Monday, January 5, 2015

Last Slumber Party, The (1988)

Directed by:
Stephen Tyler

Vulgar 30-year-old 'teens' have their throats cut with "an extremely sharp implement of an undetermined nature, possibly a surgical scalpel." News at 11!

Dr. Sickler (David Whitley) has a little "disagreement" with his patient Mr. Randalls (played by the director), a psycho killer who was recently apprehended after sneaking into a teen girl's bedroom and is now upset because the doctor "tried to cut out part of his brain" (?) Apparently never secured to his bed, Randalls gets up, steals some scrubs and a scalpel and somehow manages to just walk right out of the hospital; stuffing blankets under his sheets to fool Sickler and his not-very-observant nurse Lisa (Mary Louise Michel). Now on the prowl, the nut has revenge on his mind. He slashes up the nurse at a bus stop while some orderly just sits there sleeping and then heads toward his favorite doctor's home for an unscheduled visit. And wouldn't ya know it, he shows up on the same night Sickler's teen daughter Linda (Joann Whitley) is having two of her friends - Chris (Jan Jensen) and Tracy (Nancy Meyer) - over for a slumber party.

You'd figure that making a film where an escaped killer slices up teen girls would be easy enough to do, but this movie does everything wrong. It even does things wrong that I didn't know could be done wrong until I saw them here with my own two eyes. There's no nudity, no gore, the acting is some of the worst you will ever see, the characters look only mildly inconvenienced to be having their throats slashed and the movie somehow manages to simultaneously not have a plot and not make a lick of sense. The sound sometimes completely drops out, ends of lines have been clipped off due to inept editing (or filming), the same shots of the killer bugging out his eyes and coming toward the camera are repeated over and over again and the photography is all over the place. One moment the image will be crystal clear and the next it's so dark and blurry you can barely make anything out. I couldn't even figure out what kind of camera or film stock they used because some shots look completely different than others.

Back in the day, the video stores in my town always put this right next to the first two Slumber Party Massacre films on their otherwise alphabetically arranged shelves; probably assuming it was the final entry in the official series. That was probably distributor United Home Video's intent all along, as this film's poster - which shows three girls in sexy lingerie being attacked (when the ones in the film actually wear baggy shirts and shorts) - completely rips off the ad art for the SPM series. However, what this movie copies the most is actually HALLOWEEN (1978). A timid Laurie Strode-like girl and her two slutty friends are the primary targets, one of the girls actually seems to be trying to imitate P.J. Soles and the two more 'experienced' ones repeatedly tease the virgin about setting her up with some guy she has a crush on but is too shy to ask out. The difference between the two films is that the girls in Halloween are at least somewhat likable and the ones in this film are obnoxious, foul-mouthed skanks. The Chris character seems go down a checklist of every known gay slur and uses them all to make fun of the boys who eventually show up to crash their party. Chris' love interest is a sweet talker himself, calling her a "stupid bitch" and saying things like "Fuck you whore!" as she looks on adoringly. Nice.

The "victims" do such boneheaded and senseless things throughout you'll be left scratching your head wondering whether anyone was taking the proceedings seriously or not. When it gets down to the final girl, there's one point where she's standing in front of an open door and one of her friends falls over dead inside from a fresh wound. Instead of, you know, running out of the door she's standing right in front of like any normal person would do, she quietly steps back inside and closes the door! As far as the ending is concerned, if you could make any sense out of it, you're one step ahead of me. It's something like a nightmare-inside-of-a-nightmare-that-may-actually-be-a-premonition-or-just-another-nightmare-that-may-loop-continually-for-infinity. Or something. I have no idea.

I  also somehow doubt this was made in 1988, despite the fact that's the copyright in the end credits and some late 80s 'hair metal' tunes from Firstryke were added to the soundtrack at some point. The hairstyles and clothing were definitely not cool in late 80s, there's a reference to Shelley Hack being on Charlie's Angels and one of the girls has posters of The Bee Gees (!) and The Beatles on her bedroom wall. A poster for Xanadu (1980) is also seen, so I'm gonna venture a guess and say this was actually filmed sometime between 1980 and 1982 (Note: It was filmed in 1981 according to the director). In 2004, VCI released this on DVD along with the insufferable shot-on-video slasher TERROR AT TENKILLER (1986).

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