Killer Party (1986)


When Killer Party (1986) was released in 1986, I pleaded with my future wife to go see it with me. As many movies out of her comfort zone as she had seen with me, she chose this one to stand her ground. I threw a little hissy fit and gave her the silent treatment the rest of the weekend. Ah, if we only knew then what we know now.

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I finally watched it for the first time recently and must beg forgiveness from my former wife for my immature behavior 36 years ago. She knew better, even then, and spared us from 91 minutes of agony. I must ask her what instinct she exercised to steer us clear that weekend. It’s simply uncanny.

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First, Killer Party is not at all what I thought it was all these years. It’s a horror-comedy of the ilk I don’t particularly enjoy. The comedy is not funny and, as you know, I prefer my horror without attempts at humor. Never say never, but it’s rarely a winning formula for me. It’s dated now, for sure, but doubt I ever would have been smiling.

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Neither is what I expected it to be: a typical slasher film. While there are elements of one, it’s secondary to the supernatural possession aspect that is ultimately revealed, and poorly at that. I know, I know… I shouldn’t judge a movie based on what it’s not. It’s just that here, the source of evil arrives from nowhere and makes little sense.

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The research I conducted validates my criticisms. It was made two years earlier and then sat on the shelf. Even though rated R, there’s little blood or guts. It suffered from cuts by the MPAA and resulted in a rearranging of scenes to maximize the impact. The original script by Barney Cohen was supposedly a slasher, but director William Fruet added the comedy while filming.

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Yes, it has all the ingredients of a real mess. Cohen had some credibility at the time for writing Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter. Even Fruet, who supposedly had no interest in making a standard slasher, had some experience with horror: The House by the Lake (1976), Funeral Home (1980), and Spasms (1983).

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It’s hard to say that it ever had potential, but even if it had been familiar material that added nothing new to the slasher subgenre, it may have fit right in with other 80’s horror films of the time (but bordering on a little late.) Not only is it not funny, it’s not even fun.


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