Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp is one of the most BONKERS horror films ever made. It grossed something like 11 million dollars and cost about 300k to make. It knocked Jaws 3D out of the number one spot. Why? How? Because it does everything right. Everything.

Angela and her cousin Ricky are off to camp. Poor Angela survives a horrible boating accident in which her father and brother are killed and goes off to live with her aunt. The aunt decides that it's time for Angela to get out and about, so she sends her off to camp with her cousin. Cousin Ricky watches over her and is her protector in the somewhat rough camp setting. Angela doesn't speak much. She simply stares with large, doe eyes and takes in the world around her. Kids can be cruel. So cruel.

We see a "trope-a-torium" of characters roll through. Jocks, nerds, mean girls and more. The counselors are a mixture of lovely people and horrid people. The camp owner runs a tight ship and smokes a lot of cigars. And the kids at the camp are a strange and creepy mix of real kids ages 10ish to 17 and adults - age about 20 to 26 -  playing kids. They interact and run a muck in the camp and no one mentions much about it. They just play it all off like it's not frucking crazy to see real kids and fake kids together on screen. This adds to the overall "Wait....what the HELL is going on here?!" nature of the film as a whole.

But, the real question here is who is killing all the bad kids at the camp? Who? Angela? Cousin Ricky? Big, Italian Muscle Guy? Mean Girl Judy? Evil Meg?

This film is a must - absolute MUST - see. The dialog stumbles out onto the screen awkwardly and insanely at times. The film was written and directed by Robert Hiltzik who only did this film and Return to Sleepaway Camp which is almost just as good as this film. His direction is...interesting. The folks over at the ever awesome HOW DID THIS GET MADE? podcast stated that this film looked like kids at camp had access to cameras and decided to make a movie while at camp. (A great and equally crazy episode of their podcast, by the way) There are amazing 80s styles to take in, strange scene setups and some of the most awesome kill scenes ever shot. :::laughing:::

"Kids" play with water balloons on the roof of a cabin. Why is this allowed? Dunno, but it's awesome.

We see a a baseball game - almost a WHOLE baseball game - played. Why? Dunno, but it's awesome. Especially seeing that it looks like young kids are beating adults at baseball.

But, all this is secondary to the time and effort spent on these death scenes. Death by boiling water, by bees and by curling iron and...much much more. And there are some really, really disturbing sexual situations in this film. Like, all over the place. A pedophile camp cook leers at the kids and talks about the new crop of them coming in - like there is a whole history of wrong that's happened before. Kids let loose all over the place talking about sex ALL the time. Even the camps 60 plus year old leader who sets up a date with one of the teen camp counselors. It's creepy. Having been to a co-ed camp myself, I can honestly say that all of this probably did and does happen at camp. It's crazy to release teen boys and girls into the woods with 20-somethings watching over them. It's crazy in and of itself.

If you're looking for the ultimate party horror movie, this is it. It's so over the top and so nutty that it's bound to be a crowd pleaser. And, if the crowd happens to have lived through the 80s, it's even better. It never gets old.

They have the whole film up on YouTube. Take a look!

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