Slumber Party Massacre 3 (1990)

Slumber Party Massacre 3 (1990)


Writing about the first two films in the Slumber Party Massacre trilogy, I’d pointed out that they were reputed to be the very worst examples of Slasher films. They were thought to provide non-stop scenes of gratuitous nudity, sex, and over-the-top brutality, with most of the violence directed against women. The fact is that The Slumber Party Massacre, parts 1 and 2, were fun, campy romps, meant to poke fun at the Slasher genre as much as provide thrills and some mild titillation. The same can’t quite be said for the third film in the series.

Though we still get the mild-titillation. It is a Corman film after all.

Slumber Party Massacre 3 is far closer to the series’ reputation than either of its predecessors. While 1 and 2 keep tongues firmly placed in cheek (even if those tongues happen to be severed and bleeding), part 3 doesn’t share the same sense of humor. This is a much darker film.

The characters in Slumber Party Massacre 3 share nothing with those of the first two films; this is not a continuation. The plot, though, is familiar. A group of girls plan a night alone, ostensibly away from the boys, though that particular rule is one meant and expected to be broken. In fact, there’re no objections when one of the girls invites a strange boy, Ken, to join the party.

Ken is actually the spitting image of the Mattel toy that shares his name—in more ways than one. In the film’s only sex scene, it appears that Ken might as well be smooth plastic down there, as he forces his bed buddy to contemplate the services of an enormous plug-in vibrator . . . with which she is soon murdered (no, she is not stabbed with the vibrator).

“Now this is the kinda plastic every Barbie should own.”

The cast is the usual mix of nubile young women and corn-fed young men. The acting is abysmal. Maria is a stand-out, played by Maria Ford who made a bit of a name for herself in low-rent horror and lower-rent porn, and providing much of the Corman-sponsored nudity.

Then there’s this guy:

“My pants are full of just jelly beans!”

This is Duncan and when he first appeared on screen, stumbling through the sand at the beach, I thought he was some mentally-challenged dude the cool kids kept around so they could feel good about themselves and/or make fun of him. A few lines of dialogue later, though, it becomes clear that, no, Duncan’s intellect is at least average; he just looks like an adult-sized toddler. Whether it’s a case of reverse progeria, with his body growing larger but his features retaining a pre-pubescent youthfulness, or if he’s actually an adult in a toddler suit bent on infiltrating playgrounds so as to prey on real children is unclear.

But then again, no, that latter theory would presuppose that Duncan is in some way threatening, and he is easily the least threatening human being in the history of horror films. Duncan appears to be entirely asexual. He sneaks into the girls’ party by trading shirts with a female pizza delivery person, and barely even glances at her as she disrobes. His motivation for crashing the party seems to be to prove he could, rather than to see the girls naked. And once he’s in, the girls treat him like someone’s kid brother, as though he hadn’t yet discovered his penis or what it could do, as though even wet dreams are at least a year from manifesting. It’s easier to picture this guy playing with Tonka Trucks than playing with breasts. Imagining this guy in any kind of sexual situation would somehow seem deviant, perverted—like picturing an eight-year-old naked.

I don’t quite remember how Duncan is killed, to be honest, but I figure the scene must have been the perfect mix of funny and sad. The fact, though, is that most of the kills in Slumber Party Massacre 3 are forgettable. What is more memorable is the meaner tone of the film. The killer here is completely unbalanced and, though he is killing women with a drill, threatening rape on more than one occasion, there is the sense that we are meant to sympathize with him, to feel sorry for him.

Yes, the Driller Killer in Slumber 2 was also chasing women with a drill—a guitar-drill, no less—but the killer and the movie were so goofy, so ridiculous, that one couldn’t help but laugh. Slumber 3 has none of that goofiness; it is far more realistic, not just in its violence, but in its threat.

There’s also the fact that, in the previous films, the women worked together, particularly in the first Slumber, in which three of them team up to off the killer. In this movie, though a few of the women do finally band together, one particularly unpleasant scene has three of the women watching on silently while a fourth is tortured, threatened with rape, and finally impaled with a drill.

“Uh, girls. Little help!”

The fun isn’t here. It’s as though the filmmakers of Slumber 3 just didn’t get the joke; they catered to the reputation of the first two rather than building on the spoofy, goofy tone that had already been established.

The mean-spiritedness of The Slumber Party Massacre 3 leaves a bad taste in the mouth, especially after the sour-sweetness of its predecessors.

Length: 87 min

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