Jessica's July Pick
The Slumber Party Massacre
Strange, right? That a female horror fan would pick The Slumber Party Massacre and its following sequels as her pick of the month. Well when you think of it, it's not really.
I have an interesting story with this trilogy, well it is interesting to me. When I first stumbled upon this film series, it was in one of my favorite shops here in Ottawa, Odds and Sods. They are a new/used movie and music store that I frequent quite often for horror and metal finds. So, one day, I was browsing their horror section and stumbled across this DVD set and saw the image above and thought "How typical! A slasher movie with barely dressed women on the cover most likely your standard slasher trope - half naked women baring their breast to be taken down by a sadistic killer for no reason but for being a vulnerable woman". I put the DVD back and moved on in my search.
Then a few weeks later, my copy of "Women with Guts" from Rue Morgue arrived in the mail and in reading the fascinating articles, I came across April Snelling's Only Women Bleed: Driller Killer Feminism in The Slumber Party Massacre". My mind was blown! Here was an article discussing the history of these films, all three directed by women (Amy Holden Jones, Deborah Brock and Sally Mattison) with the original script having been written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown. The article, interwoven with interviews, discussed how SPM had laid the foundation for Wes Craven's Scream a decade before by turning the Final Girl trope on its' head. I was immediately intrigued and promptly went back to pick up the DVD trilogy and watch it.
It was a pleasant surprise! While it does contain the nudity and gore of a typical slasher, there are the subtle elements that make it feminist series. The women partake in drugs, booze, talk about sports, have an awesome 80s rock band, eat while death is happening and take on the killer all while maintaining their feminine attributes. These films are an enjoyable watch and picking up on the feminist undertones enhances the viewers experience. While the second one is full of 80's Rock'n'Roll fun and the third one has a pretty serious undertone to it; this is still a good series to own and re-watch.
The reasons why I chose this particular film series for my July pick and have a fondest for them is:
Summer time slumber parties with your girlfriends makes me reminicist of younger carefree times (minus the driller killer).
I enjoy the characterization of both the men and women. Especially when you watch the second one and the two guys, Jeff and Matt, are so tender and comforting to the women, while TJ is the typical party boy of every slasher film. All about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll until he gets cut down.
They are directed and written by women! Which to me is the best part of these series. I find it fascinating knowing it is women behind these films with feminist mindsets challenging the tried and true slasher formula.
Also, it is because of this series I learned the valuable lesson to "Never judge a book(movie) by its' cover" because you never know what gem may be unveiled within.