How can you go wrong with a title like Slumber Party Slaughter in a movie filled with strippers, great supporting actors and the best exploitation of plastic surgery ever? Add to that, the director/lead actress is the great niece of one of the true and original masters of horror, Lon Chaney. I really wanted to like this movie, and while there are some good parts it’s not so good as a whole. I would rather money be spent on this low budget slasher than the 500 micro budget found footage ghost films that are currently being pushed in the mainstream.
The film was carried completely by Rebekah Chaney. She wrote, directed, produced and starred as the female lead. Her semi retro slasher had a lengthy running time of close to 2 hours and definitely took it’s time getting things started. There were many characters to introduce and though they didn’t have lengthy back stories, their establishment into the present was lengthy. The prologue played out for at least 30-45 minutes before we arrive 1 year later into the main focal period of the film.
I personally don’t mind taking time to establish the story and get annoyed that in films today, most start with a bang before the opening credits, so the break from the norm was nice, but took way too long. The direction was safe, which left the film stale during these lengthy intro character building segments. Robert Caradine was always shot head on while at his table in the bar, Tom Sizemore was framed similarly but more from the side. The provocative dancing used equal lighting and left the clothed strippers to evoke stimulation. Later in the film, the effects were a little to slow in the initial cuts, allowing the setup of the effects to be seen by the naked eye in real time.
A slasher film is often defined as much by the story and the antagonist as it is by the executions and effects. Most of the kills were forgettable, but two of the kills may remain in my memory forever and may be reason enough to watch this at a party or social event. Needless to say both involved mixing nudity, murder and the dismemberment of taboo areas of the body.
The story was confusing, but at times fun. It could have been trimmed a little in the first half and got us to the action faster. Their were several red herrings along the way to make you interested in figuring out who the killer was and the motive behind the rage. This added length to the film, but also added longer segments between the action. Let’s face it, slashers are often about the tension of peril we find most the characters in. Some of the characters are never physically threatened, and to extend the lulls further strange side plots were in place to foreshadow a sequel.
This film stepped right out of the 80s, the lighting of the bars, the over the top themes and a lot of former lead/supporting actors playing unique characters. Anytime Robert Caradine showed his face, I wanted to hear the famous Revenge of the Nerds laugh (breath heeyook, breath heeyook, breath heeyook). Ryan O’Neal looks unnaturally young and sleazy as a semi voyeur in a story line that is not completely explained. Stephanie Romanov plays an antagonist stripper who just screams of Lila from Angel, sans the lawyer wardrobe.
The greatest thing in the film is Tom Sizemore playing a fictional Tom Sizemore. I flat out miss Sizemore and am glad to see a lengthy list of current projects in his in post development. His character is a actually credited to 3 sources, but the largest was himself. There is a shot of his family at home, and him at the strip club, which was meant to resemble Tiger Woods. There is a side story involving a Native American burial ground, which is a nod to Stephen King and Pet Cemetary. The rest is all Tom Sizemore, and award winning method actor with strange habits and some bad addictions to drugs and women. The director/writer said she wrote the part 4 years prior while watching celebrity rehab and based the character directly off of Tom Sizemore. It was just coincidence that he wound up playing the part, and was good enough to do so knowing it was based on him. The character’s name was even Tom.
Rebekah Chaney was stunning in the film, and after the premiere talking about the film. She was very dedicated, and I hope that this is not her last foray into film, as I do believe she has room to grow and evolve her style into something very entertaining. I really wish I thought better of the film, but I can only recommend it for nights where you want to watch a slasher, which for me was always at parties or get togethers. Slumber Party Slaughter is a great party movie, but mediocre otherwise.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars