Iconic 80s Horror Is An Unintentionally Hilarious Masterpiece, Stream Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Published

As a straight-up horror film, 1982’s The Slumber Party Massacre leaves a lot to be desired because it plays out as just one of many low-budget films trying to replicate the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th. However, viewing The Slumber Party Massacre as a comedy is an experience that pays off because it was originally written as a parody before being reworked as a more serious slasher.

This clashing of style ultimately worked out, as the humor from the original screenplay is still apparent, resulting in a healthy amount of comic relief in all of the right places.

Jumping On The Slasher Bandwagon

Filmmakers of this era were eager to jump on the slasher bandwagon because there was an audience for the genre, and they were right to try getting in on the action.

Rita Mae Brown, who wrote the original screenplay for The Slumber Party Massacre, had her script overhauled by the film’s producers against her wishes, which only makes me wonder how hilarious this movie could have been if she had been able to have her original vision fully realized. While I would love to read the original screenplay to see what Brown had in mind, I’m glad her sense of humor still helped this movie stick the landing.

Slumber Party + Escaped Serial Killer

The Slumber Party Massacre centers on Kim (Debra Deliso), Jackie (Andree Honore), and Diane (Gina Mari), who are invited to Trish’s house for a slumber party when Trish’s (Michele Michaels) parents are out of town. During the day leading up to the party, there are several reports on the news about a crazed serial killer named Russ Thorn (Michael Villella), who escaped from prison and is considered extremely dangerous.

The first sign of this film’s sense of humor is how quick the girls are to change the radio station, even though the press has reason to believe that the Russ is somewhere in the area.

Very Hard To Take This Film Seriously

The girls in The Slumber Party Massacre debate whether they should invite the new girl in town, Valerie (Robin Stille), to the party, but Valerie overhears them making fun of her and decides to have a quiet night at home next door with her sister, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers), instead. Russ, armed with a comically large power drill, is already primed for a solid rampage after stealing a van from a repair woman, whose head he impales with the drill in front of the school.

Had the girls been more observant, they would have realized that having an unsupervised slumber party was a bad idea.

A Goofy Yet Terrifying Killer

Once the slumber party starts in The Slumber Party Massacre, it doesn’t take long for Russ to go into berserker mode and start racking up his kill count. Though this movie plays it straight for the most part, the tension is broken at just the right times, allowing the viewer to enjoy the show without taking it too seriously.

After a pizza delivery boy gets both of his eyes drilled out, which rightfully traumatizes everybody present, Jackie mentions that she’ll probably feel better if she has something to eat and grabs a slice out of the box that was crushed by the delivery boy when he fell into their house after they answered the door.

Small Moments Of Comic Relief

The small moments of comic relief like this make The Slumber Party Massacre worth your time because this wasn’t typical slasher behavior in the early ’80s. And to be entirely honest, I’m siding with Jackie here because if I were being chased by a serial killer and feeling a little hangry, a hot slice would be the exact boost I’d need to figure out how to make it out of the house alive.

Had The Slumber Party Massacre been more of a comedic film, some of this humor may have been lost if the game’s name was to rattle off as many jokes as possible.

Streaming For Free On Tubi


The Slumber Party Massacre’s initial mixed reception is a product of the time it was released because it was too funny to be as impactful as Halloween and too serious to be marketed as a straight-up comedy. Retrospective reviews have been more forgiving, especially considering how the slasher genre started leaning heavily into dark humor shortly after its release, with 1984’s The Nightmare on Elm Street being one of the best early examples.

While we may never know how funny this movie could have been if it were fully realized as a parody film as intended, it totally deserves its cult following for being one of the first slashers that I know of that uses a healthy amount of sight gags to break the tension.

If you want to laugh when you shouldn’t and cringe shortly after, you can stream The Slumber Party Massacre for free on Tubi.