if the filmmakers are deviating from genre conventions even by a little bit, they are doing a good job.


The Conclusion
The movie is absolutely bonkers, there’s no denying this fact. While I won’t argue that it is a better made movie than the original The Slumber Party Massacre, I don’t think there is any argument that this is the more entertaining movie. Although it is more fun, I still give it roughly the same score. A three out of five. I figure if you order the full Slumber Party Massacre collection from Shout! Factory, for these two movies alone you are getting your money’s worth. Definitely check it out.




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