NOTE: This review has an introduction section to put my screening in context. The start of the main section on the feature film is marked for those who do not want to read the whole thing. On April 14th, two days before the Boston Marathon, the city streets were flooded with tourists. Many, myself included, ended up passing in front of the Loew's movie theatre, which was hosting the 10th annual Boston International Film Festival. Standing next to a sign in front of this movie theatre was a man in a camouflage jacket and what looked to be some sort of Halloween mask. He was handing out flyers advertising a the movie mentioned on the sign - Slumber Party Slaughter. On second thought, "handing out" may not be the right phrase - he was forcefully shoving them at any passerby not walking fast enough to avoid him. Adding to his apparent desperation was his assurance that "the first fifty tickets are free" - which piqued my interest almost as much as the poster, a terrible Photoshop rush job that made the movie look like something thrown together by a 13-year old with his dad's camcorder. I took a flyer, and the man, in an almost accusatory tone, asked "You'll come, RIGHT?" - clearly, he was not confident in the success of his endeavors. I assured him I would, and really, why wouldn't I? Crappy, no-budget horror movie for free? Sounds like my kind of Saturday. I did in fact show up, just in time to overhear a discussion between two box office workers about how some guy out front was telling everyone they could get free tickets. Which, as they explained to me when I asked, was a complete lie - no matter how early you got there, tickets were $12. But whatever. He'd gotten me in the theatre and I was morbidly curious, so I paid for my ticket and went up to a second-story auditorium. It turned out that what I'd paid for was actually a double feature, beginning with a 30-minute drama film entitled Turnaround. As part of a film festival, much of the cast and crew was in attendance, including the lead actress. She had an obvious sense of self-importance, with a fancy dress and a completely dishonest air about her as she answered questions from one or two people who were interested while portraying one of the most painful fake personalities I've ever come across. My immediate thought was, "bitch can't act". The movie proved me right. It was incredibly, unspeakably terrible. Not only could that bitch not act, just about no one in the movie could. At least it was laughably bad; I was chuckling throughout the brief-but-still-too-long runtime. It turned out most of the people attending this screening session were friends and family of the cast and director (who also founded the festival, explaining how such a massive dump on the name of cinema got shown). Predictably, this meant the film was highly praised by those in question, with particular faux amazement expressed at the twist ending the writer was so proud of - one that was both awfully contrived and incredibly easy to see coming a thousand miles away. The few people unrelated to anyone who'd made the movie remained respectfully quiet. After all, if you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing. After that movie ended, about half the people in the auditorium left. The quality of the previous film had left me especially concerned about Slumber Party. But, surprisingly, it turned out I didn't need to be worried. HERE IS WHERE THE SLAUGHTER SYNOPSIS & REVIEW STARTS Although the poster and trailer don't do much to make this clear, Slumber Party Slaughter is actually a parody of horror movies, with specific story parallels to I Know What You Did Last Summer and Vacancy. The story is centered around a group of females, who, in the prologue that opens the movie, work together at a Halloween-themed strip joint. Casey (Rebekah Chaney, descendent of the legendary Lon Chaney and also this movie's writer, director, and producer) is the girl who wants more from life but is stuck working the job to support her little brother. Victoria (Stephanie Romanav, The Final Cut) is the veteran, a woman who's close to getting too old for the job but loves her work. She's also a stone-cold bitch. Felicia (Marissa Skell) is the airheaded bimbo who brags about how she "beat Heidi Montag" by getting 11 plastic surgery operations in one day despite not knowing what all of them actually are. Nadia (Elyse Levesque, Stargate Universe) is the wannabe pop-star who can't sing to save her life. Last but not least, Nicole (Caroline Macey) is the down-to-earth innocent girl who seems too good for this job. One night, movie star Tom Kingsford (Golden Globe nominee Tom Sizemore playing a parody of himself) visits the club and decides to take the girls along for a ride in his limo. Unfortunately, they're tailed by two sketchy fellows - creepy strip club regular Dave (Robert Carradine, known to me forever as Lizzie McGuire's dad) and his tattooed, split-tongue sidekick known only as "Mod Man" (Michael Bowen, The Last House on the Left remake). The girls socialize with the drug-addled star, who shows off his mask and fancy knife from his latest movie - a horror film in which he plays the killer. During a commotion in the local graveyard, Tom Kingsford gets run over by his own limo. The girls agree to never speak of the event to anyone and bury him in secret - but Dave was there, and he saw the whole thing... At this point, the movie flashes forward one year. Casey is now a police deputy, Nadia has apparently somehow gotten a recording deal (and is killed while in the recording booth), Victoria is still working at the club, and Nicole has a new job watching the house of millionaire William O'Toole (Oscar nominee Ryan O'Neal). With Mr. O'Toole headed out for a business convention, Nicole invites her friends over for a slumber party - which spins out of control when Victoria catches wind and hands out invitations to all the strip club customers. Little do the partiers know that William is actually in the guest house, watching the action unfold through hidden cameras in order to make a snuff film with his creepy gardener as the killer and the guests as the victims! Meanwhile, Casey is drawn to the house in search of her increasingly rebellious younger brother, who she believes is having an affair with Victoria. As she looks around for him, O'Toole's gardener stalks and attempts to kill Felicia, stupidly wandering alone in the basement... but is beaten to the bunch by another, unidentified killer, one using Tom Kingsford's mask and weapon! Who is the killer? Who will survive? Will Casey find her brother and be able to use her police training to save the guests? And who would've thought that any of this would actually be interesting? One of the things that surprised me most immediately about the movie was the production value. It apparently cost about $1.5 million, and it makes good use of the budget throughout. The cast, while all still relatively unknown or well past their prime, includes some recognizable names, and the special effects are mostly decent. The look is the movie is pretty nice - it was shot partially on 16mm film, which lends a gritty, old-school appearance to the proceedings. The kills are gory, creative, and funny. Nadia is killed before the party starts, her face shoved into her microphone, which becomes embedded in the back of her throat. Felicia is the first to die at the party, from electrocution - and her many implants pop out of her body and go flying across the room! I won't give away the rest of the deaths, but all of them are well-staged and rather amusing - and this is certainly not playing it safe for a PG-13. It's not the goriest or most shocking film ever, but gorehounds should be mostly satisfied. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot. It wasn't high art but there were actually some solid story threads tying the film together, unlike most parodies of late. There were parts during my screening that were unclear, confusing, or glossed over, but it didn't bother me too much because I was having so much fun with the movie. Apparently, we were shown a rough cut of the film - several plot scenes and one death had yet to be edited in. With any luck, everything will make sense in the finished version. The film is funny, if never uproariously hilarious. The jokes, for the most part, aren't genre or movie specific, so you don't need to be a hardcore horror fan to enjoy it. For those of you who are into that sort of thing, there's some female nudity and a lot of scantily-clad hot chicks (they ARE strippers, after all). For those of us into that OTHER sort of thing, there's one ripped male character who spends a scene running around naked just before he's killed. No frontal, but a couple ass shots, which is more than this demographic usually gets. I don't feel right giving this movie a real score in its unfinished state, but I see no way the addition of more scenes could make this movie worse - it sounds, in fact, like it's just going to get better. As such, I'm giving this a special preview score of: OUTLOOK GOOD. The movie has yet to been screened for distributors, so release details are not available. However, the producer assured us that several companies have expressed interest based on the film's website and trailer. After the screening, there was a brief Q&A session with writer/producer/director/star Rebekah Chaney, star Tom Sizemore, and star Jarrod Bunch (who had a smaller part as Tom's bodyguard). They all seemed friendly and open (as opposed to the fake, self-righteous bitch from the short film), happy with the film, and optimistic about its future - there are apparently already plans for a sequel. I recorded the Q&A, and here it is!