Slumber Party Massacre. 1982. USA. Directed by Amy Holden Jones. Written by Rita Mae Brown. With Michele Michaels, Robin Stille, Michael Villella. 35mm print courtesy American Genre Film Archive. 76 min.
The first and only slasher film written and directed by women (Rita Mae Brown and Amy Holden Jones, respectively), Slumber Party Massacre is a slyly subversive offering about a group of scantily clad young women alone in the house with a killer outside. Technically a “driller killer” movie, Slumber Party Massacre is comedy-horror turned straight, piercing our ideas of safety at home, and in numbers, as an escaped mental patient and his portable drill stalks Trish and her friends (and the pizza delivery guy and her teacher). The film taps into that very American fear—especially in the uncertainty of the early 1980s—of an outside terror coming into your personal space for reasons unknown. Genuinely scary and certainly underappreciated, Slumber Party Massacre is a benchmark for women making horror their own, and provided the last genuine frights of the first slasher movie cycle.