The Slumber Party Massacre was released in November of 1982. I was four years old at the time, so of course I didn’t see it until several years later, when I was having a family member drive me to my home away from home, the local video store, every day of my life. I’m not sure how old I was when I was finally able to rent the tape and check it out. Ten years old, or so, more than likely. If you were a ten year old boy, standing in a video store in 1982, and you saw the cover of the VHS edition of this film, with promises of gratuitous violence and nudity, you probably understand what kind of place this film has in my nostalgic heart. It has been a long, long time since I have revisited it. So long in fact, that I never even made the upgrade from VHS to DVD, when it was finally released. Sitting down to watch Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray release of the film, would be my first exposure to it that didn’t involve being hunkered down in a dark corner, staring at a tiny TV, playing the film in all of VHS’s fuzzy, muddled glory. I’ve seen it since I was a kid, of course. Back when most video stores started doing “5 For 5 For 5” on all catalog rentals, it was often on the stack that I took home with me to plow through before the next day. I’m fairly certain I was in college the last time I rented it, back before the full-corporate takeover of local video stores took away my favorite haunts, such as Moooovies, give or take an O, that eventually caved and was converted to a Movie Warehouse. Between the stress of life, and self-imposed stresses between my college days and now, I’d say my eyes were about as fresh as they could be towards this particular title, and I’m sitting down to watch it with high hopes of it standing the test of time.
So then, to answer the question; Does The Slumber Party Massacre hold up, after the almost two decades it has been since I watched it? I’m happy to report, that as far as B-rate slashers go, this one still sits pretty high on the list of greatest of all time. It’s the love that was put into the production that really lets it shine more so than some of the other crap that studios pumped out onto VHS during the 80s. It’s not a perfect film. It definitely has its issues, but to remain as creepy and effective as it does after all of these years, it must have done something right, right? Yeah, Michael Villella’s performance as The Driller Killer is over-the-top, but it is over-the-top in a creepy way, and not overly cheesy/intolerable. Michael is a method actor, which means he refused to socialize with the rest of the cast during production, until after he’d killed them. This maintained a solid level of menace, when he would attack one of the girls, a portion of that terrified reaction was real, because he presented himself as a menacing dude. Things like that, things that most productions lack, add an extra layer of validity to this movie that is far better than it has any right to be.
The Blu-ray looks great. There are some issues you’ll have to forgive, mostly having to do with the production budget, and the way the movie was filmed, causing an organic smoothness to the picture. That, and there are still plenty of dirt specks and blemishes left in the print. As I mentioned above though, I haven’t seen this movie since the days of VHS, so it is a major upgrade for me, and even if you own the DVD, from what I’ve been told/found through research, this is a major upgrade from that as well. I honestly can’t imagine anything being done to this film to make it look any better than it does. Most imperfections would have to be solved with DNR, and you know how much us collector’s love that, right? Imperfections and all, this AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1, with a DTS HD Master Audio mono track, presented in DTS HD MA 2.0 is the absolute best The Slumber Party Massacre will ever look or sound. There aren’t many extras on the disc, but what is there is well worth the purchase. Sleepless Nights: The Making Of The Slumber Party Massacre was a highly entertaining education as to the production of the film, and honestly, probably worth the current price of the disc on Amazon by itself. Also included are the trailers for all of the Slumber Party Massacre movies, interviews, and an audio commentary with the director, Amy Holden Jones, and actors Michael Villela and Debra De Liso. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of The Slumber Party Massacre is highly recommended. Here’s hoping they bring us the sequels.