Slumber Party Massacre, known in Brazil simply as the O Massacre, is a little-known slasher trilogy; even more if we compare with some of the most popular like Friday the 13th and Halloween. Its cult status, however, could be very popular as soon (probably again this year) when a remake is released – which will have genre fans looking for the original and its sequels.
The remake even released a first official image, which we announced here on CinePOP. Without a known name in the cast, the management is in charge of Danishka Estherazy, responsible for the insane “terrir” The Banana Splits Movie (2019), based on the script by Suzanne Keilly, from the series Ash vs. Evil Dead. The references only reaffirm the female duo as an expert in the mix of horror, comedy and madness, well suited to the content of Slumber Party Massacre – and still taking the very feminine hook of the original.
The Slumber Party Massacre remake has been defined as a reimagining of the original and taking into account that the first film diverges completely from the content of the second – the latter has already become cult due to the insertion of a lot of conscience. self. humor – we can expect the re-reading of the work to be an amalgamation of the first two feature films of the 1980s.
It all started in 1982, with the release of The Massacre (Slumber Party Massacre). It was the pinnacle of slasher movies, quick and cheap to make and very profitable at the time. Halloween (1978) had been a phenomenon, and Friday the 13th (1980) elevated the game by popularizing the subgenre with a large audience. Thus, the following year, in 1981, a veritable flurry of titles filled theaters in what was considered “the year of the slashers”. Productions such as the Macabre Valentine’s Day, Pay to Come In and Pray to Leave, Flames of Death, as well as Halloween and the Friday the 13th sequels filled theaters.
In the midst of all this frenzy, filmmaker Roger Corman was forced not to be left out of this movement. Corman is an iconic Hollywood director known for his super low budget productions and for being responsible for starting the careers of many industry greats, see Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Jack Nicholson, for example. . A die-hard believer in spending little money and making a profit on his films, it’s clear that Corman has started to shell out his own slasher. To stand out from all that was produced, Corman brought in two young artists to lead his project: Rita Mae Brown, a well-known activist for feminist causes, who signed the screenplay, and Amy Holden Jones for the directing.
The slasher subgenre has been notoriously criticized for its misogynistic content, after all its content essentially consisted of young women slaughtered in the most brutal manner by a murderer, a sadistic man, in one hundred percent of productions of this type. So, screenwriter Rita Mae Brown chose to write a review of this style of film, delivering text that would function much more like satire, mocking how ridiculous the genre clichés were. Unfortunately, the irony went unnoticed by Corman and the other producers, who quickly asked director Amy Holden Jones to play a slasher on par with everyone else. With his hands tied, the filmmaker did as asked, securing a career in Hollywood, but being heavily criticized at the time.
Although Slumber Party Massacre (1982) did not reach the levels of irony and metalanguage that one would see years later in works like Panico (1996), for example, one can still notice some implicit humor. in the situations – as the character decides to eat pizza from a dead delivery boy, with the body in front of him, simply because he is hungry but pretends to feel bad. The title Slumber Party refers to the famous slumber parties, when teenagers get together to sleep with friends. This is exactly what the plot offers, meeting schoolchildren in one of their homes, for a quiet night of pizza and fun. As usual in teenage comedy movies, the boys will come out to spy on the girls. What not everyone expected was that a maniac who had run away from a mental institution would also come to the scene, armed with a drill to tear apart the unwary.
The cult power the film assumed, especially after the advent of video stores, saw Corman return to the title five years later. Without the filmmakers being unhappy with the “betrayal” of their original material, the producer this time chose a single filmmaker for the roles in the script and in the direction of the work. Deborah Brock even had a proper name for a slasher in which the psychopath uses a drill or a drill (brock in English) for his murders. Brock gained sufficient autonomy in his unique signing and chose to distance himself as much as Brown and Jones created in the original. Basically, if the first film followed the molds of Halloween and Friday the 13th, the second Slumber Party Massacre was inspired by the most creative slasher of the decade: The Nightmare Hour (1984), by Wes Craven.
By the time of the release of Massacre 2 (as it was called in Brazil), maniac Freddy Krueger had already won three films to play the lead role. The hallucinogenic atmosphere of her films, set in a dreamlike world where there were no rules for the imagination (and for the creativity of the filmmakers), was what interested Deborah Brock when making her product. . This time, Roger Corman has embarked on the proposal. Thus, in 1987, one of the most cult films of the sub-genre and certainly the most interesting of the trilogy was born. Slumber Party Massacre 2 is a constant state of delirium, where reality is what matters least. So much so that the original assassin even takes on new forms. Russ Thorn, the psychopath known as “Drill Killer”, leaves his quiet middle-aged appearance (played by Michael Villella, following the cast of Jason and Michael Myers) to become “rocker Danny Zuko”, all dressed in leather (played by the youngest Atanas Ilitch).
Now only known as the Driller Killer, he’s the sequel’s surreal villain who haunts the protagonist in her dreams and possibly the real world as well. Wanting to follow Freddy Krueger, Driller Killer also has his dialogue consisting mostly of catchphrases and jokes – here, mostly lyrics and titles of famous songs. Oh yeah, I should also mention that the second Slumber Party Massacre is a musical, and very rock ‘n roll. The protagonists are no longer just high school girls, but members of an all-female amateur rock band, spinning and moving with their voices accompanied by guitars and drums. A real rock band was hired to create the songs heard in the film. Other than that, the killer sings, dances, and his drill is now actually a modified guitar.
Slumber Party Massacre II doesn’t take itself seriously, it uses nightmare sequences with bizarre creatures, a trend in the 80s, and because of that it’s a lot more fun and original than its predecessor. But the “saga” would not end there. Corman would still manage and deliver a knockout blow to this so-called franchise, with the third film released in 1990, at a time when the slashers had completely lost their strength. Precisely for this reason, Slumber Party Massacre III is the least celebrated, even reaching cult status of the previous two. This one is just bad and trashy, with no intention of the fans to care. However, Corman pursued his proposal to make these slasher films “feminine”, hiring two women for the roles of screenwriter (Catherine Cyran) and director (Sally Mattison). As usual, new characters and a new assassin drill, this time without a tenth of the glow of the previous ones. The current psychopath here is an edgy, blonde, starched little preppy played by Brittain Frye. Maybe the idea here was to expose the toxic masculinity of many playboys. The guy is even called Ken, the eternal partner of the Barbie doll.
In 2003, the slasher Cheerleader Massacre was released, originally slated to be the fourth installment in the low-budget horror franchise Slumber Party Massacre. The film even uses clips from the original film as a flashback. However, in the end, it didn’t officially become a sequel to the series.
Now, with a remake of the original nearing completion, set for release in 2021, and again with a female team at the helm, both scripted (Suzanne Keilly) and directed (Danishka Esterhazy), but without any involvement from Roger Corman, it it remains to be seen which path the reimagination will take in your story. An official synopsis has yet to be released, just a picture. One can only wait for the first trailer to get an idea if the option will be for a more serious and darker horror slasher to the beat of the original, or an artistic and creative nightmare with strong links to surrealism, as in the following.
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