“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Slumber Party Massacre II

SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II is a kinda cool, kinda odd, but kinda boring variation on the simple part 1. It follows Courtney, one of the first film’s survivors, but recast with Crystal Bernard (Wings). Her older sister Valerie is said to be in a sanitarium somewhere, just now beginning to speak again (after five years, if it’s in real time). Courtney convinces her mom (Jennifer Rhodes, THE TOWERING INFERNO) to let her spend a weekend with her friends at one’s dad’s new condo. But don’t tell Mom that boys will be there.

Much has been made of the first one being written and directed by women, and what that means in a slasher movie centered around a dude with a phallic drill murdering teenage girls in nighties. This one is written and directed by a different woman, Deborah Brock, and has a rare slasher movie occurrence of the female gaze in an opening dream sequence where Courtney pictures her crush Matt (Patrick Lowe, PRIMAL RAGE) shirtless, smiling, throwing a football, while she’s in a non-revealing nightgown.

But I think when you’re working for Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures there are marching orders you have to follow, so at the condo the girls end up taking their shirts off, dumping wine on each other, having a feathery slow motion pillow fight so unreal that two boys (Joel Hoffman [PUMPKINHEAD] and Scott Westmoreland) peeping in the window observe that “I didn’t know girls really did this stuff.”

My favorite touch that I don’t remember seeing in another horror movie: our heroines are in an all-girl pop rock band. Matt comes and watches them play in a garage with the door open – on purpose, unlike when The Bad Boys do it in HARD ROCK NIGHTMARE. Seems like a way to get in trouble with the neighbors, but Matt is able to just park in the driveway and enjoy a private performance, so it’s cool for him.

I guess rock ‘n roll is such a major element of Courtney’s being that the Driller Killer who tormented her is reborn, first in dreams, then hallucinations, then reality, as some cheesy rockabilly asshole with an electric guitar that has a giant drill coming out of it. He’s played by Atanas Ilitch, who was also in RAGIN’ CAJUN and one TV movie.

At first it’s all fun. The girls live their best lives by drinking wine, eating corndogs, Cheese Whiz and See’s Candy. But Courtney keeps seeing things and getting freaked out, much to everyone else’s confusion. Long before HALLOWEEN H20 – in the year HALLOWEEN H9 – this was a slasher sequel about a survivor from a previous movie dealing with trauma. Maybe influenced by the Freddy pictures she has gooey visions like her friend Sally (Heidi Kozak, SOCIETY) having a monster zit that erupts pus. And she’s seeing this guitar guy but nobody believes her.

It gets more fun when he becomes real. He dances, lip-syncs rockabilly, says dumb music-inspired lines like “I can’t get no satisfaction” as he puts holes in people, sending chunks of meat from the spinning drill bit, cutting off Matt’s arm and cruelest of all throwing it on a birthday cake. At least leave the cake edible in case anyone gets away and needs something to comfort them afterwards.

The most impressive horror move is when he’s attacking a girl and the others run into another room to try to call the police but he drills her up against a wall and it goes all the way through and comes out through the phone, destroying it. If intentional that guy really knows what he’s doing.

I remember seeing this when it was recent and thinking it was a must-see for its audacious ridiculousness. By which I just mean the guitar-drill. I mean, look at that fuckin thing. It looks like it was forged by Nic Cage’s character in MANDY.

For me the movie doesn’t hold up, but at least it’s got its unique qualities. As surely as The Shape’s pure evil cannot be explained, the Driller Killer coming back as a supernatural Andrew Dice Clay type with a weaponized guitar is a big ol’ shrug of terror. I wonder why they didn’t try it with Freddy or Leatherface after their remakes didn’t pick up enough steam for a franchise?

This was Brock’s debut both as a writer and as a director. She later directed four episodes of V.R. Troopers and three other movies, including ROCK ‘N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL FOREVER, the sequel to the movie she has the girls dancing to in this. She was also a co-producer on HONEY I BLEW UP THE KID, ONE TOUGH BASTARD and BUFFALO ’66.

Ilitch is a real musician, but not of the variety he portrays here. He released a pop album called Shadows the year before the movie.

He’s the son of Mike Ilitch, who played on the Detroit Tigers in the ’50s, retired due to a knee injury, founded Little Caesar’s Pizza, became a billionaire, and in 1992 actually bought the Tigers from the founder of Domino’s. (He also owned the Detroit Red Wings.) Rather than pursuing more acting, Atanas has at times run family companies including Olympia Entertainment, which manages the teams and a bunch of arenas and concert venues, and Olympia Development. He also fought bone cancer and started a recording studio and record label called Soup Can Music Co.

I found an old profile of him from I believe 1994, when he was “the 31-year-old vice president” who was “running a 3,000-employee sports and entertainment empire” and made Crain’s Detroit Business‘s “40 Under 40” list. Asked his “biggest achievement” he said “I’d be nervous if my biggest achievement was realized at the age of 31.” So I’m afraid he did not at that time consider playing Driller Killer #2 to be his biggest achievement.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at 10:04 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

13 Responses to “Slumber Party Massacre II”

  1. I’ve probably seen this 4 or 5 times now, not because it’s good, but because it’s so damn weird. It’s a sequel to a Friday the 13th knockoff that switched sub-subgenres to become a Nightmare On Elm Street knockoff, only instead of Freddy the dream demon is some obnoxious rockabilly asshole who sings terrible songs while murdering you. Who knows what the fuck they were thinking when they made this, but I’m glad it happened.

  2. All I remember about this movie is that somehow I saw an episode of Jake and the Fatman (where I correctly guessed it was the laywer), Miracle Mile and Slumber Party Massacre II back to back to back with my mom. I was ten. My mom was very accepting of the shit she’d let me watch.

  3. This movie is 77 minutes all in and it was still boring???

    I know I saw this on VHS during that time when I was becoming brave enough to watch horror movies and realized most of them had gratuitous nudity. As I recall, only one gal actually goes topless so it actually has less nudity than the average Friday the 13th.

    I also remember one of the guys was obsessed with a blow up sex doll. Even 12 year old Fred was like “Dude, there’s real girls right there!”

  4. You guys! It happened! That question we all hope we’re going to get happened to me today. My boss was telling a coworker about a current movie and when he mentioned the star of it, my coworker was unfamiliar with them. My boss was having trouble coming up with other projects for this person, so knowing I’m a movie person, asked me, “What has Bradley Cooper been in?” I knew my quick answer of MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN was about to brand me as “that weirdo”, but a Vern fan has to do what a Vern fan has to do.

  5. I’m so proud of you Maggie.

  6. I also somehow managed to mention The Midnight Meat Train at work this week. I tip my hat to you, MMP.

  7. Not gonna lie, that song up there is pretty much my favorite kind of cheesy ’80s pop. Guess I’ll have to keep an eye out for this Atanas Ilitch guy, see if he puts out any more albums. Also, I need to see this (and the third one). I’ve only seen the first one (on the big screen, tho!) and it’s gonna end up bugging me if I don’t complete the series.

    P.S. Congrats, Maggie! I feel like the window of opportunity vis-a-vis MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN’s Bradley Cooper is rapidly narrowing since he’s a bigshot director/Lady Gaga co-star now. I might have to go fishing around work for an opportunity…”Hey, you know that guy Bradley Cooper? You don’t?!? Well, let me tell you…”

  8. I just re-watched all three of these, and Part II has way more going on that anyone here is giving it credit for. The Driller Killer in this movie is not the same character as the very real psycho in the first installment. He’s not back from the dead Freddy style. In this one, Deborah Brock uses Courtney’s ongoing trauma from the first movie to drive her fragile mental and emotional state in the second movie (not unlike Laurie Strode in the new Halloween). Her fear about what could happen when giving in to teenage pursuits (as she witnessed first hand), mixed with her mother’s smothering concern after what happened to her daughters, topped off with Courtney’s rock n’ roll dreams and her burgeoning sexuality (honestly a nice follow-up to the character’s carnal interests in the first movie) all form into a heady brew of anxiety THAT MANIFESTS A FUCKING TULPA. As a victim of extreme trauma, she creates her own monster, a fully corporeal thought form being that stalks her and her friends…unless it was all a delusion. The women had to really on themselves and each other because every male in the movie was either obsessed with penetrating them with not at all veiled love drill or completely impotent to be of any help at all. That’s kinda revolutionary for 1987. Hell, it still is today. C’mon everyone, give this movie its due. Brock really had something to say about trauma caused by violence, women’s sexuality, women being subjected to toxic masculinity, etc. while still making it a better than average Corman flick complete with musical numbers. And she accomplishes all this in 77 minutes! This movie gets 26 stars out of 5!

  9. grimgrinningchris

    October 25th, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    I haven’t seen this one since the 80s… I think I need to revisit this whole series with “adult” eyes…

    Also since we are talking about the merging of horror and music, I guess it is as good a place as any to show y’all what has consumed my life for the past 2 months and will continue to for the next 2…

    My first outing as a theatrical (THEATER theater, not movie theater) producer/director.

    [visual-parse url=”https://www.facebook.com/EvilDeadPensacola/?modal=admin_todo_tour”

  10. I’m with Jason S, and am surprised that someone would find this movie boring. There’s a surprising amount of thematic depth in addition to good times hanging out with these characters. There’s real relatable joy in the band’s dynamic, with the sloppy partying being a highlight. It’s a lot of fun, and the flip mocking surreal brutality of the PTSD tulpa is uniquely horrifying – I think along with “Rocktober Blood” this does a good job of capturing the vibe of dealing with a psycho ex-boyfriend, which makes it hit home a lil more. I’ve seen it a few times now and it’s become a favorite, watched it with different women each time and there’s been an overwhelmingly positive response. One of my fave slashers, much better than 1 or 3 in my opinion.

  11. The first SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE is my favourite slasher outside of the traditionals (along with EYES OF A STRANGER and SLEEPAWAY CAMP). But I saw this sequel first. It was about a decade ago at a bar screening, which seems like the ideal way to watch this movie. I’m not as into its late-80s camp vibe as the more straight-faced original, which is why I never saw part three. But it was a good enough time.

    I also appreciate the “Is it feminist?” debates that surround this series, simply because it helped open up the way slasher movies are discussed in general. They’re progressive and they’re regressive, which is part of why they’re fascinating.

  12. I might need to give this one a rewatch. I recall thinking it had issues (the singing killer being one of them; feels kind of out of place? especially since he’s some weird elvis/dice ripoff) but that there was definitely unique stuff to it–the female gaze which Vern covered as well. But importantly, it’s sorta just a girl hangout and chat movie for a good 30 minutes–sorta like what Quentin Tarantino tried to do for a good section of DEATH PROOF–which stands out now for slasher movies and must’ve really stood out in 1987.

  13. Forgot to mention: I rewatched THE MASK OF ZORRO maybe a month or two ago after Vern’s review. Great, fun flick.

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