Monday, February 11, 2013

Killer Party (1986)

Directed by William Fruet
Starring Joanna Johnson, Elaine Wilkes, Sherry Willis-Burch
Rated R
Canada

"It's Goat Night!"

Here's the thing with Canada, at least in the 80's. Basically they would take some chunk of American culture, from heavy metal to horror movies, and they would make it as lame as possible. Killer Party is a prime example. As the legend goes, the film began shooting in 1978,  but then it went over budget and production was shut down until 1984, when it was finished. But it still didn't get released theatrically until 1986. I don't remember it being in theaters, and I went to see alot of dumb horror movies in the 80's. It was directed by William Fruet, who has mostly done TV shows like like Friday the 13th and Goosebumps.

Killer Party opens with a funeral. Only four people show up. One of  the mourners gets sucked into the coffin and then gets cremated alive!

No she doesn't. It's just a movie playing at a drive-in. One of the drive-in patrons, a blonde with crimped hair, goes to the concession stand for popcorn. There's nobody there! When she goes back to the car, her boyfriend's missing! And then a psycho attacks her while White Sister plays at the abandoned concession stand! It basically turns into a White Sister video with zombies, which some other chick is watching on TV. What the fuck is going on here?


By the way, the movie was originally called April Fools, which is why White Sister play a song called You're No Fool, which is a song about a girl named April.


Pheobe - the White Sister fan - heads off to college on 10 speeds with her two pals, Vivia and Jennifer. By the way, if you are interested, Phoebe is portrayed by Elaine Wilkes, who gave up acting in 1988 (if she hadn't already given it up while making this movie) and now has a PHD in "Naturopathy", AKA alternative medicine, which is not a real thing. Sherry Willis Burch is Vivia, the only other film she ever made was another 80's slasher, Final Exam. And Jennifer is Joanna Johnson, who went on to a lucrative career in soap operas. Anyway, they have lots of girl-fun along the way while a bad Bananarama rip-off song called Best Times plays on the soundtrack. They're going to pledge a sorority! At least that's the plan. But when the pass by a creepy old house, Jennifer starts getting second thoughts.


But forget all that for now, because we've got sorority girls to frolic with. They lounge in a hot tub together and discuss whether the old frat house is going to open again or not after being shuttered for 20 years. That's the creepy house.


And then Virgil shows up to deliver some champagne, and steals their doorknob. Turns out he's a front for a frat-gang  who terrorize the girls by throwing a jar of bees into the hot tub. Then they film the screaming, bee-stung,  half-naked coeds with a super 8 camera as they frantically try to get in the house, which they can't, because Virgil stole the doorknob. What a prank!


And then the frat mother or whatever they call it, walks over to the haunted house and starts talking to a gravestone about how the girls are using the house for "goat night" and that he should just take it easy. Then she goes in to check things out. Naturally, she gets clubbed to death five minutes later.


Then the girls meet the evil frat girl who initiates them with various humiliations.


She tells them they have to go steal some t-shirts from a fraternity. By the way, one of the girls, Vivia, wears paper clips for earrings. Seriously, look at those things!


Also, Paul Bartel is a flustered English professor. In the movie, I mean. He's a dead actor in real life.


The girls sneak into the frat to steal the shirts, but someone's watching them. Who? No time to ponder, because they've got a heist to pull. Jennifer distracts one of the frat guys with her tongue while the other two abscond with the shirts.


And then she goes home and walks around braless, which is nice.


She's on her way to take a shower when Martin the nerdy Freshman shows up. He's the stalker! But is he also a killer? Dunno. Maybe. Probably not.


Finally, it's Goat Night!


The girls are blindfolded and forced to swallow goat eyes whole. Don't worry though, they're just grapes! And then they pour raw eggs into the mouths and making then spit them up into glasses. And then they get paddled! Pretty kinky, esoteric shit, man. Also there's a point in he middle where it appears that Jennifer is possessed by an evil spirit, which I assume is the dead guy in the backyard. And poltergeist shit starts happening.


Vivia goes into the basement and cuts her own head off for laughs. It was her all the time! She pranked the pranksters. The next morning, she gives her severed head to Martin, who gets so upset he crashes his car. Then they play "Best Times" again. "These are the best times...of our lives..."


The girls get accepted into the sorority but the chief sorority girl or whatever tells Vivia she's got to pull the same prank on the frat boys. Fair enough. And then Paul Bartel gets a promotion, which allows him to explain what happened at the old abandoned frat house. It's the usual humiliation and murder bullshit.


The girls show up to set-up their prank. Jennifer freaks everybody out with her urban legends. Or are they?
They are not. They never are. Who knows why, but Paul Bartel is sniffing around in there too, and he gets electrocuted to death. Also there's a corpse or two mouldering away down there. But whatever, because it's time for the big April Fools party, which is sort of like a Halloween party in that everyone is in costume. Only a couple of the costumes are actual things, though.


Anyway, just when the April Fool's King and Queen are supposed to get crowned, the doors all slam shut and the party-goers are assaulted with balloons! And then a couple of the frat boys start wailing on each other and one of 'em gets stabbed to death. Or does he? April fool's, ladies and gentlemen! Everybody's having an awesome time, really. Except for Jennifer.

Turns out she's right. Somebody in a deep sea divers helmet starts moidering all the party goers. And since there were only about seven of them in the first place, their ranks thin very quickly.


Pretty soon, everybody's dead except for our plucky trio. And there's a good chance one of them isn't who she used to be!

Things get weird from there. Exorcist-y, even. Also, the finale offers up a difficult conundrum. What do you do when your best friend is possessed? Also, the ending is way more grim then the rest of the movie.

Killer Party is a sorta- fun, definitely stupid 80's slasher with terrible music and leotards. Sure, it could have used some gore and more tits, but you never got everything you wanted in the 80's. That's not what  the 80's were about. That's not what Canada is about, either. Therefore, thumbs up.


- Ken McIntyre

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