Ladies of the '80s: A Decade of Horror Directed by Women - Humanoids From the Deep, The Slumber Party Massacre (w/ Dir. Amy Holden Jones & Composer Ralph Jones!), Sorority House Massacre & Stripped To Kill Marathon!

Presented by HEAVY MIDNITES & Women of Cinefamily!

A crash course in the Corman Film School of ‘80s grindhouse gold! Perhaps more than any other producer, Roger Corman has successfully tapped into a powder keg of emerging talent, attracting the brightest minds birthed from the drive-in explosion of DIY cinema. With the rise of an insatiable new home audience, he was quick to fill video store shelves, orchestrating the perfect intersection of opportunity and artistry to help usher in a brief golden age for young female filmmakers hungry to cut their teeth behind the camera.


Sea beasts on the prowl for human mates! Corman veteran Barbara Peeters (Bury Me An Angel, Summer School Teachers) directs the lean ‘n mean ecological monster mash Humanoids from the Deep, crafting one of the most efficiently devastating creature flicks to ever wash ashore, and one of the best illustrations why you shouldn’t make out at the beach. A small fishing town is not prepared when an army of gilled mermen arise from their watery homes to fulfill their need to spawn. It’s gooey, gloppy and filled with carnage, a depraved sleaze-o-rama from which Peeters notoriously tried to remove her name when the producers added more boobs ‘n blood without her consent. Featuring early work by effects master Rob Bottin (The Thing), razor-sharp editing by Cinefamily fave Mark Goldblatt, and a rousing score by multi-Oscar-winning composer James Horner. Heck, the film is so stacked with talent that Terminator writer/producer Gale Ann Hurd was even the production assistant!
Dir. Barbara Peeters, 1980, 35mm, 80 min.
35mm Print Courtesy of the Academy Film Archive


Schedule permitting, director Amy Holden Jones will join us in person to discuss! Penned by feminist icon and Rubyfruit Jungle author Rita Mae Brown as a full-fledged parody, director Amy Holden Jones wisely balances the line, playing it straight so the film works both as a white knuckle thrill-ride and a pointed commentary on the male-driven stalk-and-slash cycle. The Slumber Party Massacre is one of the most-beloved of the era, the ultimate driller-killer slashterpiece, a streamlined tour de force pulsing with energy that barrels forward while piling up bodies, pizza, snappy dialogue and phallic imagery, as a wide-eyed, power-tool-wielding maniac crashes the high school basketball team’s pajama jam. One thing’s for sure, no one’s getting any sleep tonight!

Dir. Amy Holden Jones, 1982, 35mm, 77 min.
35mm Print Courtesy of the Academy Film Archive


Think college tests are tough? The Thetas are about to take a final exam where the stakes are not pass/fail but live/die. A surprisingly late entry in the Halloween knock-off craze from one-and-done writer/director Carol Frank, Sorority House Massacre is a hypnotic dream puzzle via slice ‘n dice slasher, equal parts Elm Street blurred reality and Michael Myers unstoppable terror, a potent & stylish mid-decade mind-melter packed with teased hair, pastel fashion and outrageous attitude. While slow motion nightmares and ominous blood-fueled visions plague the new sorority sister, a crazed killer escapes a mental institution intent on striking again. Could the two be connected?

Dir. Carol Frank, 1986, 35mm, 74 min.
35mm Print Courtesy of the Academy Film Archive


A maniac is killing strippers and Detective Sheehan has only one weapon with which to stop him: her body. Dark and violent, Stripped to Kill is a startling Los Angeles nightcrawler, a vicious neon noir empowered by writer/director Katt Shea, and stars tv mainstay Kay Lenz as a cop undercover as an exotic dancer on the hunt for a ferocious killer. The former UCLA student, model and first-time helmer strives to show these performers in a way never seen before, not just for sexploitation and titillation, but as a tight sorority of artists overlooked and underestimated by mainstream society. Peppered with a colorful supporting cast including My Two Dads’ Greg Evigan as the partner/love interest and Three’s Company’s Norman Fell as the hardboiled club owner, Stripped to Kill demands respect as one of the crowning achievements from the Skinemax heyday of late night erotic thrillers.

Dir. Katt Shea, 1987, 35mm, 88 min.
35mm Print Courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive

Film order subject to change.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!