The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) movie poster

director Amy Holden Jones
viewed: 09/19/2017

Wow, The Slumber Party Massacre is such a remarkable slasher film.

It has frequently been noted that the film’s script was originally crafted as a satire by feminist writer Rita Mae Brown, and that it is one of the few classic era slashers directed by a woman, Amy Holden Jones. The Slumber Party Massacre has been read (and fairly so) as feminist and/or a genre critique specifically one the issue of “the male gaze”.

My reading, though, focused not so much feminism or the female gaze, but more the female experience and to a smaller extent feminine desire. That it is a female dominated story, in which women are all the main characters (the killer, despite showing his face, is much more symbolic than a real entity). Bechdel test the heck out of this one.

Even when the camera lingers over the gratuitous nudity or the blatant phallic nature of the killer’s weapon, this film’s perspective is novel and unique in genre so typically focused on female victimization.

I found the creepy older neighbor guy a fascinating trope on its own. This film is so ripe for analysis, Freudian, feminist, whatever. There is so much text to work with, and also to enjoy.

This is where my star rating really fails me. I might give it 3 1/2 stars but I would give it five full hearts.  The movie is only so good quality wise, but off the charts in lovability. Maybe I need an equivalent heart rating to accompany my star rating.

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