THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982 ) Reviews of slasher classic

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‘Close your eyes for a second… and sleep forever.’
The Slumber Party Massacre is a 1982 American slasher horror film produced and directed by Amy Holden Jones and written by feminist Rita Mae Brown, apparently as a parody (her original titles were Don’t Open the Door and Sleepless Nights).

The movie stars Michele Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella, Debra Deliso and Andree Honore. Future Scream Queen Brinke Stevens has a minor role.

Amy Holden Jones wanted to direct and asked Frances Doel – then head of the script department at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures – for advice. She gave Jones a number of scripts one of which was Don’t Open the Door. She saw the first eight pages had a dialogue scene, a suspense scene and a violent action scene, and decided to film them. Her cinematographer husband Michael Chapman got some short ends of film for her and they borrowed some equipment, hired some actors and shot the scenes at their house over a weekend for $1,000. She showed the result to Corman who agreed to finance the film.

There have been three sequels to the movie: Slumber Party Massacre II (1987), Slumber Party Massacre III (1990) and The Cheerleader Massacre (2003).

Jason Paul Collum also directed a documentary, Sleepless Nights: Revisiting the Slumber Party Massacres, in 2010.

In 2021, a remake directed by Danishka Esterhazy (The Banana Splits Movie; Vagrant Queen) from a screenplay written by Suzanne Keilly (Ash vs. Evil Dead) was announced.


Trish Devereaux (Michelle Michaels), an eighteen-year-old senior decides to throw a slumber party while her parents are away for the weekend and their neighbour Mr Contant (Rigg Kennedy) is given the job of checking in on the girls during the night. That morning, she gets up, dresses and heads to school.

Meanwhile, a mass murderer with a fondness for power drills, Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), has escaped from prison, kills a telephone repair woman (Jean Vargas) with a power drill and steals her van. Trish meets up with her friends Kim (Debra Deliso), Jackie (Andree Honore) and Diane (Gina Hunter) and the girls on her basketball team. The new girl, Valerie Bates (Robin Stille) is invited by Trish but refuses after hearing Diane talking cruelly about her.

Russ Thorn watches the girls leave school from the van and a girl named Linda (Brinke Stevens) goes back inside the school to retrieve a book for a test but is attacked by Thorn and murdered with a power drill. That evening, the party and the bloody decimation begins of the girls, as they smoke pot and talk about boys. Valerie lives next door conveniently and is babysitting her younger sister Courtney (Jennifer Meyers).

driller killer in slumber party massacre 1982

Diane’s boyfriend John (Jim Boyce) and two other guys from school Jeff (David Millbern) and Neil (Joe Johnson) arrive and spy on the girls undressing. Thorn kills Mr Contant, drilling through his neck, and meanwhile, Courtney is begging Valerie to go crash the party, but Valerie protests. Diane begins making out with John in the car and after she gets out to ask Trish permission to go off with John, she comes back to find him decapitated. Diane tries to flee but is murdered with the drill…


Buy Blu-ray:

“The original Slumber Party has aged well, proving to be one of the smarter slashers of its time and a highly underrated effort from the genre’s Golden Era. It’s a fun mix of comedy and carnage” DVD Talk

” …the film features the standard tropes and cliches of the genre – scantily clad girls, no way to contact the authorities for help, a killer who has an almost supernatural ability to move about the environment and an almost super-human strength – but remember that Slumber Party Massacre was made in 1982 and at the time it was actually a pioneer of the genre…” Nerdly


“Slumber Party Massacre would have been a somewhat better movie had it either been allowed to remain the parody it was meant to be, or received a more thorough rebuild when the satirical intentions were abandoned. Nevertheless, I’m really kind of glad we wound up with this misbegotten half-measure instead … ” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting


“There are long, lingering shots of women soaping themselves in showers; and for teenage girls, the female characters seem to be inordinately fond of lacy, grown-up negligees. But the film’s gender commentary becomes more obvious with the portrayal of Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), the killer driller of the film. He’s no Leatherface; in fact, he resembles a mouth-breathing Spanish teacher in 80s double denim, with a weirdly feminine voice to boot.” Dazed Digital

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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The Slumber Party Massacre was released as a Limited Edition Steelbook on January 21, 2020.

The package contains a NECA eight-inch scale action figure likeness of Russ Thorn, the psycho killer in the movie, complete with his huge drill.

The package will also include an exclusive 28.5″ X 16.5″ rolled lithograph designed by artist Laz Marquez. Meanwhile, bonus features for the movie include:

New 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
“Sleepless Nights: The Making Of The Slumber Party Massacre“
Audio Commentary With Director Amy Holden Jones, Actors Michael Villella And Debra De Liso
Interview With Actor Rigg Kennedy
Theatrical Trailer

Cast and characters:
Michelle Michaels … Trish Devereaux-Craven
Robin Stille … Valerie ‘Val’ Bates
Michael Villella … Russ Thorn
Debra Deliso … Kimberly ‘Kim’ Clarke
Andree Honore … Jackie
Gina Smika … Diane
Jennifer Meyers … Courtney Bates
Joseph Alan Johnson … Neil – House of Lost SoulsIced; Berserker
David Millbern … Jeff
Jim Boyce … John Minor
Pamela Roylance … Coach Rachel Jana
Brinke Stevens … Linda
Rigg Kennedy … Mr David Contant
Jean Vargas … Mary (Phone Repairer Woman)
Howard Purgason … Mr Devereaux
Anna Patton … Mrs Annette Devereaux


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