Sleepaway Camp is one of my all time favorite films. It takes a perfect horror setting and does more than one would have thought possible in 1981 with it. Summer camp means being away from home, and if one does not immediately fit in, being teased cruelly and made to feel an outcast. Angela in the first film does not fit in; one does not know if her unwillingness to fit in has to do with the grossness of summer in a damp, dirty place, the grossness and “shame” of puberty or just pathological shyness. But Angela gets her revenge for the cruel teasers who do fit in by having this other to make fun of. I was shocked when I found out what was really wrong with Angela and I doubt 81 audiences were ready for the last scenes transgressive power. :
Director Robert Hiltzik did everything right and returned to the camp decades later to make Return to Sleepaway Camp, the second best in the series. In this one, a very objectionable fat kid is teased and bullied in a way that probably trumps anything the Weinstein’s are carrying on about now. Return is powerful, but it falls completely apart in the last third so its not classic.
Inbetween these films (1 and 5) were two rather campy sequels starring The Born in USA guy’s sister Pamela. Sleepaway Camp 2 and 3 are to be avoided because they require Angela to kill to maintain some kind of ordered camping whereas it would have been more interesting if she had finally learned to fit in and tried to kill those that prevented that. 2 and 3 had a jokey tone that kind of goes about the darkness of the original and part 5.
Now we have part 4, released this week after 20 years on the shelf. The good folks at sleepawaycampfilms.com had a hand in finishing 4, all they had to work with was about 30 minutes of new footage (shot before the 1992 backers went broke). But what they came up with is very good.
This is very much a compilation film, though not to a high degree that Puppet Master Legacy was. The story involves a woman named Allison who goes to the site of the camp because though her has no identity or memories, doctors have concluded that this site has affected her past somehow. How this will all turn out is obvious, “Oh my God it’s you!”
What is less obvious is that 2 and 3 are watchable in clips, the death scenes and Michael J Pollard getting it on with a pretty teen work better without a context. And it must be noted that the filmmaker here did an excellent job of putting the clips together in the right way.
The clips resemble the associations connected to memory and that is not an easy thing to do.
This project is a labor of love. I do not know if it will clean up in the dvd market but it is well worth buying for any slasher fan.
Ah, yes Sleepaway Camp. As a teen I’d pour over nearly every title in the horror section looking for another good scare and a helping of gratuitous nudity. And then I got to this film. And THAT ending.
Ye gods! She has a penis! And I’m staring at it!
Certainly scarred for life, as is obvious.
Sleepaway Camp is amazing. The most foul mouthed kid in the history of horror, best use of a fake moustache in the history of western civilization and a genuinely creepy twist at the end, as epitomized by that immortal frame, that actually makes sense. I love that fucking movie.
I haven’t seen the last two but Ms.Springsteen’s sequels, while they had their moments, were big letdowns.
*edited for spelling *
Return to Sleepaway Camp:
all of em except 4 are on youtube as a matter of fact.
Oh my gosh, part 4 has been released!! What!!!!!!
@ Hellshocked: The best fake mustache indeed. I know a lot of people discuss the end of the original Sleepaway Camp, and I’ll admit, it was quite an ending, but the fake mustache scene is the one I rewound and rewatched about 10 times before even getting to that final scene.
It was released 8 days ago, its on amazon for 17 bucks or so.
Yeah, I checked it out as soon as I read this thread. I have the footage included in the Sleepaway camp survival kit. I think I’ll wait just a bit longer and grab a used copy.
but the fake mustache scene is the one I rewound and rewatched about 10 times before even getting to that final scene
I rewound all the way to the beginning to make sure I wasn’t imagining things and that he did, at one point, carry genuine facial hair.
The story behind that is as hilarious as the scene itself. As I recall from the commentary it turns out that the actor in question shaved his moustache off for an audition and didn’t bother to tell anyone. He simply showed up for work the next day clean-shaven. Since he had already shot scenes in a moustache they had to quickly improvise with what appears to be velcro or electrical tape. The results speak for themselves.
Also, any love for Desiree Gould as Aunt Martha? She is so disturbingly creepy. Her weirdness is part of the reason the ending works so well. She makes the film earn it.
Gould was great, got to look up what happened to her.
Yes, loved her as Aunt Martha. I agree about her character’s help in making that ending work. Can’t recall seeing her in other movies, but she could have made a nice career out of being a horror actress. I can picture her as not just a loony relative, but a great villain and red herring.
She has a facebook where she reaches out to fans
also Sleepaway Camp 4 is on amazon vod for 2 bucks
forgot I owned this!
will rewatch and bump up thread tonight
Please do!! I need to watch it, so it’ll be a good reminder.