March 20, 2014

Blu-ray Review: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Shout! Factory
Price: Currently $19.99 on Amazon (click pic above to order)
1 50 GB Blu-ray disc
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Region A

The Slumber Party Massacre is one of those movies that we love despite it being not that great. We love it because it was one of the first Slasher flicks that we remember seeing when we were wee lads and lasses back in the 80's; any movie featuring gratuitous nudity and a creepy guy running around killing people with a drill, made for some very compelling stuff for us back then.

Russ Thorn is about to add to his tally!
What we remember most about SPM, is how absolutely terrifying its killer, Russ Thorn, was to us when we first saw him. Back then, when we were so young and impressionable that Russ Thorn's creepy face and intense eyes made us crap our figurative pants. He wore no mask, and he didn't stay hidden the shadows the whole time like most killers in Slasher flicks do; no, he was right there from the get go, in our faces with his "normal guy" creepiness, creeping us the hell out like a creep!

We also remember a bunch of hot chicks running around all half-naked, and showering for like 20 minutes at the beginning of the movie. Like I said, compelling stuff for us during our formative years.

Creepiest scene in the movie.
As far as plot goes, SPM centers around a group of High School kids who are massacred via drill by escaped lunatic, Russ Thorn. Written by feminist Rita Mae Brown as a parody of the Slasher genre, SPM, like most Slashers, works well on a "blood & boobs" level, while at the same time being its own punchline. Yes, it's very tongue-in-cheek if you look closely enough, and that just kills us now, because it creeped us out so badly way back when. 

This scene actually plays out dark and humorous for us now. Who knew?
Not only was SPM written by a woman, but it was also directed by a woman, which makes it doubly interesting that the movie was so gratuitous with its nudity (at least at the beginning.) In the commentary track, director Amy Holden Jones even makes mention of how Roger Corman required a certain amount of nudity in the opening half of the flick, which certainly explains the long, lingering shots of naked, soapy bodies (especially asses) in the shower scene. She didn't seem happy about it. If I'm remembering it right, her quote was something to the effect of "Here's your nudity, all up front, now let's be done with it." Interesting stuff.

This is not a particularly gory movie, despite being about a massacre carried out with a drill, though it's not completely devoid of bloody good moments. As slow as some of the movie plays, it would have been nice to have had some bigger, bloodier payoffs with the gore gags though.

That was a bloody good moment.
With this release, Scream Factory made this old, cheap Horror flick look about as pretty as it's ever going to look. Most of it is fairly crisp, though you can see some scrapes and scratches on some of the frames here and there. We noticed a few instances of crush, and a mild application of DNR here and there, but for the most part, this one was very pleasing to our eyes.

These guys are looking 80's awesome. Rad, even.
It's in DTS, but it's also Mono-only, so this disc's audio performs nicely, while not being all that dynamic. For an older movie like this, we're not looking for a THX quality sound mix though, so it's all good by us.

"OMG they do have Prince Albert in a can!"
The Sleepless Nights Doc was a fun watch, and the commentary was enlightening, but overall, the Special Features on this disc are a bit light. Being that this release was not given the Collector's Edition treatment, it's understandable. The trailers for all three of the Slumber Party Massacre flicks were neat too.

  • New HD Transfer From The Original Camera Negative.
  • Sleepless Nights: The Making Of The Slumber Party Massacre.
  • Interview with Rigg Kennedy.
  • Audio Commentary With Director Amy Holden Jones, Actors Michael Villela And Debra De Liso.
  • The Slumber Party Massacre Trailer.The Slumber Party Massacre II Trailer.
  • The Slumber Party Massacre III Trailer.
  • Still Gallery.
Easter Egg?
Overall, The Slumber Party Massacre is a fun bit of nostalgia that will thrill older Horror fans, and most likely amuse newer ones, at least on a base level. It's a great looking transfer, it sounds good enough, and what extras there are, are fun to see and listen to.

For Horror collectors, it's a must have. For the average Horror fan, it's well worth a look, but keep in mind that as 80's Slasher flicks go, SPM was never very high on the quality scale.


Slumber Party Massacre is full of lovely ladies that were some of our very first crushes back in the 80's. Most famous of them all, is Brinke Stevens; she's one of the most prolific Scream Queens of all-time, and this movie was her first project... she said so in the Special Features!

Speaking of the Special Features on this disc... we were sad to learn that Robin Stille, who played the lead role of Valerie in SPM, committed suicide in the mid-90's. She was great in this movie, and it's a shame that her life ended so soon, and in such a tragic way. We hope she's resting well.

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