DirectorDeborah Brock/Sally Mattison
Release Date(s)1987/1990 (January 17, 2017)
Studio(s)Concorde Pictures (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: See Below
- Video Grade: See Below
- Audio Grade: See Below
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: A-
After the success of The Slumber Party Massacre, Roger Corman decided to make sequels, simply titling them Slumber Party Massacre II and Slumber Party Massacre III. Helmed by female directors (an unorthodox move, especially in the 1980s), they more or less followed the formula of the original, which included black comedy, horror, and a bit of nudity. When stacked up against the original, however, they’re not quite as sharp in addressing the unintentional theme of a man invading a woman’s world and destroying it with his, ahem, deadly member.
Slumber Party Massacre II picks up sometime after the events of the first. We find the younger sister of one of the women murdered by the driller killer grown up but suffering from nightmares. Now a part of an all-female rock band, the four of them get together for a party and, soon enough, a leather-clad maniac wielding a guitar with a drill on the end spoils the fun. Slumber Party Massacre III passes the baton to a new killer, who takes up the mantle where his murderous uncle left off, murdering more young women with a power drill.
Slumber Party Massacre II is the more enjoyable and interesting of the two sequels, especially given that all of its events may simply be a figment of one character’s imagination. It’s also the more, dare I say, upbeat of the two movies, with lots of laid-back rock music and amusing performances. Slumber Party Massacre III feels a little perfunctory and is more serious by comparison. Much of the fun of the first two movies is missing, and we’re left with a killer who is simply mimicking events from the original movie. Still, both movies were very low budget and managed to make a profit when they were released, especially on video. Considered cult classics these many years later, they’re lumped in as a part of the slasher fodder of their era, but with a little extra something to them.
Both movies are definitely major upgrades in the A/V department on Blu-ray, but you might want to keep your expectations in check a bit. Shot quickly with very little money, they look as good as they can considering the elements. Slumber Party Massacre II is presented in its original 76-minute R-Rated version. It’s a little on the soft side, but carries much more fine detail, particularly in the shadows. Grain levels are handled very well, being mostly even throughout with some nice depth. The color palette seems a little saturated at points with skin tones dipping into pink territory a little more than expected. Black levels are solid and contrast levels are satisfactory. It’s also a very clean presentation with next to no damage or dirt on display, but there is some leftover mild wobble in spots. Slumber Party Massacre III is presented in its original 75-Minute R-Rated version. By comparison, it’s a sharper presentation with stronger grain levels and much more overall depth. Colors are less saturated with more natural skin tones, blacks are solid, and contrast is slightly more balanced. It too is a very clean presentation, but wobble is a little more obvious in places.
For the audio presentation of Slumber Party Massacre II, an English mono 2.0 DTS-HD track is included. It’s a very centered presentation, as one might expect, but features good dialogue reproduction and some decent ambience in spots, particularly the nighttime scenes towards the end. The music throughout is also well represented, which is a good thing as it’s a big part of the movie’s soundtrack. There isn’t much in terms of dynamics or bass and there’s some apparent light hiss, but it’s very clean otherwise and sounds good overall. For Slumber Party Massacre III, there’s an English 2.0 DTS-HD track. Although it’s a stereo presentation, it doesn’t offer much in terms of speaker-to-speaker activity. It sounds mostly centered but with some occasional dynamics and decent ambience. Dialogue reproduction is strong, and both the music tracks and score have some boost to them. There’s also some surprisingly decent bass in certain places as well. Overall, both tracks are very enjoyable. Subtitles are also available for both movies in English SDH.
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO: B-/B+/B+
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE III FILM/VIDEO/AUDIO: C+/A-/B+
The extras selection should also make fans very happy. Nearly everything has been carried over from Shout! Factory’s previous DVD release of the three movies. For Disc One, which contains II, the extended 85-minute Unrated Cut has been included in standard definition, which has been compiled from three different sources to make it as complete as possible. There’s also an audio commentary with writer/director/producer Deborah Brock, producer Don Daniel, and story editor Beverly Gray, moderated by Tony Brown; the full-length Sleepless Nights: Revisiting The Slumber Party Massacres three-part documentary; the theatrical trailer; the Embassy Home Entertainment home video trailer; and a still gallery. For III, the extended 87-minute Unrated Cut has been included via standard definition inserts. There’s also an audio commentary on the extended version only with director Sally Mattison, actresses Brandi Burkett and Hope Marie Carlton, and story editor Beverly Gray, moderated by Tony Brown. Also included is the movie’s theatrical trailer and a still gallery.
It’s also worth noting that when Shout! Factory originally released these movies on DVD in their Slumber Party Massacre Collection, the audio commentaries featured actress Juliette Cummins and story editor Beverly Gray. However, due to legal issues, those discs were quickly withdrawn and the audio commentaries were censored, editing out both Cummins and Gray, leaving long gaps of silence. With this new Blu-ray release, Beverly Gray’s portions have been reinstituted, but Juliette Cummins is still absent. So, if you’re one of the luck people that own that initial DVD release, you may want to hang onto it for those uncensored commentaries.
The bottom line for fans is that this is definitely an upgrade you’ll want to take advantage of. The movies have never looked or sounded better on home video and they have a decent amount of extras to go with them.
- Tim Salmons