Digi-Schlock: SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (Scream Factory Blu-Ray)

In 2010, Scream Factory released The Slumber Party Massacre Collection, a 2-DVD set with all three films in the series and a nice selection of extras.  It was a good set but slasher movie fans were inevitably a little disappointed that the first film wasn’t released on blu-ray.  Four years later, Scream Factory has revived the first film for blu-ray – and the results are a success, offering a fresh digital transfer, all the first film-specific extras and a new surprise in bonus features department.

SlumPM-bluThe new high-definition transfer on this disc was taken from the original camera negative and looks quite impressive for a low-budget film from the early ’80s.  The color palette looks surprisingly rich and there’s lot of nice details that pop off the screen (look out for the sweaty closeups of the killer at the end).  Audio sticks to the original mono mix for the film, presented in DTS lossless form here, and the results are clear and crisp for a vintage mix.

Fans will be pleased to know that this set carries over all the features that deal with the first Slumber Party Massacre from the Slumber Party Massacre Collection. The first is a  commentary tracks that features writer/director Amy Jones, actress Debra Deliso and actor Michael Villella  and moderator Tony Brown, webmaster behind the top Slumber Party Massacre fansite, The Old Hockstatter Place.

It’s an easygoing affair, with Brown giving the participants plenty of room to share memories but also infusing each track with comments and questions to give them shape.  That said, Brown’s line of questioning is mainly oriented towards confirming trivia he already knows about the film rather than getting the participants to open up about their feelings and thoughts on their work.  Thus, these tracks never really get under the surface level of what’s going on in the films and interesting topics like the perceived sexism of the slasher genre go unmentioned.

That said, it remains a fun listen because the participants approach their task with good cheer and offer some good behind-the-scenes.  Jones has a pretty sharp memory of the production, most of which was shot in the Venice and Mar Vista areas of Los Angeles, and Villella and Deliso both chime in with anecdotes about the shoot.  Best of all, there is discussionSPM-04 about how the finale of Part 1 was a reshoot added at Corman’s prompting (and how the finale of Taxi Driver influenced Jones’ approach to it).

Also included is the first segment of “Sleepless Nights,” a documentary on the Slumber Party Massacre series that was originally produced for the Slumber Party Massacre Collection.  Jones and several cast members appear in it as the piece deftly weaves their comments into a smooth, snappily-paced spoken history of the film.  There are plenty of highlights, like Villella’s discussion of the offbeat Method-acting techniques he used to create his killer character.  The piece also includes fun fan-related footage to flesh things out, including a tour of the house from the first film and a clip of a kid flipping out when he gets a Slumber Party Massacre VHS as a party gift (note: that kid grew up to be Tony Brown, the commentary moderator on this disc).

SPM-02The new inclusion is an interview with Riggs Kennedy, the actor who plays the next-door neighbor character in the film.  He reveals a memorably quirky personality as he discusses his lifelong love of acting and poetry, how he got involved in the film and a few memories of the shoot.  Things get fascinatingly weird when he gives a performance art-styled rendition of one of his poems, full of bizarre sound effects, jumping around, sudden shouts and wild gestures. The filmmakers intercut this performance with clips of the film as an ironic counterpoint, including a hilarious bit where we see the surviving heroines crying.  It’s probably the strangest extra you’ll see on a special edition this year and Kennedy’s one-man show is worth seeing at least once.

The package is rounded out by trailers for all three Slumber Party Massacre films and an image gallery that includes stills, behind-the-scenes photos and an array of posters and video art from around the world.  All in all, it’s a nice little upgrade for a deserving cult-fave slasher and its fans will be happy to get this title in high definition.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Slumber Party Massacre, click here.

To read Schlockmania’s DVD review of The Slumber Party Massacre Collection, click here.

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