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Sleepaway Camp

Part Five of Teenage Wastedland

      "If she was any quieter, she'd be dead!"

-- Meg: the camp counselor from HELL.   

 

     

Reviews:

Gonzoid Cinema

 

 

Buzzkillers!

Why is this girl so happy?

Scroll down a bit to find out.

 

Watch it!

AMAZON

DVD

 
Sights &
Sounds:
Sleepaway
Camp
(1983)
 American Eagle /
 United Film Distribution

The Official

Talley:

Total Suspects :: 4

The Body Count :: 12

Death By:

Maritime Recklessness x 2

Scalding Water

Drowning

Induced Hornet Attack

Knife in the Back

Hacked Up by an Axe x 3

Arrow thru the Neck

Decapitation

The Most

Unorthodox
Death Scene:

A Forced Rectal with a Hot Curling Iron

And the "What

the Hell Are
You Doing in
this Movie?"
Award Goes to:

Angela's Winky

 

On the title page for this Teenage Wastedland retrospective I posted a Spoiler Warning that all the killers in each film would be revealed. So, before you get into the guts of this review, Iíd like to reiterate that Warning -- and for good reason. Why? Well, frankly, Sleepaway Camp has one of the greatest shock endings of all time and Iím a little antsy about spoiling it for those who havenít seen it yet. Seriously; itís a real kick in the head. So, again, if you havenít seen Sleepaway Camp, or are not aware of the nature or nurture of its surprise ending, then stop reading right now; try to see it first, and then come back and read this review.

For those of you who are still inclined, read on...

We open peacefully enough with a scenic, slow-pan exploration of the quiet Camp Arawak. And as we serenely move from cabin to cabin, the soundtrack goes just a little off kilter: haunting voices of kids and counselors at play sift in and out, giving us the sense that the camp is not empty but abandoned. Our ominous prelude continues until we come to the main entrance, where we find the road cordoned off and a "For Sale" posted, confirming all our suspicions.

Prelude #2 opens on a lake, where a father and his two children, Peter and Angela, lounge on a small sailboat. Their tranquility is soon spoiled by some teenagers in a motorboat, churning up the water to water-ski. Then, while dad isnít looking, his two kids playfully push him into the water; but these shenanigans quickly backfire. For, during the execution of this joke, they capsized the boat, spilling them all into the water. Meanwhile, the teens are being more reckless; the boy allows the inexperienced girl to drive and opens up the throttle, despite the skierís protests to slow down. On shore, another man calls to the father, saying theyíd better head in because Aunt Martha will be here soon. The kids become very excited, hoping to play with Marthaís son, Richie. But dad says Richie is visiting his father (-- only the first instance of marital irregularities to come), and starts to help them back onto the still overturned boat. All the while, the motor-boating teens still arenít watching where theyíre going. Instead, they're watching the helpless skier behind them and trying to hear what sheís screaming about -- the fact that theyíre heading right for the sailboat, but her warnings are deciphered too late. When the others finally turn around, there's no time to change course and they smash into the sailboat, sending everyone sprawling. The man on shore expresses horror, the skier screams, and the other teens look on dumbfounded: the father has been decapitated, and only one of the children survives the accident.

Jump ahead eight years, to the house of flaky Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould), where sheís packed a lunch for Richie (John Tierston) and Angela (Felisa Rose) for their trip to summer camp. Addle-brained Martha is a doctor (-- of something), and finally remembers what sheís been forgetting and hands the kids their physicals. [Is a physical required for summer camp? Hmmm? I'm thinking PLOT POINT!] Angela, whom Martha adopted after the tragic accident, appears sullen and withdrawn due to her traumatic experience, very quiet and pathologically shy, and has that constant thousand-yard stare. Worried because this is her first trip away from home since the accident, Richie promises he'll look out for his step-sister.

When the buses arrive at Camp Arawak and the kids excitedly rush to the cabins to get reacquainted with old friends, as they thunder by, Artie (Owen Hughes), the camp cook, lecherously takes in all the little girls and makes lewd comments about nesting some young skirts. [Suspect #1 -- but five bucks says this creep dies first.] As the elderly Mel (Mike Kellin), the camp owner, and Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo), the head counselor, welcome the campers back, someone grabs Rich from behind -- but itís only his friend, Paul (Christopher Collet). He introduces Angela, but warns sheís awfully shy. Paul then asks Rich if heís seen Judy (Karen Fields) yet, who hit puberty over the winter and has developed quite a set of hooters. Seems Rich and Judy went steady last summer, but now, she seems only interested in the older boys. Unluckily for Angela, Judy shares the same lodgings and immediately gives the new girl the big stink-eye. And to make matters worse for young Angela, sheís also stuck with Meg (Kathy Kahmi), the camp counselor from hell. Judy and Meg have already pegged her as a freak, which means itís going to be a long summer for our recluse. But Megís assistant, Susie (Susan Glazer), seems a lot nicer, and the other counselors are aware of Angelaís history, too, and promises sheíll have a good time. 

So not only has she been tabbed a freak, she gets special treatment from the counselors: the kiss of death for any poor soul stuck at summer camp.

Several days pass before Meg finally complains to Ronnie that Angela wonít eat anything, who then takes Angela into the kitchen and asks Artie to make her something she likes. Promising heís got something sheíll really enjoy (-- uh-oh), Artie takes the girl into the giant walk in freezer, alone, and shuts the door. He then starts to undo his pants and demands Angela comply with his lecherous advances. Lucky for Angela, Richie comes looking for her and blunders onto the scene before Artie can commit a felony. But Artie grabs Richie, violently shakes him, and threatens him with more bodily violence if he says anything. Grabbing Angela, they both amscray and run right past Mel. Neither say anything, but I think Mel knows what's up with his hired help ... As the day moves on, Artie heats up a four-foot tall pot to boil some corn on the cob. This kettle is so tall he has to stand on a rickety chair to look in to see if itís boiling yet. Meanwhile, unknown to the slovenly cook, heís being stalked by a Rogue POV-camera, and while he ads some salt to the boiling water, the Rogue POV-cam grows a pair of hands that upsets the chair, causing Artie to lose his balance. Turning to look at his assailant, and recognizing whoever it is, Artie falls, tipping the kettle on top of himself. And as he screams in agony while his skin blisters up, his assistant rushes in and sees the bubbling and gooey mess that once was Artie. 

The young hands tell us the killer was probably one of the campers. But was it the hot tempered and overly protective Richie, a/k/a Suspect #2, or perhaps the not quite as catatonic as we thought Angela, a/k/a Suspect #3.

After the paramedics haul off what's left of the cook, the doctor tells Mel his prognosis isnít good. Not wanting to cause a panic (-- or stir up any bad publicity for the camp), Mel writes it off as a freak accident, pays off the cookís assistant to keep him quiet, and orders Ronnie to tell everybody else that Artie quit. However, Mel has some other suspicions about what really happened and who was behind it. So, none the wiser, Richie, Paul, and the boys of Cabin Six are finishing up the daily hazing of the nerdy Mozart (Willy Kinston) until Gene (Frank Saladino), their counselor, rousts them out for a baseball game with a rival cabin with five whole dollars a head going to the winner. Richie and Paul lead the offense in the hotly contested game, where, oddly enough, Mozart makes a spectacular game saving catch. After the dust settles, Billy (Loris Sallahian), the rival teamís counselor, pays up. I'll point out there is no love lost between Richie and Billy. In fact, Iíd say theyíre openly hostile. Later that night at the rec hall, Billy and Kenny (John Quinn) are having no luck getting any girls to go skinny-dipping with them. With nothing to lose, Kenny decides to try his luck on the freaky Angela, who is sitting all alone. But when she refuses to even talk to him, it degenerates into a brutal mocking session. When Richie and Paul intervene it quickly escalates into a brawl until the other counselors break it up -- but not before Richie makes several death threats if the others don't leave Angela alone. When Gene hauls him outside to cool off, Paul sits next to Angela and starts to talk to her. The conversation is totally one-sided but Paul doesnít seem to mind. Seems Richie told him about the accident, and he just wants to help. From across the room, Judy watches this display with disgust. (I donít think she has a thing for Paul, I think she just hates Angela that much.) When the dance ends, Paul wraps it up by saying goodnight. To his surprise, Angela wishes him the same. (She speaks!)

Later, Billy and his crew go skinny-dipping -- without any female company. Meanwhile, Kenny (-- after downing some reefer, which means heís dead before the next reel --) finally talks one of the girls into going for a canoe ride with him. Upon getting her to the middle of the lake, he warns of water snakes -- but I'd be more worried with the trouser variety if I were her. And then, as part of some bizarre mating ritual, Kenny tips the canoe over. He does promises to help the girl back into the boat -- but only if sheíll put out for him. (Is this how the old 'Put out or swim' gag supposed to work?) When she swims off in disgust, Kenny submerges and comes back up underneath the overturned canoe to right it. Someone else surfaces, too, but Kenny only manages to ask Why are you here? before the killer drowns him. On shore, the others finish their swim and call for Kenny to come in. When he doesnít answer, figuring heís just playing another practical joke, they leave. The next morning, as the lifeguard starts to clean up the carnage from the previous night's non-sanctioned beach party, he finds the canoe, still capsized, washed ashore. He flips it over -- revealing Kennyís dead body (-- omigod, they killed Kenny!), with one of his infamous water snakes crawling out of his mouth!

Despite his best efforts Mel canít keep this one quiet but still insists it was an accidental drowning. But Ronnie isnít so sure because Kenny was a real good swimmer; and while the body is loaded into the coroners wagon, the Sheriff (-- and dig that paste on mustache! --) says theyíll know for sure after an autopsy. Despite the excitement, the dayís activities proceed. And as the rest of the girls play volleyball, Angela rides the bench. Sneaking in beside her, Paul asks if she would like to go to the movie tonight at the rec hall with him. She agrees, but Judy catches them and sics Meg on her, who chases Paul off before berating Angela over this fraternizing. Regardless of the warning, after the movie gets out that night, Paul walks Angela back to her cabin. When they get there, he steals a kiss. At first, sheís apprehensive but doesnít mind when he asks to do it again. He does, a little less awkwardly this time, but Angela stops it there and heads inside. After sheís gone, Judy appears and starts to put the vamp on Paul but is told to get lost.

Paul gets back to his cabin in time to watch Richie push Mozart a little too far when Mozart produces a knife, threatens to kill him, and clumsily goes after his nemesis. Gene arrives, breaks up the fight, and confiscates the knife, but everyone sees where he stashes it. [Has Mozart been pushed past the breaking point enough to be called Suspect #4? Stay tuned.] The next morning, while the other girls swim, Angela sits alone in the bleachers near the lake until Paul manages to sneak in and see her. He tries to apologize for being so forward the night before but Meg and Judy catch them again. Luckily, Ronnie intervenes and comes to their rescue by reprimanding Meg. After the swim, the girls retire to the cabin, where Judy asks everyone to thank Angela for getting Meg in trouble. Angela says she didnít do anything wrong, but Judy doesnít let up: asking why doesnít Angela participate in anything? And why doesnít she shower with the rest of the girls? [Plot point!] Poking fun at Angela's flat chest, Judy figures she hasnít blossomed yet and is too embarrassed. Susie tries to stop this, but the haranguing continues with Angela being declared a carpenterís dream: flat as a board, and in need of a good screw. With that vile remark, Susie slaps Judy and she finally stops. Susie wants her to apologize, but Angela has left the cabin. On her way to the canteen, when Billy and his goons pelt her with water balloons, this relatively harmless act causes Richie to go off the deep-end; and his profanity laced tirade and following death threats peel the paint off of the nearest cabin. Mel, who saw the whole thing, breaks it up and warns everyone if this kind of behavior continues, heíll kick them all out and send them home.

Later, Billyís cabin has another ballgame lined up for the afternoon but he has to take a dump first. Finding some reading material, he settles into a stall -- not noticing the sinister hands that appear and quietly stick a broom through the stallís door handles, effectively sealing Billy inside. A few moments later, the screen above the stalls is slashed opened with Mozartís knife. Billy thinks itís one of his campers playing tricks until the killer shoves a hornetís nest through the slashed screen and bounces it around, stirring the insects into a frenzy as the hive disintegrates. Billy, screaming as heís stung, pulls his pants back up but canít get out. Trapped, the hornets continue to attack until he finally breaks the broom handle -- but it is to late; he falls to the floor, and a slow pan reveals his face covered with the deadly bugs.

Night falls, and, with the bodies piling up, Mel is convinced heís financially ruined: all but twenty-five kids have been removed from the camp after all these "mysterious" deaths. (I won't even touch as to why any parent would leave their kid at camp where several homicides have taken place.) Wanting to just shut the whole camp down and send everyone home, Mel stews. And when Ronnie suggests they should consolidate and at least finish out the summer, Mel thinks gathering everyone together will only help the killer. But then again, heís pretty sure he knows who the killer really is and mumbles something about Richieís outburst, and how he plans to put his theory to the test.

Elsewhere, as Angela lurks around outside the boyís cabin, a Rogue POV-cam sneaks up behind her -- but itís only Paul, who takes her down to the beach where they kiss again. And after a quick game of kiss-tag, they go for a roll in the sand -- until Angela is overwhelmed by a flashback:

We see her father in bed kissing another man -- for the record, it's the same man on the beach from the beginning. As she and Peter giggle while watching them, it gets even more surreal, when we switch to her and her brother on a bed, together; the camera spins around them as her brother reaches out to touch her, but right before he makes contact, she snaps out of it. 

Angela pushes Paul away and runs off.

The next morning, as the remaining campers play a rousing game of capture the flag, Paul tries to talk to Angela but sheís clammed up tight. He gives up and runs into Judy, who puts the vamp on him again. Richie, meanwhile, finds Angela alone and asks for her help. Needing a decoy so he can capture the other team's flag, they cut through some trees and stumble upon Paul and Judy just as she steals a kiss. Angela -- as Angela often does -- runs away, and while Paul goes after her Richie rips Judy a new orifice. Then, things really start to boil ... At the beach, Angela still refuses to swim. Here, Paul tries to apologize, again, but Judy scares him off. And after Judy and Meg have a pow-wow, they hatch a plot to get Angela into the water. Richie spots them making trouble, but Mel has him cornered and starts giving him the fifth degree. Richie doesn't realize what Melís insinuating; he's too busy watching Meg grab Angela, toss her over the shoulder, and haul her onto the dock. As Angela screams, Richie tries to help but Mel wonít let him go. Mel thinks he has it figured out and accuses Richie of murder. He's seen the pattern: something bad happens to Angela; Richie saves her; and the agitator winds up dead. Fearing Mel's gone nuts, Richie manages to break free but not before Angela is dumped into the drink. After the lifeguard comes to the rescue, Richie takes her away -- screaming epitaphs at everyone; even the little campers, who are chucking sand at them. As they head back to the cabins, Mel ominously promises Richie wonít get away with it.

That night, Ronnie goes over the duty roster with his counselors: Eddie (Fred Greene) has to take the youngest campers out for a night of real camping in the woods; Meg has the night off; and the rest of the counselors have to chaperon the dance at the rec hall. Sneaking back into the office, Meg asks Mel if his promise of dinner at his house still stands? It does. (Dinner and what else?) She returns to her cabin to get ready, but the showers are all full. Telling Judy sheís going to shower in the now empty cabin next door, Angela watches her leave. Entering the dark cabin, Meg makes her way to the showers, where the Rogue POV cam lurks around outside. And as she turns on the water, lathers up, and leans against the back shower wall Meg suddenly seizes up in pain! The killer has stabbed through the metal wall and skewered Meg in the back. (Thatís some knife.) Her spine severed, Meg falls dead and the killer washes the blade clean so we can confirm that itís Mozartís knife; then the water is shut off, and then the lights.

Outside, looking for Richie, Angela runs into Paul. He says Richieís lying down due to some suspected food poisoning. Again, Paul tries to apologize, and this time it appears to work when Angela tells him to meet her at the beach after the social. Elsewhere, out in the woods, Eddie and his young charges make camp, where one of them plays with an axe until Eddie takes it away from him to chop some firewood. After they bed down for the night, when two of them become frightened and want to go back to the camp, Eddie -- in not the wisest move since thereís a killer running loose -- leaves the rest of his charges, alone, to take the other two back. After heís gone, sinister hands grab the axe ... Back at the rec hall, the dance is pretty dull. Mel shows up and asks Susie if sheís seen Meg. Check the cabin, she says. And inside that very cabin, Judy is making out with Mike (Tom Van Dell) until they here someone coming. Mike hides under the bed before Mel gets inside. Told Meg was last seen heading next door to shower, he leaves; but Mike is so rattled about almost being caught he leaves, too, much to Judyís disappointment. Next door, Mel hits the lights, and after a little exploration, finds Meg's body. With that shock, Mel snaps: he had the killer caught earlier, but let him go; and in a righteous rage, vows to not let that happen again as he rushes off to find Richie. Back in the girlís cabin, as Judy curls her hair, the door opens and the killer is silhouetted by the outside lights. Unable to make out who it is, the killer gets close enough to conk Judy on the head. Then, the killer takes a pillow in one hand and pushes it onto Judyís face while the other takes the hot curling iron and stabs Judy with it. And though we donít actually see where -- itís pretty obvious where the killer stuck it. 

Eek! That's for external use only!

Back in the woods, Eddie returns to the campsite and is horrified to find the kids hacked to pieces. He loses his lunch, and then goes for help. At the camp, Richie has convinced one of the counselors to let him into the locked rec-hall so he can raid the canteen to settle his upset stomach. Munching happily on some candy bars, Richie heads back to the cabin, when suddenly, Mel grabs the boy, pulls him into the woods, and promptly beats him to a bloody pulp. At the main office, Eddie gets word to Ronnie about the massacre. After calling in Sheriff 'Stache, Ronnie quickly gathers up the other counselors -- with Meg still noticeably missing -- and orders them to round up all the campers. After a quick head count, the only kids unaccounted for are Paul, Angela, and Richie. So while Ronnie, Suzie and the Sheriff look for them, the rest will stay and protect the other kids. Speaking of protecting the kids ... Mel finally stops the beat down and is shocked by what he's done. Leaving the body, he runs away and winds up on the archery range, where he spies somebody with a bow and arrow. Eyes wide, Mel canít believe who the killer really is! But he doesnít get to contemplate his grievous error for too long before an arrow slices right through the throat. 

*thwack*

At the beach, unaware of all the murder and mayhem, Paul waits for Angela, who finally shows up. (And if you get the sense Angela isnít very stable right now, youíre not alone.) Telling Paul she wants to go skinny-dipping, the boy excitedly starts to strip down ... Sometime later, when the search party finds what's left of Richie, a scream brings them running to the cabin where Meg was killed; one of the other counselors found the body. Splitting up to cover more ground, Ronnie and Susie head to the beach, where they hear someone singing; it's Angela, sitting in the sand with her back turned toward them. Paul is lying down, naked, with his head cradled in her lap. Ronnie calls out, but Angela seems oblivious to them...

This is Your Last Warning!

Stop Right Now if You Don't

Want to Know the Ending!

We then have one more, mind-blowingly surreal flashback: 

As flaky Aunt Martha talks to her new adopted daughter -- who we see from the back, and whose head is wrapped mostly in bandages -- sheís pleased as punch that her family will now have a little girl. And wonít Richie be surprised when he gets back from his visiting his father to find out he has a new sister! While she speaks, the camera starts to slowly move around them ... Martha always wanted a little girl, and promises to buy the child a bunch of new clothes ... And when the slow pan completes the circle, we see the child is really Peter! It was Angela who really died in the accident. E'yup ... Martha is a complete nutcase! And since she already had a son, and with no prospect of ever getting married again, she has been dressing Peter as a girl and has kept it a secret, even from Richie.

Until now...

When Angela slowly rises, Paulís decapitated head falls from her lap and rolls down the beach. Turning to face the counselors, her face gripped in a silent, maniacal rage, the camera slowly zooms out, revealing a totally naked Angela and her...

... *ahem* block and tackle.

Ronnie states the obvious: "I donít believe it. Sheís a boy."

The frame freezes on Angelaís maniacal visage and the end credits roll.

GAH! CREEPY!

The End

It's almost unfortunate that Sleepaway Camp is garnering such a cult reputation. Becoming too well known, most people are now aware of the surprise ending, and frankly, can't have the pleasure of that shock-ending walking up and kicking you right-square in the nethers. I've never seen The Crying Game, but I already know the gal's really a guy, and so, I don't think the film would have the same cinematic punch. Same here. And yes, I realize I'm not helping matters much, but, dammit, I warned ya!

You may have guessed Angela's secret before the end, like I did. But that last scene still packs a wallop and just sticks with you. Why? Because the scene has an incredible impact and resonance. It doesn't really matter what you think of the rest of the film, that ending has a lasting resonance. Whether it's a repugnant / morbid resonance; or a shock / surprise resonance; or a "No friggin' way!" resonance, depends on the viewer. But there's also a fourth kind of resonance: the "I can't believe what I just saw. But there it is -- in all its freeze frame glory!" resonance, which is what happened to me: a little bewilderment, mixed with a lot respect for the creators for having the -- forgive me -- balls to do that. 

But now, let's back up and talk about the rest of the movie for a little bit. The brainchild of Robert Hiltzik, Sleepaway Camp was an independent production, which plays to the films advantage because it is the only way Hiltzik could have gotten away with that ending, among other things. Filmed over a span of 5 weeks for around $350,000 (-- which seems an awful lot when compared to some other budgets of films on this site), it was another entry in the Stalk 'n' Slash boom of the early 1980s. Unjustly branded as a hack-job and a sloppy retelling of Friday the 13th, I disagree most vehemently. Most of the short synopsis in the film books I've read tell me the film has fallen victim to the horrors of bullcrit, meaning they haven't actually seen it. Yes, the film follows many of the same genre conventions as Friday the 13th and it's brethren, but look at it a little closer:

The Friday the 13th franchise and its imitators can be boiled down to, basically, if you screwed around and did bad things, you got impaled on something sharp. And that is so not the case in Sleepaway Camp at all. No ... There is something far, far more perverse going on here. The film has more to do with puberty, sexuality, and gender roles than the actual act of sexual intercourse. The crux of the film deals with Angela, who has hit that awkward age of thirteen. She appears a little gangly and out of proportion, like she's just gone through a growth spurt. Of course, his/her surfacing puberty means larger doses of hormones and chemical reactions as the body starts to change and develop. And with this coming into direct conflict with her psyche and her twisted sense of self, is it any wonder, then (-- despite the obvious), why Angela's finally gone nuts and turned homicidal? And notice how Angela only kills those who threaten her, or, more directly, threaten to expose her true identity. 

Sorry, everybody. I was pre-psych in college before I switched majors.

You also have to give Hiltzik some credit for having the kahonies -- forgive me for that one, too -- for having kids killing kids. Young kids even; and I'm gonna assume those kids killed with the axe were the ones who threw sand at Angela after she got dumped in the drink. When's the last time you saw a film where someone under ten got axed to death? Again, with a studio, I doubt Hiltzik would've ever gotten away with this. With the older counselors relegated to secondary characters, most of his young leads could use a few more acting lessons, but, for the most part, act and behave like real tweeners -- foul-mouthed, awkward, and all-around vindictive little bitches and bastards. The biggest problem, in most instances, is they're trying to act too hard. Only Collet went on to marginal screen success, and while Felisa Rose gets a lot of grief over her perceived wooden performance, I think she's brilliant; and her portrayal had me totally weirded out by her thousand yard stare. And like Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, Rose had to wear a special harness to strap her breasts down; a piece of equipment I understand the actress still has.

Beyond that, the story is standard: the murders come at a good pace to keep you interested. No glaring mistakes in the plot, either, but it's pretty obvious from the get go that the killer is either Richie or Angela -- and it was actually Tierson's hands during the Rogue POV-shots doing the dastardly deeds. And though these killings have some originality, they do fall apart in the plausibility department. Gruesome, yes, but due to some nifty editing tricks aren't very graphic or explicit. The F/X budget was spent mostly on a series of plaster heads done by Ed French for each kill. They don't hold up real well under close scrutiny, but with what they do with those heads -- especially that snake bit, you probably won't be looking real close for very long. For the climactic reveal scene, Hiltzik paid a college student, who shaved his body and wore a plaster cast of Angela's face. (That's why her face is a little too rigid.) And it's rumored that it took the student several bottles of liquid courage to do the scene. 

Only marginal successful during it's limited theatrical run, Sleepaway Camp was a surprise hit, and did so well, on the home video market that a bigger production company was interested in doing a sequel. Hiltzik wrote a screenplay for it, but it was rejected. The studio went ahead without him and made Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, with Pamela Springsteen (the Boss's sister!) taking over the roll of Angela, and both were played more for laughs than scares. Rent at your own risk. 

As I said before, there is a growing movement on the web to get this film more recognition. Most of the information for this review came from the Official Sleepaway Camp Website. Now, the creators of that site are so fanatically devoted and dedicated to the film they even had influence on Anchor Bay's release of the DVD and got Rose, Tierstonn, and Hiltzik together to record a commentary track. (Now if I can just get someone to do a Thing From Another World DVD with a commentary track by Robert Cornwaithe and Ken Tobey.) And somebody's been listening to all these web rumblings because a fourth sequel, helmed by Hiltzik, is rumored to start filming this spring. 

Brilliant in spots, and very clumsy in others, Sleepaway Camp's reputation will only continue to grow -- but again, I don't know if that's good thing. Even if you don't know what the shock ending is, just the knowledge that there is a shock ending can cause disappointment. Expectation be a harsh mistress seldom satisfied. And honestly, the film is better if it sneaks up on you. If you've already seen it, then you probably have your own thoughts on the ending. To those who I've spoiled the ending, I again apologize. You missed a pretty good movie.

Sleepaway Camp (1983) American Eagle :: United Film Distribution Company (UFDC) / EP: Robert Hiltzik / P: Jerry Silva, Michele Tatosian / D: Robert Hiltzik / W: Robert Hiltzik / C: Benjamin Davis / E: Ron Kalish, Sharyn L. Ross / M: Edward Bilous / S: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields, Christopher Collet, Katherine Kamhi, Desiree Gould, Mike Kellin

And the Body Count Continues...

More Teenaged Wastedland.

Originally Posted: 03/04/02 :: Rehashed: 08/31/2010

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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