Wednesday, June 30, 2010

KILLER PARTY (1986) - it's not a real party unless you find a dead hooker the next morning

Here's the rad (although misleading) poster, reminding me of Night of the Creeps, or maybe one of the other zombie prom movies.

Sadly, we open the film at a funeral, forced to confront the horrors of human mortality. The priest does it in his own way, quoting The Wizard of Oz (some shit about the size of your heart). He then tells everyone that the service is over, saying "try to have a nice day". An old man mutters "imbecile!” in response, as if insulted that the priest would attempt to rectify the death of a loved one with such a vague and lifeless pleasantry. A girls runs back in to yell at the corpse after everyone has left the church, and, curiously, gets dragged into the coffin. The coroner sticks the coffin in the oven while listening to his walkman, completely oblivious to the fact that a living being is fucking screaming.

Well, the camera pulls back, and the scene we were watching is a movie playing at a drive-in. Hot valley girl April is being pawed by some guy in his car, so she decides to go get some popcorn to keep from getting date raped. No one is working the concession counter, so she steals some popcorn and heads back to the car, noticing that her date, along with everyone else, is a zombie. What an awesome promotional gimmick. The movie within a movie suddenly turns into a metal ripoff of the "Thriller" video, where April runs through the foggy drive-in being chased by zombies. The featured group is White Sister (a real band, and sort of an aerobic, balding Dokken), playing their power rocker "You're No Fool".

Once again, we pull back, and a girl is watching the video on TV. Christ on a stick. Killer Party is the rare piece of horror trash that feels the need to obliterate the fourth wall within the first five minutes. Normally, this would set up the viewer to be on their heels, that the rug of reality can be pulled from underneath their feet at any moment. However, the rest of the movie is mostly a straight forward horror enterprise (with a bit of the "April fool's joke" motif). I guess the opening acts as some sort of palate cleanser, shifting the audience’s focus away from the narrative and onto the raw details. Either way, it’s anything but a typical way to kick off a horror movie, and totally preferable to some boring ass intro loaded with exposition.

Well, back to the narrative, where several sorority pledge sisters ride their bikes to class, while the insanely catchy synth pop theme plays ("these are the best times of our lives…these are the best times"). The current sorority sisters are chilling in the house sauna, and some champagne is being delivered, keeping this party going. Lo and behold, the delivery is a frat boy prank, and they invade the sauna with an army of bees, and videotape the girls as they are forced to flee for fear of being stung. The girls struggle to keep their supple sorority parts covered with towels, but resolutely fail amidst the chaos.

The sorority house mother gets an oar to the face by a mysterious killer, and our three heroines have to deal with the unfortunately still alive pledge mistress. She calls them "slimebuckets", and tells them that they have to say the phrase "I myself prefer a big fat cucumber" if asked a question at any point during the day. Lo and behold, the girls are in a literature class taught by professor Paul Bartel (of Chopping Mall), who conveniently asks Jennifer "have you ever curled up in bed with a big book?". She is forced to offer up her phallically charged proclamation, and Bartel blames this act of foul mouthed subversion on the fact that she wears a single white sock and a single red sock (These punk rockers today). Bartel should be vaguely turned on by such an exchange, but he must be one of those pretentious tightwads, since the phrase "prevailing bourgeois influence" is written on the chalk board. Therefore, any cucumber metaphors are too low brow to land on his radar. Well, he asks Jennifer to leave, and the other two follow. This irks Bartel to the point of rhetorically asking if everyone wants to leave, to which they do, as they have yet to learn what rhetorical means. All except the nerd, who wants to know about the sexual subtext of Madame Bovary (answer: she needs a cucumber to spice up her boring life).

Later, we get one of those fabulous pledge ceremonies with a bunch of sorority girls wearing robes (surrounded by 73, 000 candles). The pledges are forced to swallow goat eyes while the others taunt them with "baaaaa". A candle shoots sparks to scare them, they have to hold raw yolk in their mouths, and Jen gets her ass paddled. A noise is heard coming from the basement, and pledge Viv investigates, accidentally getting decapitated in a guillotine (I hate when that happens). Well, it turns out nerdy Viv used her ingenuity to pull a prank, using a fake rubber head to horrify the bitchy sorority sisters. That’s way cooler than some stupid sparkling candle.

Paul Bartel shows up again, presenting a "dangers of hazing" educational film. Hopefully these drunk idiots pay attention and take notes, and we can finally stop this tradition…oh wait, someone switches the film with the naked girl sauna footage from earlier. He he…that’s pretty funny. Well, more importantly, the girls are setting up an April fool’s day party at a creepy house, and this spurs my imagination. Namely, I find it curious that three of these slasher type movies that take place during April fool’s day were released within a year of each other (this one, Slaughter High, and...oh yeah, April Fool's Day). Bartel shows up of course, worried about the plummeting morals of these young women, but gets electrocuted by the guillotine in the basement (I really hate it when that happens).

Well, the April fool's costume party gets under way. Phoebe shows up as some sort of ragged ballerina (possibly a stripper that moonlights as a ballerina), Jen is a playboy mansion waitress (they won’t give you a lap dance BTW; don’t bother asking), and Viv is a jester, as the smart ones tend not to dress up as sluts during the holidays. With all the victims in place, a slasher ghost goes to work, possessing costumed party goers. This final sequence is the titular party the film has been building to the whole time. Really, much of the film up to the party scene is an amusing 80’s trash look at college life, featuring three perky ladies that maintain interest (they're cute, stylish, smart, and spunky, in no discernible order). The end credits thank "Hollywood Jeans of Montreal", and I am reminded that this Canadian production does come through with some of that canuckle quirk we know and love, gentler yet more surreal than its American counterpart.

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