Color, 1988, 71 mins. 37 secs.
Directed by Stephen Tyler
Starring Jan Jenson, Nancy Mayer, Joann Whitley, Danny David, Lance Descourez, Rick Polizi
AGFA (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD), VCI (US R0 NTSC), CMV Laservision (DVD) (Germany R0 PAL)

When The Last Slumber Partyhigh school lets out for the summer, it's time for mindless partying at the house of good girl Linda (Whitley) courtesy of her two friends, beach bunny Tracy (Mayer) and sassy, insanely bigoted Chris The Last Slumber Party(Jenson). As with any reputable (or disreputable) slumber party slasher, you also have a selection of male victim fodder around including class clown Tom (David) and nice guy Billy (Descourez), plus the bullied nerd Science who likes to dress up in medical garb. Coincidentally, a psycho (played by director Stephen Tyler -- not to be confused with Steven Tyler) due for a lobotomy has retaliated by breaking out of a nearby mental institution and hightails it to the slumber party location for some slicing and dicing, for reasons that will only become clear later...

Initially shot in Louisiana in 1981 on 16mm but completed with titles and some insert shots on video (which allow it to scrape by as an official '80s SOV horror film), The Last Slumber Party is one of the last films you'd want to show a slasher newbie but has tons of that baffling regional charm you can find in deep cuts. This was part of a flurry of ultra-cheap slasher released on VHS in the latter half of the The Last Slumber Partydecade by United Home Video like Blood Lake, The Ripper, etc., which meant it transitioned to the VCI library and ended up on DVD in 2004 on a brain-bashing double feature The Last Slumber Partywith Terror at Tenkiller. No matter how you see it, this is a singularly weird subgenre entry with a wild metal soundtrack by Firstryke, daffy plot twists swiped from Brian De Palma, and a particularly cracked, slur-hurling performance by Jenson that has to be seen to be believed. The film pilfers shamelessly from Halloween, but for some reason it also drops in verbatim bits from other random movies as well including the most famous bit from To Have and Have Not. Extra bonus points for the preponderance of posters for Xanadu, the Bee-Gees, Magnum P.I., and Sesame Street.

After being relegated to recyclings of its decades-old tape master for decades, The Last Slumber Party got a surprising and welcome restoration in 2024 on Blu-ray from AGFA featuring a transfer from the 16mm camera negative, with missing material provided by a 16mm workprint and the 1-inch tape master. The inserted bits are almost entirely elements added after principal production, such as newscasts and The Last Slumber Partymovies showing whenever it cuts to a TV set, along with a few video-imposed transition shots and a couple of random cutaway at the The Last Slumber Partyend. It's a little surreal seeing this actually looking like film with actual fine grain and detail, and the colors aren't cranked up and distorted anymore. The DTS-HD MA 2.0 English mono track also sounds solid with optional English SDH subtitles included. A fun new commentary with Tyler, Jensen, and cast/crew member Neil Alexander fills in pretty much anything you could want to know about the shoot during the summer of '81, the various family members and friends scattered around, the stories behind some of the actors, the filming at a local school without permission, and some of the DIY methods used to pull off the production on limited means. A Q&A with Jansen from a 2016 screening at the Alamo Drafthouse (23m46s) moderated by AGFA's Joe Ziemba is great stuff as well, complete with a thumbnail history of Bleeding Skull, an appreciation for Chris' unique status as a final girl, and more stories from the shoot. Also included are an outtake reel (10m6s) culled from nine hours(!) of VHS dailies, a black-and-white photo gallery (4m39s), the home video trailer, and if you're feeling nostalgic, the original VHS version (complete with that United FBI warning) from the 1-inch tape master in all its lo-fi glory.

AGFA (Blu-ray)

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Reviewed on March 23, 2024.