Friday, March 2, 2012


Holy shit, "Killer Party" is meta as fuck! First off, we open on a funeral scene, where after cursing the coffin's occupant a woman is pulled inside before being delivered for cremation. From here, we pull back to reveal that this is all being watched on a Drive-In movie theater screen, where a young couple are on a date. This all morphs into a truly bizarre hair metal version of Thriller, featuring glam rockers White Sister, as they perform their song "April." As this music video concludes, we once again pull back to reveal that this video is being watched by a nerdy young lady who happens to be one of the REAL film's protagonists. It is, as my good friend Lyrch referred to it as, a cinematic Turducken. From this point on, it becomes nearly impossible to trust or take anything you're seeing seriously, as you've become acutely suspicious of anything they try to sell you on.

This film has rather interesting history, in that it was almost completed in 1978 before producers ran out of money. The film was later completed in 1984, but not released until 1986. I presume the strange opening sequences which actually lead into the film were most likely what was added onto the film, mainly because the band White Sister didn't actually exist until about 1980. However, the hodge podge beginning is truly to the film's credit. It totally clashes with everything else, but in an absolutely fun way, and it does establish an unease with the viewer on a completely different level than most other films do.

Following its hectic opening, the film falls onto a conventional track, but is still strange enough to remain grossly entertaining all the way through til its ending. Even the timeline is sort of weird. The first chunk of the story focuses on three college girls pledging a sorority. During the final initiation, which occurs on Hell Night - the night before Halloween - one of them pulls a gory prank to get back at the snotty seniors for all the hoops they've been made to go through. However, the sisters are so impressed by what she pulls off that they wave her in under the agreement that she help them get back at some frat boys who pranked them earlier.

By the way, I have to talk about this prank, which I believe is also in the trailer. So, the sorority sisters are sitting around naked in their hot tub in the back yard. One of the frat boys incognito delivers a case of champagne, which permits him to remove the back door's knob. Two other frat boys sneak around back and hurl a jar of BEES at the girls in the hot tub. As they flee while being stung repeatedly, the frat boys basically just film the ensuing nudity. While I was watching this with a couple of friends, we pretty much didn't understand why they needed to involve bees. It just seemed really mean and unnecessary. I'm pretty sure two gawky nerds showing up with a camera would have been enough to send the girls running anyway. But amazingly enough, when these same two frat boys show up to a costume party dressed as bees themselves, it almost casts a weird, fetishistic light on what their fascination with stingers.

Anyway, after the Hell Night initiation prank, we skip ahead to an April Fool's Day masquerade party. So, the gap between events is pretty wide and sort of inexplicable. The house where the party is being held is one with a dark history however, having been the site of a series of grizzly murders. But that's all part of the fun! Naturally, there are a few pranks, but there's also someone bumping the party goers off, too. In fact, once people start dying there's really no breathing room. The deaths come in rapid fire succession until the killer's reveal.


Eventually we discover that one of the pledge's, Jennifer, played by Joann Johnson, has been possessed by the spirit of the murderer occupying the dingy house. It's absolutely derivative of "The Exorcist," but the makers of this film take the Italian rout by nicking an idea and giving it an irradiated ice cream paint job. In fact, Johnson's over-the-top performance is what seals this film's victory. With such a wild opening sequence, finding a substantial book end that kept this story from becoming a mediocre down-hill slide should have been possible.

Now, I've seen this described as perhaps one of the worst horror films ever produced. I could not disagree more. In fact, for its period and all of its tribulations, it manages to be a stunning victory. It never manages to be grizzly or disgusting, but it delivers an ample number of creative deaths. I saw a lot of complaints on IMDb which disparage the film by saying it's not scary at all. What, are these people fucking twelve years old? Come on. Horror films are rarely ever a traumatizing experience. I think the most you should expect of a genre film is atmosphere. It should effectively weave a vibe that really sticks with you and creates a moment, and "Killer Party" absolutely delivers mood in spades. Absolutely worth seeking out. The film also features appearances by Paul Bartel ("Rock N' Roll Highschool") and Ralph Seymour, who also played the dude who stole Pee-Wee's bike for Francis Buxton.

Check out the video for "April" by White Sister, featured in "Killer Party." The dude on the keys fucking rules. Watch his kicks. These dudes were also featured on the soundtracks for "Fright Night" and "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Meyers."

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