Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

The Slumber Party Massacre is not really a good movie.  That can be said for many slasher films, particular the first batch that tried to stick strictly to formula in order to milk the success of Friday the 13th and Halloween.  What they did do to differentiate themselves from others is try to have some sort of hook, like another holiday or, in the case of the original 1982 film, some feminist gravitas.  The original script was written by Rita Mae Brown, a feminist and lesbian rights activist, as a parody of the genre.  The most telling part was the killer did his deed with a large drill that, toward the end of the movie, gets cut in half.

It was in no way subtle, but subtlety is not something slashers are known for anyway.  The feminist aspect was not lost on critics but despite any agenda that may have been behind the original script it was still largely breasts and blood like all of its contemporaries.  It also made a fair amount of money on a small budget, which made producer Roger Corman happy.  A few years later when he was at the Cannes Film Festival a European backer asked him about a sequel, giving him some money to make it plus a little extra.  Director Deborah Brock was tasked with then writing and directing it as there was no script and no concept other than Corman figured, like with the first, it should go to a female director.

Courtney Bates (Crystal Bernard), who helped her sister Valerie (Cindy Eilbacher) do away with the killer five years prior, is nearing her 17th birthday.  She is playing guitar in a band with her friends Sheila (Juliette Cummins), Amy (Kimberly MacArthur) and Sally (Heidi Kozak Haddad) and is finally getting attention from her crush Matt (Patrick Lowe).  However, with her sister in a mental institution and Courtney having dreams related to the killings, her mother (Jennifer Rhodes) is worried.  Still, she agrees to let her go with her friends to Sheila's dad's new condo to practice.

Part of the plan, besides practicing, is to have their boyfriends show up as well.  At first everything seems to be going well, but Courtney's dreams about a leather-clad '50s rocker (Atanas Ilitch) with a stylized drill guitar increase.  She thinks she and her friends are in danger and, what at first appears to be a figment of her imagination, manifests and starts killing them one by one.  

Again, The Slumber Party Massacre itself is not a great film, and that is mainly because it is such a by-the-books thriller.  It doesn't take any chances and rarely deviates from formula.  Although meant to be parody it also isn't particularly funny.  What it does have is an understandable plot and it leaves no doubt at the end that the Driller Killer is dead.  By necessity the Driller Killer in this film, other than having a drill, is not the same guy as the original who was just an escaped mental patient.  Here he is a manifestation of Courtney's suppressed PTSD.  Why he's a '50s style rocker doing psychobilly tunes is not really explained, but neither is much else in this film.

Atanas Ilitch, and the makeup work - particularly on a giant zit - are the stars of this.  None of the female actresses so anything spectacular, with Heidi Kozak Haddad constantly spouting brand names like Slice and Oxy-10, making it obvious that Roger Corman decided to make a little extra money on this by selling ad space.  There is little nudity, and I have no idea what Joel Hoffman, the guy who plays Sheila's boyfriend T.J., is like in real life, but as soon as he shows up I wanted to drown him in the community pool they all hang out by.  

It is never made clear if the Driller Killer's antics are a dream that Courtney is having, if she is the killer, if maybe her boyfriend Matt is or what is going on.  It seems longer than its runtime and it is excruciating to get through.  Other than Ilitch, there are few songs he sings that are pretty good, and the girls' stuff is by Wednesday Week, although it's much weaker than most of their material I'm familiar with.  It doesn't appear the soundtrack to this movie has made it to release but, if it had, I would suggest just buying it and skipping the film.

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
Time: 77 minutes
Starring: Crystal Bernard, Kimberly MacArthur, Juliette Cummins, Heidi Kozak Haddad, Patrick Lowe, Atanas Ilitch
Director: Deborah Brock



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