Halloween Adventures in B-Movie Horror 2021, Part 1

It’s spooky season, Halloween is close, and I’ve been watching more B-Movies! It’s the genre that truly keeps on giving, with plenty of schlock to go around.

For this first installment of Adventures in B-Movies 2021, I watched films with a lotta drillin,’ resulting in a lotta killin.’

The Driller Killer (1979)

He’s ready for slaughter, after a stop at Home Depot.

This flick from the late 70s became known as a “video nasty,” a term used for pictures banned in the United Kingdom. While the movie certainly has some sick death scenes, though, the nastiest part of this movie was actually a gross looking pizza the characters ate about halfway through.

This movie is basically a sleazy, slasher version of “Taxi Driver.” A clearly troubled person becomes all the more disturberd by his surroundings, causing him to act out.

The movie earns points for its grimy, gritty portrayal of New York City, as well as its gruesome power drill kills. The movie certainly lives up to its name. There’s an especially good drill-to-the-head death.

There are some issues, though. In between the kills, there are some major lulls, to the point where it loses a viewer. Plus, in the film, the main characters live next to an apartment unit where a band rehearses, and the music is… not good.

This one has some sleazy charm, with low grade acting and a few nice kills, but be in for a few forgettable moments if you choose to watch.

1.5 out of 3 annoying bands.

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

He’s furious about the decor. I mean, look at those curtains.

This movie features a murderer known as the Driller Killer, not to be confused with the Driller Killer from the aforementioned “Driller Killer.” The murderer in this flick notably uses a much larger drill.

“The Slumber Party Massacre” gets the slasher genre right in a lot of ways. It has plenty of humor and a plethora of death scenes that should satisfy genre fans. It’s not the bloodiest 80s flick, but it delivers enough where it counts.

It does all of this in a tight runtime and a solid pace. The movie gets off to a quick start with a murder taking place at the school the characters attend and builds from there with plenty of memorable moments.

The protagonists opening the door to a pizza delivery guy propped up against the door with his eyes already drilled out is a great example.

The movie also earns points for its approach on the male gaze and general misogynistic attitude that can exist in the genre. This is represented especially in the maskless killer who’s constantly wide-eyed and has a phallic weapon.

The commitment to this factor, and how the movie plays out in the end, makes this a memorable slasher entry.

3 out of 3 pizzas that don’t go to waste.

Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

Rock out with your power drilltar out.

A good sequel usually keeps some elements from the original production while still moving the series in a new direction. That’s certainly the case with “Slumber Party Massacre II.”

Like its predecessor, this film features a group of teens under attack from a killer using a drill for a weapon. This time, though, the approach is somewhat different.

The movie is clearly inspired by “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” to the point where it references that series. On top of the references, the picture’s protagonist is one of the characters from the first film who’s traumatized from those events, and for most of the movie, it tries to make it seem like the killings are in her head, the same way the deaths seemed to be just a dream in “Elm Street.”

The similarities continue with the antagonist. This time around, the Driller Killer not only has a a bigger drill (attached to a guitar), he also has an eccentric, playful personality.

The result is a funny, entertaining horror comedy with kills that exceed those from the first. The movie is oozing with 80s energy, especially with the music, which plays a role as the main characters are in a band and the killer is a rocker clad in leather.

It’s certainly goofier than the first movie, but it’s clearly meant to go in a different direction and simply be an amusing experience. And it succeeds.

3 out of 3 popping zits.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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