Ha ha!

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Friday 11 June 2021

Burl reviews Slumber Party '57! (1976)


With a golly gee and a hey daddy-o, it’s Burl, here with another one of those flashback teen sex comedies that came out in the wake of American Graffiti! The form reached its apotheosis with Porky’s, and maybe its height of classiness, relatively speaking, with Mischief, but it was the first knock-offs, the ones from the 70s like Hometown U.S.A., that really give the impression of desperate coattail riding with a T&A twist! Ha ha, and another of these cras-cren-bons, perhaps the greatest of them in fact, is the skinfest known as Slumber Party ’57! 

It hasn’t got a story so much as it has a carelessly geomantic structure! After the first of the requisite easily-licensed 50s hits (or 60s hits; the picture is unconcerned with strict fidelity to its period), we meet five young ladies, apparently high school students but clearly in their early to mid 20s! Ha ha! Debra Winger from Black Widow is one of them (an appearance that has long since dropped off the bottom of her resumé); Noelle North, who also showed up in the superficially similar Sweater Girls, is another; Rainbeaux Smith from The Pom Pom Girls, Massacre at Central High, and Parasite, is still another, and there are yet more played by actresses I failed to recognize! Their boyfriends being away for a weekend football trip, the ladies decide to hold the titular party, and, once they’ve had a nude pool frolic, proceed to each tell the story of how she lost her virginity!


The bulk of the movie is these stories, told one by one in flashback, and set to more easily-licensed doo-wah hits, which are always played in their entirety to justify the cost! There’s a Daisy Mae type who tells the tale of her deflowering at the hands of the local moonshiner, a Li’l Abner who manages a roll in the hay somewhere between his still blowing up and being chased by revenooers! Noelle North next tells her story: she’s in her room reading Lolita while her parents hold a party downstairs; one of the guests, played by Will Hutchins from The Horror at 37,000 Feet, blunders in and stammers his way to a seduction! But this goes sour when North’s burly dad, in a frightening appearance from Bill Thurman, the sheriff in Creature From Black Lake, bursts in and puts his daughter over his knee for a good llarrupin’! The girls all agree that they secretly enjoy such treatment from their fathers, urgh!

Between their stories the girls leave the mansion they’re slumber partying in to grab a bite to eat at the local drive-in ask-n’-wait, where they meet an out-of-control hophead played by Rafael Campos from Astro Zombies and soon find themselves in a street race with him! Ha ha, can’t make a movie like this without a street race! After the final boringly gymnogynous tale is told, and they’re all revealed to be spurious anyway, the girls must deal first with a cat burglar played by Larry Gelman from Dreamscape (who might as well have been voted “Least Likely To Ever Portray A Cat Burglar" at his acting school), and then with a cop played by Joe E. Ross, who says “Ooh, ooh!” a lot just as he did in Car 54, Where Are You, and is clearly delighted when he’s surrounded by nubile girls and Debra Winger starts kissing him! Ha ha, Debra Winger and Joe E. Ross: truly a thespian summit for the ages! 

The movie leans right in to its exploitation angle, with few opportunities for nudity ignored and several more invented! The young ladies come off well, though - several give good, spirited performances and are at a consistently higher level than the movie they’re in! Which, all things considered, is a bad movie! The script is unspeakable, the direction pretty foursquare, and it’s filled with anachronisms, like the drive-in screening of Cauldron of Blood, which wasn’t even shot until 1967! Ha ha, and I wonder if Debra Winger wants to forget about this movie more for the nudity or for the Joe E. Ross scene! I give Slumber Party ’57 one giggling hillbilly!


  1. Debra Winger always seems to have a sense of humour in interviews, so I suspect she wouldn't want to give these sleazy filmmakers credit for starting her career, they didn't deserve it for this. When it's not stupid, it's unpleasant!

    Better to credit Debra's break on Wonder Woman I think.

    My first experience of Joe E. Ross was as the voice of the zoo owner's sidekick on The Hair Bear Bunch. He went "Ooh, ooh!" there too. From what I've read, he certainly did prefer the company of unclad ladies.

  2. I don't disagree with your comment that "when it's not stupid, it's unpleasant," but of course it's never not stupid! And it certainly has moments of exploitative unpleasantness sprinkled throughout!