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For a textbook example of one of the most boring slasher films in cinema history, please inquire within. “Party Line” feels like dead air.

Sibling killers lure men to their house from a sex line to kill them. Let’s dig into 1988’s PARTY LINE, directed by William Webb!

As I See It

When a title is sold out on Vinegar Syndrome, it really piques my interest. There must be some cult following for their print run to sell thousands of copies. After an hour and a half, I still can’t figure out why. Party Line was one of the most vapid films I had ever seen. Formulaic, boring, miscast, and lacking any real teeth.

Leif Garret (Seth) and Greta Blackburn (Angelina) play siblings who lure married men through a sex phone party line and use a good old straight razor to make them pay for their transgressions, bleeding them out by the throat. It seems like a simple enough plot to make it fun. Given the era in which it was made and the budget it seems they spent, they could have brought in any number of talented effects artists to punch this up a bit.

Richard Hatch (Dan) plays the troublemaker cop who is supposed to be cool enough to envy, but he just comes across as a major dick.

Seth and Angelina have some major Mommy/Daddy issues, but it’s Seth (Garrett) who eventually takes the lead as the psycho killer. He wears his mother’s wedding dress and dons her makeup in what I assume is some nod to Psycho as he’s unable to accept she’s dead (at the hands of his abusive father) or a cheap attempt to shock.

This is one of those films that it’s a wonder anyone put in enough time, effort, and money to get made.

Famous Faces

Leif Garrett (Seth) was a child superstar. I honestly couldn’t point out why without some digging. My ingestion of pop culture as a kid must have been more comprehensive than I had given it credit for. He was in a bunch of movies and TV shows I had never seen, put out a slew of albums, and played himself in Dickie Roberts – Former Child Star. He also had a role in the Coppola film The Outsiders, which made a huge impact on me as a kid and starred a few up-and-coming stars you may have heard of: Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, and Tom Cruise.

Shawn Weatherly (Stacy) was in the Amityville sequel Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, and Police Academy 3 – Back in Training as Cadet Adams.

Richard Roundtree (Captain Barnes) is the original John Shaft.

Of Gratuitous Nature

With a phone sex line at the crux of its plot, there were bound to be bare breasts.

Heartthrob

I’ve seen worse, but it was hard to latch onto anything besides the locations they were able to shoot in. Mansions in the Hollywood hills and a bunch of sports cars may take the cake. Could have used more Richard Roundtree as well, though I doubt that would have saved it.

Ripe for a Remake

The killer siblings can definitely be played with, but leave everything else behind.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

Vinegar Syndrome put out a Blu-Ray, which has since sold out. You can stream Party Line on Tubi, Amazon’s Freevee, The Roku Channel, and Xumo Play.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 0.5


THE DAILY DIG
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