Killer Party

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Killer Party
Killer-party-movie-poster-1986.jpg
Directed byWilliam Fruet
Produced byMichael Lepiner
Written byBarney Cohen
Starring
Music byJohn Beal
CinematographyJohn Lindley
Edited byEric Albertson
Production
company
  • Polar Entertainment
  • Telecom Entertainment
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 9, 1986 (1986-05-09)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageEnglish

Killer Party is a 1986 Canadian comedic supernatural slasher film directed by William Fruet, and starring Martin Hewitt, Ralph Seymour, Elaine Wilkes, and Joanna Johnson. It follows a trio of female sorority pledges who unleash a demonic force after participating in an initiation ritual in an abandoned house on their university's campus.

Plot[edit]

College students Vivia, Jennifer, and Phoebe decide to pledge a sorority at their university, Briggs College. During hell week, the sorority's housemother, Mrs. Henshaw, urges the women not to hold their initiation rituals at Pratt House, an abandoned fraternity nearby. Mrs. Henshaw goes to Pratt House and visits a hidden tombstone in the garden of a man named Allan, and asks that if the students do enter the house, that he leave them alone. Upon going inside, Mrs. Henshaw is clubbed to death by an unseen assailant.

The day of the initiation, Vivia, Jennifer, and Phoebe break in to a fraternity to steal clothing as part of their hazing ritual. Inside, Jennifer is confronted by Blake, who swiftly takes romantic interest in her. Back at her dorm, Jennifer is met by her shy classmate Martin, who returns a book she dropped outside. That night, the women arrive at Pratt House for their hazing ceremony. During the hazing, which includes the women be forced to hold raw eggs in their mouths, the lights begin to flicker, and the group are terrified when glasses begin flying off a table by themselves. Vivia goes downstairs to investigate noises, and when the women follow, they find her bound to a guillotine and watch her be beheaded. Vivia suddenly emerges from the shadows and picks up the severed head, revealing the entire scenario to be an elaborate prank using a dummy.

The following morning, Martin gives the women a ride to the sorority to receive news of their acceptances or rejections. All three are selected, though Vivia learns that her prank was the only reason for her acceptance. Veronica, the sorority's leading member, demands Vivia recreate the prank during an upcoming April Fool's Day masquerade party at Pratt House. At a committee meeting for the university's Greek society, Professor Zito recalls the hazing ritual 22 years ago that resulted in Allan's death by a guillotine. That afternoon, Jennifer, Phoebe, and Vivia set up the prank in Pratt House, and Jennifer tells them she did research showing that Allan was involved in the occult and had conjured evil; she also cites news articles about people going missing in the house, never to be found. Later, Professor Zito inspects the house, and is electrocuted by an assailant in the basement.

At the party that night, Vivia's prank is hatched during Veronica's toast, and Jennifer is dragged into the basement by a hidden cord while the partygoers watch in horror. In the basement, Jennifer and Vivia laugh and quickly prepare Vivia's guillotine stunt, when Jennifer is suddenly overcome and possessed by a spirit. She returns upstairs in silence, and worriedly tells Blake she needs to leave. Vivia follows, aborting the guillotine stunt. As the party filters out, Pam, a sorority sister, is killed with a trident by someone dressed in a diving suit. The same assailant beats Veronica to death with a hammer before using the guillotine to kill Albert. Blake is subsequently lured into a bathroom. Numerous partygoers are dispatched in swift succession, and Vivia discovers Martin's severed head in the refrigerator.

Vivia flees upstairs to retrieve Phoebe, and the two find Blake's drowned corpse in the bathtub. They are subsequently confronted by Jennifer, who reveals herself to be possessed by Allan. Jennifer pursues them with the trident, causing the stairs to collapse as they climb them. They attempt to escape through an upstairs window, but Jennifer throws Vivia to the ground, breaking her legs, before propelling after her. Phoebe climbs down the wall and begins beating Jennifer with a broken board before impaling her through the chest, killing her. Phoebe consoles Vivia, but it is soon apparent that she has been overtaken by Allan's spirit. Police arrive and whisk the two women away together in an ambulance, as Vivia pleads not to be left alone with Phoebe.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The movie was originally planned to be titled April Fool, but the title was changed to Killer Party when Paramount announced their own horror film called April Fool's Day.

Actress Sherry Willis-Burch revealed in an interview that her character "Vivia" was initially meant to be killed early in the film when she first was given the role, but was rewritten to survive until the very end of the film

Release[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Rick Bentley of The Town Talk deemed the film a "slash above" its peers, adding: "The film is surprisingly well done (for this type of production) and proves the "slasher" films can be done with a degree of quality."[1] Michael Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram panned the film as "a sorry waste of John Lindley's impressive camerawork, of players whose abilities range from competence to excellence, and of a disciplined and even sporadically tasteful job of directing from William Fruet."[2] Critic Joe Bob Briggs gave the film a slight recommendation based on its excessive number of murders, but deemed its supernatural elements redolent of The Exorcist (1973) and Poltergeist (1982).[3] Roger Hurlburt of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel gave the film a one-star out of four-star rating, deeming it a "discount offering...  Killer Party fails on every count."[4]

Donald Guarisco of AllMovie wrote: "This late straggler in the slasher-movie cycle of the early 1980s is a "neither fish nor fowl" exercise in frustration."[5]

Home media[edit]

Key Video released Killer Party on VHS in late 1986.[6] In 2012, the Warner Archive Collection released the film on DVD-R.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bentley, Rick (October 1, 1986). "'Killer Party' a Slash Above Genre". The Town Talk. Alexandria, Louisiana. p. 33 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ Price, Michael (May 31, 1986). "'Killer Party' Represents Waste of Time, Talent and Camera". The Times-Tribune. Scranton, Pennsylvania. Scripps Howard News Service. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Briggs, Joe Bob (June 1, 1986). "No horror here; Death toll narrowly saves 'Killer Party'". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. 29 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Hurlburt, Roger (September 10, 1986). "'Killer' no party for its audience". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 6E – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Killer Party (1986)". AllMovie. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
  6. ^ "Killer Party [VHS]". Amazon. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016.
  7. ^ Hallam, Scott (July 11, 2012). "Warner Archive Digs Up Horror Classics and Sends Them to DVD". Dread Central. Archived from the original on September 30, 2017.

External links[edit]