With last year’s remake of The Slumber Party Massacre getting rave among critics and fans (with WorldFilmGeek rating it their favorite film of the year), it would be a great idea to rank the three originals and the remake from worst to best as this was a franchise that became somewhat pioneering with female filmmakers behind it.
This ranking is solely based on the opinion of WorldFilmGeek. I respect all opinions and if you feel your list is different, that’s totally okay.
So, let’s get “drilling” as I present the worst to best films of the Slumber Party Massacre franchise.
4) Slumber Party Massacre III (Sally Mattison, 1990)
We start with the final installment of the original trilogy. Directed by Sally Mattison and written by Concorde regular Catherine Cyran, this film is somewhat of an essential remake of the original with a few differences, including the reasoning of the killer drilling his way into his victims. There is even the killer himself, who looks like Zack Morris’ stunt double on Saved by the Bell. Then, comes the controversial scene involving Maria Ford’s character and her demise. Mattison has publicly expressed that she was forced to re-shoot this scene by Roger Corman himself, and it left her with a bad taste in her mouth, yet she did enjoy shooting the rest of the film. On another plus, actress Hope Marie Carlton did her own stunts in the film.
3) The Slumber Party Massacre (Amy Holden Jones, 1982)
At number three, we have the original film, written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown and directed by Amy Holden Jones. Originally meant to be a satire on the slasher film, Roger Corman pushed it to be a straight-by-the-numbers slasher film with the prerequisite T&A that was considered an essential to the genre in the 1980s. The story of escaped mental patient Russ Thorn, played by the excellent Michael Villella, unleashing his rage on a group of nubile teens (and some guys) still ranks as a classic to this day.
2) Slumber Party Massacre (Danishka Esterhazy, 2021)
At the number two spot, we have the remake of the film, which was shot in a manner of only 18 days in South Africa with The Banana Splits Movie’s Danishka Esterhazy helming with a script by Leprechaun Returns’ Suzanne Keilly. Keilly and Esterhazy did exactly what Brown and Jones had intended to do with the original and yet still pay homage to both the original and its sequel. Comedian Rob Van Vuuren makes for an excellent Russ Thorn and a new story of sorts involving our group of young women arriving with the intention to stop Thorn once and for all. Not to mention the gender reversal of horror tropes with kudos to Eden Classens for being the one to brave a shower scene for the female gaze.
1) Slumber Party Massacre II (Deborah Brock, 1987)
At the top spot, we have the 1987 sequel to the original film. Written and directed by Deborah Brock, this is a direct sequel which focuses on Courtney, whose sister survived Russ Thorn and is now in a mental asylum. Crystal Bernard plays the young adult Courtney, who has dreams of Thorn reborn as a rock and roller with a guitar with auger at the end of the neck. A weekend with her friends is soon to become a nightmare when her “dream” becomes reality. Atanas Ilitch, decked out on 50’s leather jacket and pants, is great as the resurrected Thorn, who gets his own musical number before offing a victim. Brock would write and direct another sequel to a Roger Corman-produced film, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Forever, three years later.
That’s my personal ranking for the Slumber Party Massacre franchise. With the remake having some rave, here’s somewhat hoping we may get a sequel to the remake…wishful thinking. I would be all for a welcome return of Russ Thorn and the drill.