Saturday, October 17, 2015

Slumber Party Massacre II

  I love the 'Massacre' movies. They're laughable junk for the most part, and even when they're not they're just competent slasher thrillers. The first Slumber Party Massacre was very serviceable. Nothing amazingly memorable, but it had some good looking protagonists, and some cool gore effects. So, I wasn't expected much from this one besides more of the same. Imagine my surprise then when this movie is nothing like that, or any of the other 'Massacre' movies. This movie is sheer off-the-wall insanity! I haven't seen a slasher flick so wild outside of Freddy's franchise. This movie was a wild ride, and one I can't believe I didn't go on sooner.

  First of all, it's easy to see all the cliche tropes at work here, but if you look closer, the movie actually defies a lot of genre conventions of the era. First of all, all the protagonists here are fairly decent guys and girls. You're not real keen to see any of them die. They're not assholes (with maybe one exception) and they're all fairly tight-knit. I guess the cast just had a lot of chemistry and was genuinely enjoying themselves. Some slasher flicks have the group of protagonists as little more than vapid, intellectually bankrupt, victims-to-be. I never got that feeling from this group, some were silly, some were flighty, but they felt like real teenagers more or less. (All the actors were probably well into their 20's)

  Secondly, the hunky dreamboat guy that the lead heroine is in love with? He actually turns out to be a nice guy, and one of the few in the movie with his head on straight. When he finally shows up, he's rational, logical, and it shocked the hell out of me. This guy could've easily been the biggest tool ever, and his kind in these kind of movies, usually are. Nobody wants to see a guy like him die, but make him a total beefcake airhead and everyone's cool with it. The movie didn't go there surprisingly, he's a real cool guy. Again, none of these things are like, outrageously unique, but this franchise isn't exactly known for decent acting or even average writing. This is a bottom of the barrel franchise, so you can understand my shock that the movie handled it's characters rather deftly.

  Better than all of that, is the fact that this movie is a psychological thriller more than it is a slasher flick, yet it's still both. I realize they were probably trying to cash in on the success of the tone of A Nightmare on Elm St. but it's still really shocking here because this franchise wasn't anything like that, and never even attempted to be anything like that ever again. Besides, I didn't make the Elm St. connection until someone pointed it out, I think it's kind of thin- but pretty plausible nonetheless. See, the lead heroine, Courtney, is a survivor of the original massacre- but it's psychologically traumatized her. So for most of the movie, the most insane nightmarish hallucinatory crap keeps happening to her.

  This stuff is horrifying, probably way more than the filmmakers had any idea it would be. I had to take a step back and just register that I was watching a really neat psychological thriller. The gore effects are fantastic and manage to look more realistic than they have any right to. It all adds to the craziness of the movie and Courtney's hallucinations. Of course, the movie still has to have people get killed for reals, yo. So inevitably, the crazy killer from her dreams shows up in a fantastically shocking scene, and wastes no time getting his kill streak on. I should also point out that his weapon of choice is no average drill... it's a massive, demonic looking, bright red, electric guitar... with a gigantic drill attached to the neck.

  The killer makes use of his guitar-drill and gives the movie some insane musical numbers as he's slashing and killing. It's funny in a darkly sick way, but funny nontheless. Yet somehow, this doesn't deprive the movie of the tone it's generated so far. It feels like one big nightmare that just keeps getting crazier. The killer shows up with no rhyme or reason. It might be mentioned that it's the same killer from the first movie, just... brought back to life? I guess? But if he was brought to life, he was done so through someone sacrificing a ton of rock & roll albums on an alter, cause this guy is a black leather clad rock star. Just... y'know, one that's a demonic serial killer as well. His acting is over-the-top and he injects a lot of life and energy into the movie.

  I couldn't get enough of this guy. Occasionally his little song and dance numbers veer off into parody and that wasn't so great, but on the whole, Slumber Party Massacre II was a crazy, unique, and wild, rock n' roll ride that took me entirely by surprise. It even has a twist ending that makes it all make sense. I loved it. Cute girls, plenty of blood and guts, and all the psychological terror one could ask for. It's great. Such a fun movie to watch, especially this time of year.  I hope the next movie in my impromptu October horror-thon is as much of a blast as this one was. Wholeheartedly recommended.

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