Not quite a pool party, but most certainly a massacre!
At first glance, the colourful package in which Pool Party arrives appears to be inspired and marketed towards collectors of 88 Films’ Slasher Classics range. It’s got the reversible sleeve. It’s got the font. It’s got the vibrant, kooky skull artwork where the face of a beautiful woman should be. It even has a decent amount of extras. It’s got it all but the slipcase and a booklet!
The movie itself does little to deter this notion. It’s not inspired by Halloween (1978), Elm Street (’84) or Friday the 13th (1980). It champions the sequels and the knock-offs of these movies on the other end of the spectrum. The cheese-tastic killer pictures, such as your Slumber Party and your Nail Gun Massacres; your Sleepaway Camp sequels and your Splatter Universities.
It’s a hard task finding fault in a project that wears its heart so bloodied and exposed on its sleeve. Our writer/director clearly loves the genre inside and out, and he’s made something that is a tribute to all those movies we shouldn’t have stayed up late to watch, or were too young to rent ourselves from the video store on the weekends. Their faults and shortcomings become his faults and shortcomings. I only wish he’d taken it that step further by rendering each shot with a 70s filter effect to age the footage.
The effects are practical and very gruesome indeed. But be prepared for tongue-in-cheek death scenes and a couple of highly unconvincing severed body parts. In all fairness a few of the kills are actually pretty cool. And some of them couldn’t come fast enough! Due to unforeseen weather constraints during filming, ironically a pool party never actually takes place, ultimately leading to the most irksome character in the movie being given too much screen-time and way too many lines. The bells rang Hallelujah in my head when that ass-hat finally bought the big one. Pool Party’s standout performance.
As for the rest of the cast, most notably Blair, played by Kristin Noel McKusick –cool name – well…they’re not very likeable. They’ve got that “those mean girl bitches from high school” vibe about them – aside from our final girl, of course. The ones that could’ve won favour don’t last very long, but let’s be honest people, it’s not like we watch these movies to witness these people make it out alive!
You can scoff. You can shake your head. You can laugh until you choke-vomit out your last swig of beer. But enjoy Pool Party Massacre for everything that it truly is. An imperfect tribute to an imperfect sub-genre of kick-ass horror movies.