Killer Party (1986)

I first saw this in the early 90s when I rented it from Citizens Video, a local mom and pop video store in NW Indiana with my best friend, Matthew Denny.  We were the type to rent any horror movie that looked funny. Everything from BLOOD DINER to DEAD-ALIVE was consumed on a semi-regular basis. KILLER PARTY is one of those titles that does not often get mentioned when people discuss 80s slasher movies but it’s certainly one of the more roguish examples. It is exactly the kind you used to see on the video rental store shelf and take a gamble on. Filmed in 1984 (though I read elsewhere that it was 1978 and delayed six years), it was initially titled The April Fool. Essentially, Killer Party is three films rolled into one.  It’s a teen sex comedy mixed with a slasher mixed with a possession movie, and I would say two of the three I still enjoy quite a bit particularly once we reach the final act.It begins with a film-within-a-film funeral, transitions into a music video, then becomes a college comedy filled with sex jokes and goofy pranks, with one eye-rolling sequence involving bees. Honestly, it is only in the final hour that it fully becomes a full-blown slam-bang horror movie but spending time with this ensemble is a constant joy.

Our three main characters (Jennifer, Phoebe, and Vivia) are like-minded friends and pledging the same sorority. The actresses playing those roles are great and the viewer feels as if they truly are friends. Jennifer is the studious, sensible one. Phoebe is excitable one and goes along with the group, and Vivia is the nerdy prankster (if this were remade, Kate McKinnon would play this role wonderfully). The girls must go through the typical sorority hazing and tasks in order to become Goats, not literal goats, but that’s what they call those who are inducted into the sorority. The most memorable line from the movie comes from a scene in which the snotty head of the sorority, Veronica (Alicia Fleer) tells the girls that when asked a question in class, they must respond by saying "I myself prefer a big, fat cucumber." Oh those wacky sororities and acting on dares.  When it's aiming for laughs, there's some good slasher moments as well despite the excised gore that might’ve made this film even stronger. The killer's costume itself is quite imposing, with the whole body hidden behind an ancient diving suit that is big and bulky, giving it a unique touch on the stalker costume appearance. The kills themselves aren't that bad, as there's a hammer to the head, being impaled with a three-prong pitchfork, decapitation with a guillotine, a corkscrew rammed into the top of the head, electrocuted on a fuse box and being repeatedly whacked with a wooden canoe oar that really get the best deaths. The fact that just about all the deaths occur during the party is a good move, as it allows it to just be over-the-top fun in every way possible. However, most of the blood is not shown on screen, which I believe wasn’t the original intent from those involved.  B

James Laczkowski