Tuesday, October 21, 2008


On the twenty-first day of Halloween, my boo love gave to me ... twenty-one bloodstained 70s tube socks!


A Wonderland Ranch full of short-shorted prepubescent boys, lots of irritating New York accents, 38-year-old teenagers, the worst fake mustache in cinema history, and the creepiest ABC After School Special since “Why Johnny Doesn't Wash”.

More details here.


It's the 80s and everyone's hair is enormous. Case in point, little Angela and her brother who are enjoying a day on the lake with Dad. A couple of overzealous teens out horsing around in a speedboat accidentally run over and kill Dad and little bro. Screams! Blood! Death! Hairspray! Years later, Angela is a teenager living with her aunt and cousin Ricky. The teens are off to Camp Arawak for the summer to engage in wacky teen adventures with Bill Murray nowhere in sight. Angela is a shy, quiet, and mute nerd who's obviously been traumatized by the loss of her family. Brawny Ricky is her sworn protector and defender against the teasing of the other large-haired and snooty summer campers, including sexually active prima donna/deformed elf Judy. The kids frolic, play baseball, and engage in kooky summer camp hijinks of all kinds in bucolic splendor. Angela remains distant, talks to no one, and just stares at the hormone-induced wonders. One day, she's cornered by a lecherous camp cook who attempts to molest her until she's rescued by Ricky. Later, a mysterious figure dumps a vat of boiling water on the chef, sending him to the cooling rack. Still later, Ricky introduces her to his friend Mike and Angela begins to break out of her shell, but she's still bullied and ridiculed by Judy and the other kids in the camp. The mysterious killer returns to wreak vengeance upon Angela's tormentors while the camp owner refuses to do anything for fear of bad publicity. As the body count rises, the counselors do nothing, Angela confronts her troubled past and emerging sexual urges, and the truth behind the identity of the killer is guaranteed to blow your volleyball-playing mind.


Looking back at a childhood and teenage life dominated by spooky VHS fare, I don't know how the Hell I missed Sleepaway Camp. Ah let's face it, I don't know where this film has been hiding my entire life. The movie has a relatively strong cult following with several sequels including a 2008 release featuring the child stars of the original. Let me first state that it's not very good, is inadvertently hilarious most of the time, and feels like another Friday the 13th imitator. But the movie is distinguished from its contemporaries by a virulent psychosexual subtext and one Hell of a great ending. And you know what they say, good movies with bad endings are mostly forgotten, but you never forget an ordinary movie with a great ending. Sleepaway Camp is an average slasher, albeit with pretty good effects for the time, and displays the themes of teen angst and twisted sexuality with blood-drenched pride, yet simultaneously wallowing in fun-bad movie incompetence. The acting is atrocious, with the possible exception of Felissa Rose who plays Angela with an appropriately detached and emotionless creepiness. The rest of the cast is not particularly memorable save for a few muscle-bound doofs in tighty whities, bitchy 80s chicks with a low tolerance for the handicapped, and the most offensive pedophile chef since the Frugal Gourmet. But I guess it's all in good fun. Without going into too much detail, the real reason to watch is movie is the twist ending and along with the entertainingly low-budget production values, uncomfortable psychological issues, and cheeseball acting, Sleepaway Camp earns a solid recommendation.

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