Below are the running times for the following versions of SPM:
1:16:08 (Embassy/Nelson VHS)
1:16:03 (New Concorde DVD)
1:13:05 (Prism Leisure UK DVD - Uncut, except the movie is sped up from being in PAL)
1:16:11 (IFC Broadcast)
The Slumber Party Massacre was retitled Slumber Party Murders for the UK video release, which was mildly edited.
The UK version, re-entitled Slumber Party Murders, is very crudely cut, missing out every gore scene apart from the climax with the death of the killer. This may have been due to the "video-nasties" craze, and Thorn-EMI (the distributors) may have been aware of the trouble the film "Driller Killer" (1979) had caused, as the main weapon used by the killer in this film is also a drill. In this era, a film couldn't even have the word "Massacre" in its title, explaining the film's re-naming.
In June 2003, The UK version was passed for DVD release with its original title and all previous cuts waived.
Above information from imdB.com
Amy Jones filmed a short prologue scene that established Russ Thorn and probably the Venice killings of 1969 mentioned in the radio announcement. Here is some info from Amy Holden Jones, herself:
"The opening I shot and gave as a reel to Corman, which got me the job, had a Ouija scene in it. I don't have a copy. He probably tossed it out. We couldn't use it in the film because I'd done it with non-SAG actors. The same actor was the killer, however. It looked far fancier than the final film because my husband, a famous cinematographer [Michael Chapman], shot it. He didn't shoot Slumber Party, so it was a good deal more primitive.
Shooting the opening was great fun. We had a tiny crew including myself, my husband and our neighbor Howard Chesley who took sound. We shot it in the house we were renting in the Venice canals. As I now remember, it was a tarot reading among hippies with a bad outcome, (probably the death card), suspense as you sensed someone was in the yard, a series of deaths in the house. I remember creating the special effect ourselves of a knife or hatchet going into a head using a styrofoam head and wig. It worked surprisingly well. We did it in two or three nights and it was about 8 minutes long. I cut it on Joe Dante's flatbed as he was doing The Howling and he lent me some cues for the temp dub, also done on the KEM. All this would be easy today with HD. The cast were students, non SAG, which doomed the thing to never be used.
The opening was a rewritten version of the opening of the Rita Mae Brown script, Don't Open the Door, which I did a huge rewrite on later to make SPM. It was a "prologue" establishing the killer years earlier. I don't really remember Rita's draft. The bones of it were similar but it was a big rewrite. I didn't take screenplay credit and it was the first thing I ever wrote."
Debra DeLiso said in the Femme Fatales 11:5 interview with Jason Paul Collum:
"She was very hard to work with. Amy was put into a very difficult position. In order to get the job, she had made a seven minute version of the film." (The much talked about, never seen footage is something DeLiso knows existed but says, to her knowledge, was the beginning pages of the original script, neither of which were ever used in the final feature.)
The New Concorde DVD release is missing some of the dialogue on the radio that wakes Trish up in the beginning. It is also missing a tad of the telephone repairwoman stepping down the ladder right before Jeff approaches her. These are both intact in the original US VHS editions, the IFC broadcast, and the UK DVD - which is sped up from being in the PAL format, explaining why the running time is short.
The version shown on IFC includes the old '80s Paramount logo before and after the film (this is because they acquired rights for foreign distribution and cleaned up the print themselves, which was obviously the same case with The Boogens when it showed on IFC), and the ending credits show the copyright being 1981, Local Color - instead of 1982, Santa Fe, as is on the other versions. I must also note that this is the cleanest and most complete print of the film I have seen. However, a skeptical fan will wonder which version has the most accurate and correct matting, since the IFC version seems to be zoomed in a bit but also show a little more information on the bottom here and there. I feel that since the New Concorde DVD is now discontinued, this print plus some more extras other than just the trailer, would do the film justice in the DVD department.
Here are some screenshots comparing the IFC version to the New Concorde DVD version...
Jason Paul Collum told me about an old friend (who now lives in the UK) who taped SPM for him off HBO back in the '80s. He said that the opening title was completely different from what is shown in every other version. Instead of showing the classic poster/video cover artwork in red font, it was just black type-written font against the background. Very interested in seeing this version, but Jason has unfortunately since lost his VHS copy.
According to Debra De Liso, a ouija board scene was actually shot but deleted from the final film. The girls were supposed to be playing with a ouija board (of course, before they were aware of Russ Thorn) and when the planchette spells out "DEATH," the girls get freaked out and stop playing.
Neil's (Joseph Alan Johnson) death scene was originally so gory that the film received an X-rating!
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