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Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction, this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
I’ve often discussed the carefree magic of 80’s horror. It was just a special time where nothing really mattered, especially in matters of cinema. Killer Party has the debauchery of Revenge of the Nerds, the over the top hijinks of Night of the Comet, and makes as much sense as a Cabbage Patch Kid.
Killer Party takes place during Hell Week, and there is a hazing ritual going on for Sigma Alpha Pi, which culminates at a big party on April Fool’s Day. In the spirit of April Fool’s Day this film is filled with fakeouts, pranks, and a lot of people saying “That’s not funny.” This week’s strange and fantastic tale is William Fruet’s 1986 Killer Party.
Phoebe, Vivia, and Jennifer, are young co-eds looking to be happily debased and humiliated in a series of hazing acts. From making a grand public announcement in class that “I, myself, would prefer a big fat cucumber” to getting covered in egg yolk and garbage, these three friends decide that it’s the Sigma Alpha Pi life for them.
What really impresses the sorority is when Vivia (Sherry Willis) stages an elaborate prank to make the ladies think that their sorority house is haunted and she manages to make it look like she’s been beheaded. The sorority is as impressed as they are terrified and they need her to recreate the prank at the big party. What can go wrong?
Well, naturally, a pledge haze from back in the day was accidentally killed by a prank gone wrong. And oh yeah, he was into the occult so you know what that means. It doesn’t take much to set up the slasher setting here. You have a person with a grudge and horny kids at a party. Killer Party is loaded with jokes and light hearted silliness.
The film opens up with a couple of false starts. The priest makes Wizard of Oz references and a corpse wakes up. Turns out, that’s not really the movie, but the movie that some kids are watching at a drive-in. Then everyone at the drive-in turns into a zombie and an attack ensues. The attack is then interrupted by a hair metal band singing “You’re no Fool.” Then, it turns out it’s an elaborate music video that one of our protagonists, Phoebe (Elaine Wilkes), is watching.
Killer Party knows what it is. It’s a fun movie for people looking to enjoy themselves. It’s light hearted and pretty skimpy on the gore. The slasher film is not the movie’s main aim, although there are some pretty creative killings and homages to its horror predecessors. Jennifer (Joanna Johnson) becomes possessed in a very Evil Dead type of way and the killings are comedic and extreme. Killer Party is a comedy horror film by made horror fans for a comedy audience
Now I dare you to tell the nearest stranger that you would like a big fat cucumber and then invite them to watch Killer Party. I am not responsible for their response.
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