Saturday, July 9, 2011

Slumber Party Massacre 3: My Son the Serial Killer

Yes, I worked on Slumber Party Massacre 2. And, though I’m somewhat abashed to admit it, my son made his screen debut in the film’s quickie follow-up, which naturally enough is called Slumber Party Massacre 3.

The three Slumber Party movies have been getting some attention lately because they’ve been reissued by Shout! Factory, as part of its series of Roger Corman Cult Classics. (Obviously, the definition of a classic is not the same for everyone.) To round out the collection, serious fans Jason Paul Collum and Tony Brown contributed a “Sleepless Nights” documentary, for which they interviewed everyone they could find who had a hand in the making of the films.

That meant I spent a blustery afternoon at Shout! Factory videotaping my recollections. I discussed why Roger Corman liked handing the reins of these highly sexualized films to female directors, and how the third film in the series was conceived to fill a hole in the schedule at Corman’s Venice, California studio. I also revealed the story of my son’s participation.

The maniacal driller-killer in the third Slumber Party film (known to its makers as SPAM3) is a boy-next-door type gone wrong. In the shorthand of so many horror films of the era, his underlying problem is that he was molested as a child by an evil uncle. The filmmakers needed a photograph of a very young Ken (yes, Ken!) with creepy Uncle Billy, to use as a climactic explanation of the bad guy’s warped psyche. My son Jeffrey was a cute eight-year-old, and so he was a natural choice. I took him down to the studio, where he obligingly climbed all over the production assistant (a nice guy with kids of his own) who would supply the slightly sinister face of Uncle Billy.

Then I found myself on the horns of a moral dilemma. Director Sally Mattison decided the backstory should be made clearer. So several flashback scenes were written for little Ken and his uncle. In them nothing visually disturbing happened, but the innuendo was unmistakable. Would Jeffrey participate? At first I was amused and pleased at this chance for my son to make his acting debut. But then I started to worry. What if somehow the implications of these scenes seeped into Jeffrey’s subconscious? What if, years later, he’d find himself traumatized? That’s how maternal guilt stood in the way of his fledgling acting career. (P.S. The scenes were never shot.)

I don’t regret my choice. But I do regret that Roger Corman, in his infinite wisdom, decided to strip this story—and my entire interview—out of the finished documentary. Jason Collum and Tony Brown complained loudly, but to no avail. For additional Slumber Party trivia, check out Tony’s ultimate fan site, which he calls The Old Hockstatter Place. There you’ll find several versions of the Uncle Billy picture, along with news of such tasteful giveaways as a Slumber Party Massacre blood-stained pillowcase (while supplies last) to commemorate the release of this cinematic landmark.


  1. Wow, some amazing stories there, Beverly! I've never seen SPAM 3, but saw the first movie when I was a rabid horror hound as a kid. The second one was definitely "different" to say the least. My grandparents thought I needed to see a shrink for some of my questionable viewing choices, so things like this I had to sneak and rent to be able to see them.

    I used to ride my bike to this video store a few miles away and became good friends with the folks that worked there, so they "took pity" on me and pretty much let me "rent" what I wanted including lots of memorabilia and posters. I haven't bought this set yet, but most likely will as I am curious to see the first movie again. Haven't seen it in years. Thanks for relaying this wonderful bits of info and memory-bilia!

  2. Thanks as always for your interest, Brian. I'd love to hear your current opinion of these films. They certainly aren't my favorite viewing choices, but they do have their moments. I will be most curious about your reaction to my next post, which just went up about five minutes ago. We bloggers never sleep! (Which, given the evidence of Slumber Party Massacre and other horror films, might be a good thing!)

  3. I got this box set - having seen some or all (after a while, who could tell them apart?) back in the day. Yeah, they're not great, but who ever thought we'd get DVD special editions?

    1. Well, maybe it's an insider's point of view, but I can certainly tell them apart. I worked on both 2 and 3. The former, with its goth driller-killer-rocker, always seemed quite imaginative to me, perhaps because I had great faith in the offbeat talents of Deborah Brock. The latter was rushed out so quickly and contained such inadvertently goofy moments (some of them, fortunately, got cut along the way) that I couldn't possibly confuse the two films. Anyway, I'm pleased you have the box set, even though my son's story got excised from the documentary by the ever-vigilant Corman drones.