Pool Party Massacre
Young socialite Blair has invited her five friends over to her home in Las Vegas to have a relaxing pool party. But the plans go awry when the party is crashed, not only by a couple disgusting schlubs who keep trying to hit on them and ruin their poolside sunbathing, but also by a ruthless unknown killer who manages to isolate each of the party goers before picking them off, one by one, with all the various tools that happen to be conveniently located in the family garage.
Pizza guys have it rough in horror movies, let me tell you.
So with summer now in high swing, I figured I could use something a little more lighthearted to try to help combat the oppressive heat. But I’m always hesitant about horror films that try to add “comedy” to their descriptor. Not because I’m opposed to horror comedies in any way, but because I rarely seem to find them funny. Most of them seem to be filled with too much low-brow crude humor for my tastes. Pool Party Massacre didn’t end up really bucking that trend either, focusing mostly on lewd jokes, lame come-ons by creeps, and mocking the stupidity of the air headed characters. Which is fine, but I appreciate those kinds of jokes more when they don’t seemingly encompass the entirety of the movie. Though the film did manage to get a couple of chuckles out of me, like at the beginning when the tattooed pool boy was completely oblivious to the hot homeowner’s advances. Luckily though, the film’s goal wasn’t just to be a funny horror movie. It was also meant to be a fun throwback to 80’s slashers, and in that regard I found it much more successful.
To put it simply, this film is a bloody mess. But I mean that in a good way. Well, a good way if you’re a fan of bloody slashers, anyway. With a total of 10 victims, the movie has a fairly high body count for such a cheapo slasher, and every death is pretty unique. The killer’s modus operandi revolves going around and killing all his victims with various gardening or outdoor tools, which means he’s not going around merely stabbing at everyone with the same kitchen knife. But while there are a couple of standard deaths involving knives and an ax, you also get a couple more inventive ones, including a drill, and the one poor gal who meets her demise via weed-wacker. I’m not really 100% sure how that last one works, and neither were the filmmakers, because they obscured the entire death behind a shower curtain, so you have no idea what’s going on beyond screaming and blood splatters. But hey, I don’t recall another film that killed it’s victim the same way, so I feel compelled to give the film extra points for their stupid creativity. And it is kind of fun to guess what the killer is going to do with each piece of equipment he pulls off the garage pegboard, so at the very least all the deaths are pretty entertaining. Doubly so because you get to see them all twice. First during the opening credit sequence where the movie previews all of the killer’s murders in glorious pixelated technicolor, and then again during the actual film, just without all the blocky blood splatters.
What’s with all the outlines though? Do people actually do this with their tools?
What’s not entertaining are the characters. Because, dear god, these people suck. If you could write down all the most loathsome characteristics that a character could have in a cheesy horror movie, you would find all that and more in this film. With the exception of the one gal who you immediately know is going to end up being the “final girl” everyone else seems to be purposefully designed for you to want them dead at the quickest possible opportunity just so you won’t have to listen to them speak anymore. The ladies are all vapid, selfish, air-headed ‘mean girls’, and the guys are all sexist, misogynistic horn-dogs, and the world should probably pat the killer on the back for removing them from the future gene pool. Well, except maybe for the poor pool guy. All he wanted to do was listen to his heavy metal music and do his damn job. In a film filled with assholes, he’s the only one who probably didn’t deserve an ice-pick to the face.
Rest in peace, you poor Satan loving bastard.
But what makes these characters even more annoying than they would probably be otherwise, is that the movie spends far too much time focusing on them. When the killer is off doing his thang *snaps fingers*, then the movie is great and does indeed feel like a throwback to slashers of old. I have no complaints about those sections of the film. But the beginning of the movie is just such a friggin’ slog. Why? Because for a film that’s only a little over 80-minutes long, it spends a ridiculous amount of time on long, plodding conversations between these groups of characters that nobody likes. Listening to these actors sit around and spout tedious dialogue in a monotone isn’t just mind-numbingly boring, it’s often downright painful. I think these were the points in the film where they were trying to add in some comedy bits, but it’s all so dull and banal that all those scenes manage to contribute to is slowing the film’s pacing down to damn near halt. Not even adding a pervy 30-something who crashes the party and does his best to be as disgusting as possible had a chance of livening that drivel up.
Despite those complaints though, Pool Party Massacre still ended up being rather fun. Not perfect, mind you, but fun. Yeah, the characters super suck and the pacing is so abysmal in some places that the film sometimes feels longer than it really is. But the gory slasher bits are pretty great, and though a lot of its plot is pretty predictable, there are still a couple of interesting twists thrown in there that’ll keep you on your guard. So basically it’s the kind of film that knows what it is and what its limits are, and doesn’t try to overextend itself, and still manages to make it out with a small net gain. Which isn’t bad considering that the movie was reportedly made with only somewhere around $7,000. In fact, I’m kind of more impressed with the outcome knowing that that’s all they spent on it. The movie’s clearly not going to be for everyone, but if you can withstand all the corny comedy and the moronic characters, then the film can be a quick, fun little slasher to help get you through the summer months.
Pool Party Massacre is available on a variety of streaming services.
Pool Party Massacre is also available on DVD.