It’s the early 90’s and the slasher genre, though not quite dead, is on life support. Everyone from politicians to major studio moguls are ghoulishly rubbing their hands together, anxious to pull the plug. Trips to the local Mom and Pop video store become depressing exercises in futility for the forgotten fans looking for new slashers. And then one day you spot a new title that conjures memories of the good old days… Slumber Party Massacre 3. You let out a cry that sounds like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and rush to the counter with your precious find. The guy at the register can’t understand a word you’re saying because you’re babbling but he gladly takes your sweat soaked cash and sends you out the door before you frighten the customers.
Slumber Party Massacre 3 is much closer in spirit to the original than Part 2, all the stalk and slash you crave without the annoying Elvis impersonator posing as the driller killer. Jackie (Keely Christian) has a slumber party with her girlfriends (Maria Ford, Maria Claire, Brandi Burkett, Hope Marie Carlton, and Lulu Wilson) plus a few uninvited guests that include a creepy neighbor (M.K. Harris), a weirdo (Yan Birch), and some horny guys trying to crash the festivities. Everyone has a goodtime until the new driller killer (Brittain Frye) arrives with his favorite toy and makes a bloody mess all over the house.
What really makes Slumber Party Massacre 3 stand apart is a vicious third act devoid of the usual dark humor found in the first two entries in the series. Frye’s character is left impotent from years of abuse so the drill’s phallic symbolism becomes much more sinister and the murders become more like brutal rapes. Maria Ford’s death scene is the most difficult to watch, her character begs for mercy while writhing helplessly on the floor. Her attempt to seduce the killer only enrages him to the point of overkill.
Director Sally Mattison keeps the action moving and the blood spraying during the film’s 87 minute running time. The only minor complaint against Mattison is she cast too many blonds in key roles. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse Christian with Burkett and Wilson with Carlton because the actors look so much alike. Screenwriter Catherine Cyran creates strong female characters and a deranged killer with a more developed back story compared to the first two driller killers. Thankfully, Cyran confirms an aspect of slumber parties that men have long suspected. Women at slumber parties will strip for their girlfriends whenever someone turns on a radio. Bless you, Sally Mattison and Catherine Cyran, for having the courage to reveal the truth to the world.
Slumber Party Massacre 3 tries very hard to recapture the magic of the slasher genre’s glory days. Buckets of blood, beautiful women in danger, and bad pop music sprinkled throughout the film adds to the 80’s nostalgia. The film may have been ripped to shreds by critics upon release but Slumber Party Massacre 3 provided one last cinematic fix for strung-out slasher fans before the genre’s revival in the late 90’s. Really, how can anyone not like a film that involves death by electric vibrator? Watch for a cameo by Marta (Friday the 13th 2) Kober as a pizza girl and an excellent Freddy mask when the boys crash the party. Eagle-eyed slasher fans will notice the set used in Slumber Party Massacre 3 was also used in Sorority House Massacre 2.