Boring enthusiasts rejoice! The Driller Killer is back, baby! Hey, you! Yeah, the sheepish individual sitting cross-legged in the corner. Do you like to watch youngish women, and their annoying boyfriends, murdered with power tools, specifically the large, guitar-shaped variety? Well, then do I got a film for you. Whoa, whoa, hold on a minute. Why am I asking the openly shamefaced if they like to watch men and women get poked violently with drills? And why am I using so many exclamation points and asking so many questions? The question you should be asking yourself is: Why on earth did it take you so long to bathe your taupe-flavoured eyeballs in this pastel-coloured piece of cinematic resplendence? Yeah, that's right, it's resplendent as all get out. The scrunchi-rific Slumber Party Massacre II (a.k.a. Don't Let Go) is a straight up masterpiece, yo. Featuring unexpected pus, vibrant clothing, multiple bottles of New York Seltzer (the elusive beverage also makes an appearance in Deadly Prey), strategically placed bits of denim, and girlish pillow fights (the kind that cause horny bass players to jettison their bras), filmmaker Deborah Brock (Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever) has somehow managed to add enough skull-scratching weirdness to a film that is basically about a drill-wielding maniac to fill up a neglected, algae-stained kiddie pool.
Weirdness is fine and dandy, but is the film's drill still a penis substitute? You better believe it is, and even more so, if you ask me. As in The Slumber Party Massacre (come for the drilled teenagers, stay for Debra Deliso's delicious gams), the assailant in Slumber Party Massacre II, an Andrew Dice Clay imitator who's a staunch advocate for the preservation of rock 'n' roll, handles his tool like it were a fully engorged member; thrusting it deep inside the bodies of those he wants to penetrate.
I thought the sequel's guitar-factor added an extra layer of genital-centric oomph to the proceedings, as it's been said that the guitar is the ultimate replacement for a non-existent cock. The way it's pushed forward in a sort of humping manner on stage sends out a clear signal to those ovulating in the audience that their potent seed is ready to rock. You could say–and you know I will–that the guitar is the ball sack (a warm, thoroughly complex housing used to hold seminal fluid), and the drill itself is the penis (a shaft-like delivery mechanism used primarily for stabbing at crevices).
While everyone has to deal with the threat that an erect penis poses at one point or another during their lifetime, it's safe to say that female slumber party attendees are the segment of the population that are the one's most at risk. Oh, sure, there are handful of them that love to poke around inside men, exploring the depths of their masculinity like a deranged dentist, but the fleshy appendages seem to especially adore stingily attired women. There's something about their delectable shape that drives all the driller wielders wild, and the same can said for those who carry red guitar-drills. My point is, while it's obvious that they prefer to drill ladies, they will stick themselves in a man if they have to.
Targeting Courtney Bates (Crystal Bernard), the younger sister of the main final girl from the first film, The Driller Killer (Atanas Ilitch), now an obnoxious creep in a frayed leather jacket who takes unorthodox cigarette immolation to a whole nother level of campiness, torments the high school senior and budding rock star (she plays a teal-coloured guitar and sings backing vocals in an all-girl pop band) by menacing the suspender-wearing scamp in her dreams.
If you remember Courtney from the first chapter of the slumber party saga, you'll recall that she lived in Venice, California, loved perform self-massage, and had a thing for orange short shorts (but then again, so did everyone in 1982). Now a shy girl–the kind that like to admire dead birds on their way to school–Courtney has made it clear that she does not want to spend her birthday visiting her older sister Valerie (Cindy Eilbacher) at the local mental hospital (all the drilling and killing that went down way back in '82 has apparently traumatized her sister to the point of institutionalized madness). Instead, she begs her mom (the fabulous Jennifer Rhodes - "Veronica, dinner!") to allow her to spend the weekend with her gal pals/bandmates at an undeveloped condo out in the desert.
Employing the help of her friend Amy (Kimberly McArthur), after, of course, they're done singing along to "Tokyo Convertible" on the radio, Courtny asks Matt (Patrick Lowe), a hunky guy she often imagines catching a football without his shirt on, to attend one of their after-school rehearsals. When he arrives later that day, the band is the middle of performing "If Only," (a catchy number that is actually a song by Wednesday Week). The unnamed band, who I've decided to call "The Pink Scrunchies" in honour of their drummer's, you guessed it, pink scrunchie, are Courntey (guitar, backing vocals), Amy (a guitar player who seems to be channeling Diane Keaton from Annie Hall, albeit, a more bosomy version), Sheila Barrington (Juliette Cummins) is the band's bass player and lead vocalist, and Sally Burns (Heidi Kozak) is their scrunchie-sporting, Slice-drinking drummer. After they're done, and finished engaging in some restrained tongue-kissing around back, Courtney invites Matt to their much ballyhooed desert condo lark.
Load up the station wagon, because it's time to hit the road and prepare for what Sally declares will be: "the ultimate slumber party weekend!" Smacking the back of the passenger side headrest like it were a snare drum with her pink drum sticks, Sally makes her bold announcement like it were a call to action. Just for the record, whenever someone is done yelling "the ultimate slumber party weekend," they must, utilizing their vocal chords, let out a loud wooing sound. How long they "woo" for is entirely up to the person doing the wooing. But make no mistake, a moderately sustained "woo" must be uttered. Feel free to add a "yeah" to the end of your woo. For example: "Who's ready for the ultimate slumber party weekend? Wooooooo! Yeah!" I find that it gives the wooer a sense of closure.
When they finally arrive at their destination, the girls get right down to business. Busting out the booze and corn dogs, Sally declares (the girl loves to declare shit) that she can't wait to be in movies and rock videos. This firm pronouncement inspires the girls to dance seductively to "Hell's Cafe" by Hell's Cafe, hit each other with pillows, and strip down to their underwear, well, Heidi Kozak (Society) and Juliette Cummins (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning) do most of the striping down (I guess the former Playboy Playmate and future Wings star were too bashful to get their sexy on). Watching all this rambunctious behaviour take place from the pervy comfort of a window are two male acquaintances, the James Duval-esque T.J. (Joel Hoffman from Killer Workout) and Jeff (Scott Westmoreland), who show up a day early to cause trouble.
Sitting by the pool in the foetal position, Courtney, wearing a pink and purple bikini, is still shaken by the intensity of her recent drill-themed dreams. Consoled by Amy, who's tender bits are sheathed in a teal-cyan-navy blue bikini, Courtney paints a pretty bleak picture. The Driller Killer, who is still an ominous figure wrapped in mystery (he only appears in brief flashes), continues to haunt her. Most in attendance agree that T.J.'s decision to throw her in the pool was ill-conceived. Sure, Sheila, who looked scrumptious in a bikini whose colour scheme was similar to Amy's, scolds him for being so stupid (I think she calls him a "jerk"), but the chlorine treated water seems to aggravate Courtney's already fragile mental state.
Speaking of aggravation, where was Sally when all the poolside frivolity was going down? You mean to tell me you made a movie with a pool scene and you forgot to include Heidi Kozak? Is that what you're telling me? Luckily, Heidi shows up a little later in teal bikini, which looked super-awesome against her blonde hair and white scrunchie. But the fact Heidi wasn't featured in the pool scene was outrageous. Oh, and the scrunchie change–you know, from pink to white, while troublesome at first, made it perfect sense. Check this out, not only did it match the straps of her bathing suit, but it was the same shade as her acne medication.
Sticking with the Kozak theme. I won't lie, a small part of me thinks that I've been going to the jean short well far too often as of late. Waxing semi-poetically about their skimpy appeal like an unhinged freak with some kind of denim-only brand of Tourette's syndrome, my mind seems awash with the coarse fabric. However, you've got to understand that if the movie I'm watching features a character, or, in some rare cases, multiple characters, who appear on-screen wearing jean shorts for an extended period of time, it's not only my duty to comment on them, it's my birth right.
When it came time to examine Heidi Kozak's heterogeneous jean short work in Slumber Party Massacre II, I chose to use a more analytical point of view, as supposed to my usual crotch-based approach. Why was she wearing them? And why were they so short? The length question is the most baffling because shorts in 1980s, according to my sources in the fashion industry, were getting longer and baggier with each passing year, especially since the cancellation of The Dukes of Hazzard in 1985. On the other hand, Heidi's shorts seemed to be getting shorter as the movie progressed. And, as an expert when it comes to short length, I was left mystified by this backward state of affairs.
As to why she was wearing them? Well, I think it had a lot to do with Sally wanting to divert attention away from her face. You see, while Sally is a gorgeous human being, and, I must say, the sexiest member of The Pink Scrunchies (her Valley Girl accent, affinity for the colours teal and pink, song writing prowess, love of killer corn dogs, and yellow tummy top drove me insane), she is quite self-conscious when it comes to her skin. She thinks her face is covered with pimples, but in reality, her complexion, much like her aura, is flawless. Nevertheless, by wearing the shortest jean shorts in the long and storied history of jean shorts, she feebly attempts to deflect, what she perceives as judgmental leering, and shift the focus instead on to the impeccable length of her shapely legs.
While the design of the guitar drill, the uncooked chicken attack, the pus facial, the sight of a breakdancing Driller Killer, and the exquisite paleness of Juliette Cummins's supple frame (which looked amazing in a pair of barely black nylons) were all terrific, the real star, of course, was Nadine Reimers. Who's that, you say? Well, let me put ot this way, without her, you wouldn't have the incredible shrinking jean shorts, garish swimwear, or colourful dresses that looked like they were haphazardly splashed with house paint.
As the film's costume designer, Nadine was responsible, along with production designer John Eng, for creating the candy-coloured temperament that permeates the chromatic core of the Slumber Party Massacre II universe. Seriously, every scene has this pastel flavour about it that calms your nerves (which need calming, you know, with all that drilling going on). Their crowning achievement comes when Crystal Bernard's cherry blossom pink outfit and the kitchen curtains were in perfect harmony with one another. Now you could say that it's one of the accidental benefits of making a film in the late '80s, or you could say that it was a direct result of Nadine and John's commitment to excellence. And you know what? I choose to believe it was the latter.