If you’re one of the many frustrated by an inability to get your hands on DVD’s of clasc genre offerings, Warner Brothers Archive has set out to ease your frustration, and provide you, the fans with a chance to finally own some of the more obscure titles yet to receive official disc releases. From cult favorite efforts of the 1960’s, to unheralded features of the 1980’s, WBA is opening a can of worms sure to be relished by hardcore collectors. Amazingly, these films are pressed to order, so it may be wise to capitalize on this buness venture while the opportunity still presents itself (who knows, slow sales could lead to the abandonment of this kick ass marketing concept)!
The second film I’ll be covering in the Archive collection is William Fruet’s chaotic slasher feature, Killer Party. Check out the synops of the film below to gather the genuine gist; I’ll fill you in on the potives and negatives following the breakdown.
It’s April Fool’s Day and the sters of gma Alpha Pi have found the perfect place to throw a party: the abandoned fraternity house where a guillotined pledge lost his head in a hazing gone slightly awry. But shortly after the revelry begins, the student body count starts to rise as the vengeful pledge returns from the grave and makes it a party to die for. Featuring appearances by Eating Raoul’s Paul Bartel, debuting Joanna Johnson (who a year later would graduate to her longtime best-known role on The Bold and the Beautiful) and teen heartthrob Martin Hewitt (Endless Love) plus a bangin’ performance of April (You’re No Fool) by ’80s hair metal band White ster, Killer Party is the stuff of legends, a one-of-a-kind slasher-horror-mucal-sex comedy of terrors
Pros: Ah where to begin with this wicked little gem? Damn near everything you’d expect from your typical slasher fare is here on display: A high body count; an awesomely cheesy soundtrack (“These are the best times, of our lives – these are the best times”), a (sometimes) masked murderer (who looks like he stumbled straight out of a Scooby Doo cartoon and onto a live action set) and too many clasc lines to list in this piece (“I gargle with musk!”).
The performances from our primary ensemble are certainly serviceable. While none of the young ladies on hand (Elaine Wilkes as Phoebe, Sherry Willis-Burch as Vivia and Joanna Johnson as Jennifer) offer forth award winning performances, they do portray your typical sorority girls wonderfully, and clearly have a blast in doing so. Ralph Seymour does a bang-up job as the exasperating Martin and Pam Hyatt is wonderful in her motherly role of Mrs. Henshaw (while she lasts). Condering a lack of high caliber star power, the cast really shines, and just about every player in stow put their best foot forward; it’s an admirable effort from a slew of aspiring greats.
The story itself is so outlandish that it’s near imposble to not find thorough entertainment value upon screening. Imagine for a moment that you borrowed a piece of April Fool’s Day, Terror Train and Evil Dead, mixed them all in a blender, and served up an unimaginably riotous amalgamation; That’s Killer Party, almost to a ‘T’. Costume parties rarely falter in this context, and when you incorporate a holiday theme to accompany a little posseson twist, you’ve got yourself a legitimate winner that feels like it may have crept from the mind of Don Coscarelli rather than Fruet and scribe Barney Cohen. It’s all so insanely fragmented that it should never work in a million years, yet it works, and works damn well.
I’ve got to applaud the technical team behind the remastering of the film. This picture has eluded me up to this point, and therefore I cannot comment on the original look and sound. However I can certainly say that this latest WB rebirth now looks and sounds fantastic. The picture quality pops (minus a few scenes shrouded in darkness) and looks like it could have been released five years ago versus 25. While the soundtrack is dated, the official vocal and effect tracks are clean and certainly appeang.http://youtu.be/snO8sy2H9MI
Cons: There’s not too much for me to bash here. I will however admit my disappointment with the special effects, which certainly fail to overwhelm. It’s a shame too, some more on screen kills and graphic special effects could have pushed Killer Party into the realm of bona fide slasher cult clascs. Tom Savini, who, at the time was performing prime visual duties could have elevated this film to en entire new level.
My other qualm with the film is a lack of character development; it’s no challenge to like the ladies of the film, but it’s tough to become emotionally attached to anyone, as not a ngle focal figure's story is truly fleshed out. That said, when bodies hit the floor at a staggering rate, is there even reason to become emotionally invested in a character?
Summary: Killer Party is one of those obscure slasher/supernatural hybrids that never should have gone neglected. The fact that I can justifiably label it obscure is an insult to the film and filmmakers as it is. To not look into this wild flick is to deprive one’s self of an hour and a half of ludicrous entertainment, and a fantastic excuse to plow through a cold case of beer!
Screen Aspect: 16 X 9 FULL FRAME
Run Time: 91 minutes
Packaging Type: Amaray Case
Bonus Features: None
Order your copy of Killer Party right here at Warner Brothers Archive