A Return to Basics (Of Drilling)

Slumber Party Massacre III

After the second Slumber Party Massacre, it was honestly hard to say what direction the series would take going forward. Would it be another weird, dream-sequence laden affair, one that followed the continuing exploits of the Dream Rocker (or whatever his name was)? Once a series goes in that direction, you would assume that it will continue down that very weird path. The Friday the 13th movies used Jason as the killer in the second film, and it's not as if they ever said, "hey, you know what? Let's just bring back Mrs. Voorhees."

Of course, the Slumber Party Massacre films aren't a self-contained set -- there were also the Sorority House Massacre films as well as the later Cheerleader Massacre films (and one side-story, Hard to Die). Taken in perspective of all thee films, Slumber Party Massacre II, with it's dream-hunting killer and strange tone, stands out as the exception and not to rule for all the films.

Thus, with the third (and final) Slumber Party film, the series goes back to basics, ditching any fantasy elements (and, thankfully, musical numbers), for a much more standard slasher experience. Weirdly, it's also completely unconnected to the previous films. If they guy didn't use a drill, you'd think you were watching a different series.

We open on the beach, were a few friends are together, enjoying the afternoon, sunning themselves and playing volleyball. We learn that Jackie (Keely Christian) is moving away soon, her mother having gotten a job out of state. Tonight will be one of their last big hurrahs, a slumber party for all the girls (a bunch of no-name actresses with essentially nameless characters) to enjoy themselves before everything changes. Of course (as always happens in these films), their boyfriends sneak in and the party gets pretty wild. Everything gets out of hand, though, when a killer shows up and the bodies start dropping...

So, yes, we're once again dealing with a killer going after girls without any weird dream sequences or strange "is this all real" vagueness. Although I'm all for a bit of mind-bending strangeness in my movies, I can appreciate a much more normal "killer vs. girls" scenario. And that's what we get here -- no frills, just a pretty normal slasher film. If you want gore, a boobs, and more gore, with a killer who uses a drill, this is your kind of Slumber Party Massacre film (and also, because of that drill, you have very specific tastes).

For a slasher film, Slumber Party Massacre III is pretty good, honestly. Sure, it's more of the same from the first film, but it does it pretty well for this franchise. The best part this time around are the kills, which are definitely more gory. I still have issue with all the ways a drill is used (you aren't going to do anywhere near the damage the film thinks you will just waving a drill around. Drills are now swords, and the whole point of a drill is to put pressure on it and shove it in, not just bounce it along a surface. The kills are numerous enough, though, and we get plenty of blood and guts, to make it worthwhile.

While the gore is great, the acting is pretty middle-of-the-road for a slasher film. No one is mugging for he camera, which is nice, and everyone at least seems to be in character. The actors, though, weren't going to win any awards for their work, but their acting is never bad enough to pull you out of the movie. Most of the girls can scream really well, so they all clear the low bar needed for convincing horror acting.

We do even get some kind of motivation for the killer this time around. The film sets up something about his uncle being mean... it's all in the dialogue from the killer, and it's still not really well explained. That said, they trust us to figure it out (and don't spend a lot of time on useless flashbacks). He's at least motivated, and it makes sense in a way, so we can all accept what's going on. That gives him a better explanation than a lot of horror movie killers.

Still, this is a slasher movie, so plot isn't entirely essential. For this kind of film, a "day in the life of the victims" story, what really matters is pacing, and this film is pretty well put together. The kills are steady and they come early and often enough that you don't get bored. It's entertaining enough, and you don't have to think too hard, which, for most people, is about as much as they're going to want out of their slasher material. It's not high art, but then if you wanted that you wouldn't be watching Slumber Party Massacre III.

Much like the first film, Slumber Party Massacre III is nothing special. It's pretty average, but certainly watchable. Watch it on its own, or in a double feature with the original. Just do yourself a favor and skip the second on while you're at it.

The Killing Floor:

First Sin:

Alcohol this time around. The girls start in with beers after 15 minutes, which is enough to get them killed via the rules of a slasher flick.

First Kill:

After the lackluster massacre of the second movie, we get a much more lively slaughter this time around. The first attack comes eight minutes in and it's a gorier, much more graphic affair than before. The killer still uses a drill, because that's apparently the weapon of choice in this series, but we'll take what we can get.

Final Body Count:

Eleven. One before the party starts this time around, and then nine more (including the poor pizza girl) once the party officially gets going, although not all of them are killed on screen (we just see their bodies afterwards). Plus the killer die, and since these movies are all largely unconnected, we have to assume his on-screen death sticks -- no return visit for this guy.

Articles about the Massacre Series

Slumber Party Films: The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), Slumber Party Massacre II, Slumber Party Massacre III, Slumber Party Massacre (2021)

Sorority House Films: Sorority House Massacre, Sorority House Massacre II: Nighty Nightmare, >Sorority House Massacre III: Hard to Die

Cheerleader Films: Cheerleader Massacre, Cheerleader Massacre 2