The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Let’s take a moment to explain how this film series started.

A lesbian feminist author writes a screenplay satirizing slasher films, which is then directed as straightforward as possible by a young aspiring female director. The result is bizarre, with swapped genre gender roles and attitudes, a killer who speaks in rape-justification cliches and wields a massive phallic symbol to do his dirty work, and a final battle that definitely symbolizes castration as three (3!) final girls take down the psychotic mass murderer in an orgy of screaming and bloodshed. I’ve read other reviews that argue this is a purely feminist take on the slasher film, but regardless of the ideas behind the film and how they were implemented, the most important thing is this:

Damn, this movie is pretty awesome.

The Slumber Party Massacre works best in my opinion when you realize that it was originally intended as a parody, but you then throw all of that out and say, “Let’s have fun.” Because as a genre film, it does a damn good job of being highly entertaining while also weirdly making a statement through a very confused, straightforward manner.

Most of the female leads are fleshed out a fair bit and given backstories and motivations, though some unfortunately don’t make it long enough to really get much backstory. The guys don’t fare so well of course, mostly coming across as cowards and pranksters, but there is a repeatedly accidentally scary next door neighbor who was pretty cool; I was sorry to see him go when his time came. And the killer is creepy, watching from the shadows, sneaking through windows, quick to catch people unawares, and willing to make the odd joke about how many future victims are left. He even screws up occasionally and still makes up for it by hunting down the wounded, always while the others are preoccupied and either unable or too terrified to help.

Is this the ultimate example of what we now call “toxic masculinity” in a film? Hell, I don’t know, but that lady just cut the tip of the killer’s drill with a kitchen knife! If ever you wanted to end by symbolizing a change in sexual power, that was it.

Also, a guy in Big Bad Wolf got castrated, and now one get symbolized here. Guess which movie did it better?

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