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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Killer Party

1986 | Canada | 91 min | More...
A still from Killer Party (1986)
  • Watched on D+: 2 stars (out of 5)
    on Sat Apr 9, 2022 via Watch TCM

    I watched this one after Hell Night as a college horror double feature. Killer Party sees three coeds pledge a sorority and attend a big party on April Fool’s day where they’re stalked by a killer. Spoilers follow.

    I appreciated the film’s willingness to break the rules. The opening sequence features a dour funeral. It culminates with the corpse pulling a mourner into the coffin before it’s cremated. Then the film reveals we’ve been watching a drive-in movie. We follow a girl into a deserted concession stand. When she returns to her car, she finds herself surrounded by zombies. Then the film reveals we’ve been watching a music video. White Sister pumps out some vintage 80s hair rock. That’s three layers we traverse before the film’s real world. The execution may prove average, but the intention earned my respect.

    From here, the film pivots to a college comedy. Frat boys play tricks on sorority girls. One, involving a swarm of bees, had me wondering what would have happened if someone were allergic.

    Soon, we meet our leads, a trio of girls set on pledging a top sorority. Their personalities take a bit to emerge, but we get mousy Vivia, adventurous Phoebe, and good-girl Jennifer. The trope would see three guys pledging a frat to get laid. While I appreciated the gender-flip, the film never explains what the girls see in the sorority or their motivation to join. Again, intention over execution.

    The initiation ceremony proves an early highlight, where the film starts down a supernatural path before revealing it was all a trick played by Vivia.

    A big party set in an old fraternity house serves as the finale. The script proffers multiple red herrings and reversals that entertain, but the story shifts hard into a straightforward Exorcist/Evil Dead style possession horror that abandons the film’s offbeat nature. It’s not bad—the makeup effects shine—but the film goes so dark so fast the tonal shift feels abrupt Granted, a killer had been lurking all along, but the kills happened off screen, softening these early horror elements. And I haven’t mentioned the diving suit the killer wears during part of the finale. A memorable visual, but one lacking explanation.

    Such a mixed bag of admirable intention and uneven execution. The freewheeling tone feels like an independent production, but the film had studio backing and budget via MGM. I wonder if they meddled with the final product. One thing I am sure of: that “Best Times” theme song is darn catchy.