MovieChat Forums > Slumber Party Massacre II (1987) Discussion > Improves upon the routine original

Improves upon the routine original


The film clicks with kinetic mojo and is almost ingenious in the way it dares to sneer at horror conventions for the first two-thirds. Instead, it focuses on (1.) establishing the quality characters, (2.) the fun antics of their weekend outing at the condo and (3.) Courtney's bloody nightmares, which borrows from "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984).

Like "Friday the 13th Part V" (1985), the movie emphasizes the lingering negative aftereffects of an episode with a mad killer. The driller killer in Courtney's nightmares is curiously part rockabilly greaser and part mid-80's metal maniac. He's naturally a little reminiscent of the rock star killer from "Trick or Treat" (1986), Sammi Curr, but less dead serious and more comical.

I suppose some of the editing in the suspenseful last act could be chalked up to amateurish filmmaking (e.g. when the girl falls from the ledge), but perhaps it better reflects what's really happening.

What is really happening?

***SPOILER ALERT*** Courtney is haunted by her past experience with the real-life driller killer (as opposed to the one in her nightmares), suffering post-traumatic neurosis. In the third act she totally confuses her delusions with reality and so all the deaths are in her mind, like in such films as "American Psycho" (2000) and "The Uninvited" (2009). As such, she ends up in a mental health hospital at the end.

Did she actually kill her friends as she was suffering delusions or was it all in her mind? I think the latter based on the evidence, but it's your call.

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I disagree. While the first one is no masterpiece, this one was too over the top to be taken seriously, while borrowing much from other movies in the genre making it not scary at all.

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The only thing that was over-the-top was the depictions of Courtney's nightmares and her ensuing delusions in the finale, which included goofy elements. Everything else smacked of real-life -- late teens going on a fun weekend getaway. Once you grasp that practically the entire last act was Courtney's delusions it all makes sense. This was an original element that influenced future films, like the one's noted.

Moreover, the film had the gonads to boldly sneer at slasher conventions by refusing to have anyone killed off until late in the film. And, even then, it's not certain that any of Courtney's friends actually died; I think it was all in her mind. If no one actually died, this is one of the first slashers to pull it off, although not the first since one came out in 1986 that did this. But "Slumber Party Massacre II" is more all-around entertaining while the other one has lousy pacing and a less impressive female cast.

Speaking of which, the female cast is superior to the original "Slumber Party Massacre," highlighted by winsome Crystal Bernard (Courtney), blonde Heidi Kozak (Sally) and redhead Juliette Cummins (Sheila)

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I did grasp that Courtney was delusional. While this film might have had a better cast, and production, it didn't have what I enjoy in a horror movie.

As for originality, sure it might have done a few things differently, but it still borrowed heavily from other films. There's nothing wrong with that, it just didn't work for me. As for it influencing other films, I think you are giving it too much credit. I also think you are ignoring April Fools Day (1986).

I'm glad you like the movie, I won't say that I didn't enjoy it at all, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

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I was impressed with the way this sequel dared to deviate from slasher tradition by focusing on the haunting negative aftereffects of a prior confrontation with a psycho slayer, which Friday the 13th Part V" did previously. The difference here is that I don't think anyone died; the killings by the rockabilly driller killer were all in Courtney's mind.

I thought the first film was unimaginatively blunt and somewhat pedestrian; I didn't find the final act all that compelling (my mind wandered a couple of times). Still, it's pretty well done and worthwhile if people appreciate the genre. This sequel is more all-around kinetic with a superior cast IMHO, but I can see where some people might be turned-off by the "it was all in her mind" angle; yet that idea didn't become hackneyed until sometime after "American Psycho" and, especially, "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) made it popular. It was still fresh in 1987.

I've heard of April Fool's Day (and its 2008 remake), I just haven't had the chance to see it yet, but I will eventually. It depends on when it will show up on one of these streaming channels.

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I haven't seen the April Fools Day remake, and I most likely won't, but the original is worth a watch.

I just didn't find the "was it all in her head" original. Not to spoil, but there was a horror movie in 1945 that had a similar twist, and it had been done in other genres around the same time. I just didn't think it was that well done. I can see what you are saying, but because it was so over the top, I just couldn't get into it. It wasn't attempting to be scary. It felt more like the later NOES movies when Freddy became a joke. I don't mind the 'twist', it's just been done much better.

Like I said, the first wasn't a masterpiece, but I appreciate it for the attempt at feminism with phallic symbolism throughout. I do agree that the cast was better in the second, and so was the cinematography.

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I don't have a problem with you or anyone else being disappointed by the movie; I'm just pointing out what I appreciated and thought was notable.

When I said above...

Once you grasp that practically the entire last act was Courtney's delusions it all makes sense. This was an original element that influenced future films, like the one's noted.


...I had no doubt that the "it was all in her (or his) mind" angle was used somewhere in cinematic history. Tarantino got his plot of "The Hateful Eight" from a half-hour B&W episode of "The Rebel" from the late 50s, but that doesn't take away that his Western is bold and unique within the context of both the present day and the Western genre.

It's similar with "Slumber Party II." Within the slasher context of the 70s-80s, what other prior slasher flick took the "it was all in her head" angle? What prior slasher refused to have any one die until the last act? And, if in fact it was all in Courtney's head and no one really died, what other previous slasher had the gonads to feature a story where -- absurdly -- no one dies? Also, in the first two acts the killings seen are in Courtney's nightmares, which means that the story & characters have to be interesting/entertaining enough to hold the viewer's attention; and "Slumber Party II" delivers on this front.

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Without spoiling the movie, there was one where no one died that came out 2 years before.

I think that my issue with this movie is that it is supposed to be a slasher. I get that you like that it have the guts to not have anyone die until the last act. I might have appreciated it more, but scenes like the zit, kinda just pushed it too far over the top.

I understand that that's why you like it, for me it missed the mark.

Just out of curiosity, have you seen the third one?

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Go ahead and spoil it for me; that's the only way I'll be able to seek it out and compare it with this one. It won't spoil it anyway since that element isn't what determines whether or not I like a movie.

The superlative 2009 remake of "My Bloody Valentine" included the "it was all in his mind" concept but, in contrast to this film and "American Psycho," he actually slays everyone while experiencing his delusions. (I have yet to catch the original 1981 version, which I heard wasn't as good as the remake).

scenes like the zit, kinda just pushed it too far over the top.


I feel the same way, generally speaking, since I prefer realism and seriousness, but in this case the movie is depicting Courtney's delusions, which changes everything. If what the viewer is seeing is the creative misconceptions of a character's mind then nothing is really over-the-top since they're delusions and not actual reality. This is how the Elm Street flicks got away with all those imaginative nightmare sequences.

But I can understand preferring to see reality as opposed to illusions or overdone non-horror, which is the very reason I can't stand "The Serpent and the Rainbow" (1988) where there are so many dream/hallucination/over-the-top sequences that they become tedious. Director Wes Craven obviously included them to up the ante with horror props and – hopefully – jolt the audience, but they failed because, after a while, you suspect that what's going on isn't really happening and it's hard to be scared by illusions.

I suppose this very argument could be used against "Slumber Party Massacre II," but (1.) in the last act the viewer is not certain that what's happening ISN'T reality until the very end; and (2.) the story & characters are actually interesting/entertaining, unlike in "Serpent" (for me at least).

I haven't seen the third "Slumber Party Massacre" yet, but I plan to when I come across it.

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The third one is more like the first one and very forgettable in my opinion. I think I've seen in twice since I came out, and I really couldn't tell you anything about it. I don't remember it being awful, just nothing special.

Just out of curiosity, when did you first watch SPM II?

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Last Saturday night.

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Perhaps timing had something to do with it for me. I saw it in about 88, and it really didn't feel that different from other movies at the time.

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there was one where no one died that came out 2 years before


Do you mean "April Fool's Day" and "Slaughter High," both of which came out the year before "Slumber Party Massacre II"?

***SPOILER*** (for anyone who may not want to read further)

At the end of "Slaughter High" the "killer" -- the nerd, Marty -- wakes up in the hospital having been unconscious since the prank accident; his revenge on his fellow classmates at the dilapidated school turns out to be just a dream.

The difference is that in "Slaughter High" the slayings start almost immediately once the youths are stuck in the defunct building even though it all turns out to be just a dream. Plus the cast, story and production values aren't as good as "Slumber Party Massacre II," not that the latter is a great slasher by any means, but it's entertaining and ballsy.

Meanwhile the badly-paced "April Fool's Day" came out in early 1986 and was the first to implement this interesting slasher twist, i.e. no one actually dying. But "Slumber Party Massacre II" is all-around more entertaining, better paced and has a superior female cast, although "April Fool's Day" gets points for an outstanding location -- a mansion on a remote island in the Great Northwest -- and the revolutionary twist.

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