Pool Party Massacre (2017)

Ah…  HorrorHound Weekend.  It’s a place of wonders for me.  Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for Vinegar Syndrome and Severin supplying the b-movie goodness, I could easily supply an entire year’s worth of B-Movie Enema articles by attending a single HorrorHound in either my hometown of Indianapolis or about an hour and half down the road in Cincinnati.  HorrorHound and Days of the Dead are havens for gray market movies, indie horror, and even, yes, um, *cough* boot*cough*legs.

My point is, the last time I went to HorrorHound in March 2019 in Cincy, I came back with an embarrassingly large stack of movies.  So, look out, 2020, B-Movie Enema will still be going strong.  But for this week, we go back to 2018’s visit to Indy’s HorrorHound Weekend and a charming little table run by Scream Team Releasing.  They are a little company that helps release indie horror flicks.  They were selling and/or distributing The Barn (a movie I’m adding to my regular rotation of October horror to celebrate Halloween with), Dude Bro Party Massacre III, and Bong of the Living Dead.  Those latter two, remember what I said about 2020…

They also shared space with this week’s feature, Pool Party Massacre.

I like to think ahead as much as I possibly can with this blog.  I already know what my 175th and 200th posts will be.  I’m just that kind of anal asshole.  But, let’s be honest, it’s July.  It’s summer here in most of the United States (sorry, Minnesota), and it’s that time of year when all the pretty people (who aren’t crazy hairy all over their bodies) with great, six-pack abs, or bodacious bikini bods like to go to the pool and hang out with whatever it is the MTV kids are drinking now to look hip and hot.

For the rest of us, we want to see those people be killed by a slasher maniac.

See?  I think ahead.  Let’s put on our dumb baggy swim trunks, step into even dumber flip flop sandals, and grab a bath towel out of the pantry because, goddammit, I don’t know how to swim so owning beach towels is an art completely lost on me, and let’s talk about director Drew Marvick’s Pool Party Massacre!

Now, I’ll say that I’ve heard very good things about this movie.  I will also say that starting with cosplayer Leeanna Vamp sunbathing with sexy, bassy music playing in an attempt to seduce the guy cleaning the pool within the first 98 seconds seems to be a very, very good way to get my attention.  I mean, this is where I’d start.  She even makes mention that her husband is out of town for business and she hates to be alone, but the pool boy’s not able to hear her because he’s jamming out to some heavy metal on his iPod (do people still have those?).

Unfortunately, for Miss Hottie Bikini Vamp, a different man comes into the backyard and slices her throat but good.

Sadness… But not for the cinematography here.

Roll the 8-bit, 80s inspired credits sequence that seems to be giving us a taste of what’s to come in animated form.  The credits go by fast so we don’t waste anymore time getting to the slaughter of some prissy, upper-class bitches.  We meet Blair and her friend, Nancy.  Blair’s parents are leaving for the weekend.  They give Blair the rules for conduct while they are gone which include saying that “three-ways are fine, but not the devil’s three-way.”  I guess Blair is related to the Brett Kavanaugh.

Basically, Blair is a slacker.  She’s a terrible daughter and just likes to spend her parents’ money and hang out by the pool.  She’s always being compared to her brother Blaine.  Nancy’s step-brother, Danny, stopped by, but Blair treats him like garbage and always has.  It’s a sticking point that both Nancy and Danny isn’t keen to let her gloss over.  She’s more or less the hot, bitchy chick that is always diametrically opposite our final girl in 80s slashers.  Considering this movie is playing up certain tropes and likely designed to make us root for the killer, she’s probably going to be our final girl in a reversal of expectations.  If that is true, I’m already on board.

The rest of Blair’s friends come over for the party, and they are also complete assholes.  Queen of those assholes is Tiffany, played by adult film star Alexis Adams.  Aside from Leeanna Vamp and being generally aware of Drew Marvick (thanks to a short called “Scared to Death” that played often on the now defunct Bizarre TV Roku channel), Alexis Adams was the other name I recognized in the cast.

Because I am mostly aware of her body and bits and bobs.

Because I am a very gross and lonely man.

And spend a lot of time online.

Yeah… I probably deserve that look of utter indignant disdain.

Alright, enough about my sad and pathetic life.  After Tiffany basically cunts out another of Blair’s friends, Kelly, Kelly goes inside to call her boyfriend, but only runs afoul of our intrepid killer who gives her a claw hammer to that soft underbelly of her fucking chin.

I gotta give it to this movie, that’s a really cool murder.  80s slashers were always known for inventive ways of killing people, this one is good.  I don’t know if it’s been used before, but good on Marvick for giving us something new.  Even better, Nancy goes looking for her and the killer props her up on the couch and puts her in a position that looks like she’s talking on her phone while still having that hammer sticking out of her face.

Alright, one rich bitch down, four or five more to go!

To add a little more spice to the killing spree, Tiffany’s boyfriend, Troy, crashes the party with his older brother, Clay.  Clay is… how do I put this… Basically a tool.  He’s a pasty white dude with a dad bod and receding hairline.  He’s…  He’s just terrible.

Clay’s loud hard rock music pisses off an older foreign lady who lives next door.  She’s a fucking weirdo too because she’s having a tea party on her front lawn in her housecoat and hair rollers with a creepy ass doll that is MOVING ON ITS OWN.  Before we can figure anything out about that strange old broad, the killer pick axes her in the head.

Next to go is Tiffany and Troy.  After they take ol’ one eye to the optometrist, Troy leaves Tiffany ball-gagged and handcuffed in bed, leaving her completely helpless against the killer while Troy goes to get a drink.   When Troy gets back, he gets the ax to the head.

Something that recurs in between each kill scene that I think is kind of clever.  After the killer does his thing, he returns the tool used to his garage’s tool wall and selects the next one.  So we know what item he’s going to use next.  We just don’t always know who will get the tool stuck in them.

An overarching theme in this movie seems to be the characters.  While the killings do seem to fall in line with a very 80s ideology to them, the characters feel like a little bit of a mix of 80s through present.  For example, we have Blair who is the too-cool-for-anyone’s-shit girl that you’d probably see in the 90s.  I’d certainly put Jasmine, Blair’s upperclass black girlfriend in the same category.  Meanwhile, you have Tiffany and Troy who seem to be early 2000s type of over-sexed rich kids who you’d probably see in a cheap boner comedy knockoff of a Farrelly Brothers’ movie.  Nancy and Kelly seem to be a little more pure and what you’d likely see in an 80s flick.  That leaves Britney and Clay who seem to be two people made entirely of the worst of the present.  Britney is “almost verified on Instagram” and Clay goes into a long diatribe about how Ferris Bueller was just a figment of Cameron’s imagination – so, in other words, he’s a pop culture reference guy.

Nancy is most definitely my kind of lady, though.

What’s really interesting is that the movie has a lot of its heart in exactly the right place.  It’s a silly slasher flick with a little giallo flair to the killer.  It’s got boobs, hot babes, and people you really do want to see dead, or naked, in whichever order it wants to provide it.  The killings have good makeup and effects around it.  It’s definitely pleasing in those regards.  I’d say, though, where I have found myself drifting is in the general lack of movement.  It’s a lot of people outside talking for minutes at a time, until finally someone separates off from the group, goes inside the house, and gets killed.  The kill scenes are good, but they are such a small part of the overall 80-minute runtime that those in between scenes need a little bit more to help us wait for that next featured scene.

Now, I say this, but something really funny sets up that next featured scene.  We spent several minutes outside with Clay trying to hit on Nancy, Britney, and Blair to such bad effect that he scored negative points with them.  He has negative chance to see any of these girls’ tits.  So, he proudly declares that he’s going to go inside and jerk off.  When he goes inside, he wonders where the jerk off material is kept in the house.  He finds a hallway adorned with family pictures that we saw Blair and Nancy discuss earlier in the movie.   A lot of their discussion came around to Blair’s brother’s style choices – particularly with long hair and long beard.  When Clay finds the pictures and spots one of “Blair” that he wants to take to the bathroom with him to feloniously slay the testator, he picks this picture of “Blair”…

That is, until he finds a picture of Blair’s mom to take instead.  While he furiously masturbates to Blair’s mom, he doesn’t hear a pizza delivery guy get killed by the killer.  The killer returns his tool and trades it with a plug in drill and kills Clay by drilling into the wall and into his back.  Shortly after, Jasmine freaks out about her self-tanner blotching out after she spills alcohol on her skin, so she takes a shower where she’s killed by a weed eater.

Britney does give good kill face though.

Britney, ecstatic over a hunky lawyer liking a picture of hers on Instagram, runs inside to share the news with Jasmine.  She starts discovering dead bodies and tries to lock herself in a bedroom to avoid the killer, but he jabs the machete through her and the door before she can call 911.

We’re now left Nancy and Blair.  Nancy tries to get Blair to go inside to figure out what the fuck the other people are doing inside her house during a supposed pool party.  Blair is pissed that Tiffany and Troy are fucking, Clay is jerking it in the bathroom (probably to her), and she also doesn’t want to discover Jasmine and Britney are gay for each other.  Nancy gives Blair shit for turning into an asshole.  Nancy eventually convinces her to go inside.  This places us right into final moments of the movie.  Blair is inside, and Nancy is alone by the pool where the killer knocks her out with a hammer.  When Blair tries to find her, she goes back into the house to start discovering bodies and who the killer is…  HER BROTHER!  DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Wait… Is Nancy dead? I will not be happy if this is the case. She was en fuego!

Blair and Blaine bitch at each other about his techniques.  As it turns out, Blair asked her brother to help her kill her friends.  The movie actually comes alive here in these last few minutes.  We have a little Cruel Intentions mixed in now with a couple rich siblings who are just turd people.  Nancy is not dead, just unconscious.  She sprints out of the room and Blaine follows.  He tells Nancy how he’s going to become famous for the killings as well as Blair.  Nancy will be famous too, but for being one of the victims.  While he talks about how he’ll miss her the most because she wasn’t like the others, Nancy takes the machete used to kill Britney and stabs and kills Blaine.  She runs downstairs only to run into Blair who is now taking up her brother’s hands-on approach.

Blair corners Nancy back into the bedroom where all the bodies are.  She reveals to Nancy that she wanted to kill everyone because they always went out of their way to make her feel like she wasn’t good enough.  Even Nancy is guilty of being so supportive of Blair that it made her parents like her more than their own daughter.  In the end, Nancy avoids getting axed by Blair and kills Blair.  As Nancy walks away from the scene of the horror, Blaine watches from the balcony.

Marvick, as I mentioned earlier, definitely has his heart in the right place on this movie, and I think he has good ideas and a great deal of love for the genre.  That really carried the movie in the first, oh, fifteen minutes of the movie, and most definitely shone through in the last fifteen minutes of the movie.  While I understand why the middle 45-50 minutes were structured the way they were, I still think that meandered slightly in between the kills.  I will definitely say the pieces are there, and, despite some disappointment,  I can’t get too down on this movie because a lot of those pieces are done very lovingly.  I’d definitely like to see more from the gang involved here.

Next week, let’s check in with one of my favorite b-movie sirens, Candice Rialson as she has to delicately navigate a controlling brother, a lesbian artist who wants to groom her, and a weirdo gallery owner who likes to keep an unusual assortment of Pets.  Check back in 7 to learn more about this sure-to-be-dirty-and-sexy adventure!

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