It’s been a bit of a busy week so my posting’s been delayed. Please allow me to apologize by showing a picture of my cat, Lord Booington.
I know you’re deeply interested in what happens in Slumber Party Massacre III. The first movie set the premise and the second one Courtney Bates as she coped with the events of the prior movie. The third movie is like a retelling of the original movie with an entirely new cast and new characters.
According to the handy booklet that came with my edition of the movie, the director, Sally Mattison, and screenwriter (Wikipedia cites her as a producer), Catherine Cyran, weren’t horror fans so they immersed themselves in a week of watching horror classics. You can definitely feel this inexperience with the horror genre because the tropes of slasher movies are all there but they’re done very clumsily.
The basic plot is similar to the first movie, a group of girls throw a slumber party, are interrupted by their guy friends, and are then picked off one by one by the psycho killer. The differences are in the details.
This time, Jackie (Keely Christian) is throwing a slumber party with her friends because her parents are out of town house-hunting. Their family is moving and their house is on the market. So it’s time to party!
Unfortunately, they’re a little freaked out by the weirdo that stared at them during most of their day at the beach.
He reminds me of Orin from Parks and Rec.
Did you know that the actor who played The Weirdo (and is actually credited as “The Weirdo”), Yan Birch, was one of the people under the stairs in the movie The People Under the Stairs? You can use that knowledge at your next bar trivia night.
Furthering the creep factor, Jackie’s neighbor, Morgan (M.K. Harris) just let himself into her house before she got home because he thought it was an open house. Furthering the Parks and Rec metaphor, if The Weirdo is Orin, then Morgan is definitely the Jerry Gergich. Damnit, Jerry, who just goes into someone else’s house?!
The girls are perturbed when their one friend, Sarah (Devon Jenkin) fails to show up for the party. They’re further bothered during Maria’s strip-tease (Yeah, I don’t get that movie slumber party trope, either) when their guy friends show up and scare them.
This movie has lots of red herrings and fake scares, like the original, but none of them feel natural. The Weirdo is never explained, he’s just there until they find him dead in a trunk.
Anyway,they realize something’s wrong when Juliette (Lulu Wilson) disappears after having sex with her boyfriend, Ken (Brittain Frye). I have to say, Juliette’s death is one of my favorites in slasher history. Basically, she gets busy with Ken in Jackie’s parents’ bedroom–eight levels of rude, amirite? Afterwards, she uses the parents bathroom and finds the mom’s vibrator. Snoop! She takes it and plugs it in. My roommate and I watched this movie and we were both horrified that she touched a stranger’s vibrator. Can I get a collective “Eeeeew?”
Juliette runs herself a bath and someone drops the vibrator in the water, electrocuting her. Uhm, if that vibrator can’t handle moisture then it seems like the most dangerous sex toy on the planet.
Maria finds Juliette, dead, in a plastic suit bag. They then realize that there’s a killer in their midst.
Ken and one of the guys, Tom (David Kriegel) go out to find Ken’s cop uncle and Ken attacks Tom. Turns out that Ken is the killer!
Ken goes to this creepy truck that he’s turned into a mobile shrine. After a quick pep talk there, he returns to the house and resumes his killing spree. Why is Ken killing his friends? We’re never really given an explanation. Just a weird flashback of Ken’s cop uncle, Uncle Billy (Ron Smith), saying vague threatening things and seeming to molest Ken.
This movie is definitely more coherent than the second entry in the series but I like it less than the original. In the booklet that came with the DVD set, Jason Paul Collum attributes the long-lasting popularity of the series to the fact that the girls display sisterhood instead of catty meanness. I think that’s true to a degree but I found it frustrating in this movie how little they helped each other out. The girls were constantly getting scattered apart and never truly banded together until the end.
There’s a level of viciousness in this movie that’s not in the first two movies. Aside from the inherent violence of using a power drill to kill someone, there are extended sequences of violence against the various victims. Does Ken the Killer hate women? It’s weird if he does since he wasn’t molested by a woman. Or does he just hate sex and the sexual power that he presumes his victims possess?
I think I like slashers and the horror genre in general because I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I like the tension of a well-plotted chase. Unfortunately, the pacing of the movie felt off. I definitely found myself losing interest in what was happening and the poor performances of some of the actors didn’t help. This movie has some of the most stilted line-readings I’ve ever heard.
The movie does bring up some interesting points. The girls call the police for help repeatedly and are dismissed each time. It isn’t until Morgan calls the cops (While peeping on the girls–EEEW!) that the police take the threat against the girls seriously. Why does it take a man’s intervention for the police to take the threat seriously? This movie can be seen as a commentary on how women are looked down-upon for their sexual power by those who lust after them and can’t control their own urges.
This is definitely an interesting movie but I think I’ll always love the original the best. Those girls were plucky and unique. I can tell that I’m not really feeling a movie when I can’t remember the characters’ names at all. I had to look up every single character in this movie.
This isn’t the best slasher but it’s not the worst either. I’d recommend it for Slumber Party Massacre completists and as a time capsule of early 90’s fashion.