SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE III is less crazy than part II, and has less going on thematically, but to me it was a little more fun to watch this time through. I don’t think this one is connected by any characters, though the killer has a backstory that I didn’t quite follow, so maybe there’s something there.
Like the other two SLUMBER PARTY MASSACREs, this is directed by a woman, Sally Mattison this time. This was her only time directing – she was a casting director and associate producer for Concorde, including for BLOODFIST and SILK 2. Screenwriter Catherine Cyran (credited as “Bruce Carson”) also wrote BLOODFIST II, FUTURE KICK and HONEY 3: DARE TO DANCE. As a director she’s responsible for three sequels in the THE PRINCE & ME franchise, among other things.
This time our heroines start the movie playing beach volleyball against, men, and thus begins the procession of male creepos skeeving them out. An intense ponytail guy they just call “the weirdo” (Yan Birch) walks over, sits down and blatantly stares at them, and he later shows up at the house where they’re having their sleepover. A neighbor named Morgan (M.K. Harris) is in the house when Jackie (Keely Christian, HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD II) comes home and acts weird, and later is seen spying on the girls with a telescope. The boys they played volleyball with show up uninvited and scare them with Halloween masks while they’re dancing around partially naked (you know what goes on at these all girl slumber parties, according to these movies). Those guys get yelled at, chased out and not forgiven. On the other hand the nerd Duncan (David Greenlee, IRON EAGLE) pays a young pizza delivery woman for her shirt and to let him deliver the pizza to the house just so he can check them out, and they let him come inside and hang out with them. I guess he’s non-threatening enough.
As is traditional for the series, it’s completely ambiguous how feminist and/or exploitative it is. I notice that Mattison and director of photography Jurgen Baum (SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II, HARD TO DIE, MARTIAL OUTLAW, ONE TOUGH BASTARD) managed to cram alot of ogling into one pretty cool camera angle:
Also, the treatment of the very likable big-haired Maria (Maria Ford, DEATHSTALKER IV, ANGEL OF DESTRUCTION) is disappointing. She has to do that uncomfortable thing that happens in many horror movies and thrillers where she’s overpowered and pretends to acquiesce, using her sexuality and psychology to try to distract him so she can get his weapon. And it doesn’t even work – she’s graphically drilled. Even worse, I read that she originally just got killed, and Mattison had to shoot this against her wishes on Corman’s orders. But I think it’s notable that Maria not only tells him he can do whatever he wants to her, but that she’ll listen to him. She understands that he’s one of those guys who feels entitled to a woman and then thinks he’s been wronged if they’re not interested in him.
Similarly, the police officer answering the phone (for some reason there’s no operator) doesn’t believe Jackie and keeps telling her to stop calling. When peeping neighbor Morgan calls to report the same thing the officer calls him “sir” and immediately agrees to send someone over. Seems pointed.
Also, Mattison does acknowledge on the commentary track that she didn’t want to fall completely into the standard formula. She chose to have the first murder happen before the party so there was no sex = death implication. All we know is that she played volleyball and then she gets killed in her car. I think it’s supposed to be parked in a bad part of town because she’s acting all nervous walking past graffiti and nearly crashing into the world’s most intimidating street tough: a little boy with a backwards hat and radio.
If he had a skateboard or sunglasses I’d turn around and run away.
What makes the movie watchable, I think, is that the girls have strong, likable presence. Of course, Concorde negates their individuality in the marketing by once again making a poster with some other random swimsuit girls.
If I may SPOIL who the killer is, it’s some dreamy rich boy they invite to the party, appropriately named Ken (Brittain Frye, HIDE AND GO SHRIEK). It’s kind of a relief when he’s revealed because it explains some really ludicrous choices he’d been making – first claiming that he had to go get his uncle and couldn’t try calling him because he’d be asleep and wouldn’t hear the phone, then convincing his friend to stop and break into “the old lumberyard” to steal tools to use as weapons. It turns out to be an ambush but it’s also the kind of nonsensical thing that can happen in these movies, so it didn’t immediately tip me off.
I’m not saying this is great, but it’s practically 2001 compared to Jim Wynorski’s SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II, which was filmed on the same set around the same time. I guess the house is across the street from the one in THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, which looks like 2001 compared to this.
Director Mattison wrote and performed two of the songs on the soundtrack, “Pale Imitation” and “Hold Your Fire.”