Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beware The Clowns: The Camp Blood Trilogy Review

Camp Blood (1999)
Rating: **
Starring:  Jennifer Ritchkoff, Michael Taylor, Tim Young

No, we are not gonna talk about Camp Crystal Lake's nickname here. Instead, We're gonna look into another killer-in-the-woods type with a low budget, bad acting and a murderer with a suit that really stands out in a backwoods slasher. Seriously, why the heck is he wearing a clown mask? That ain't outdoors-esque!

Well, whatever the gimmick this maniac have in mind, it sure works quite well as a campfire tale for four campers and their butch lesbian guide out on a camping trip, and too to a doomsayer they met along the way who claims that legend is real. Right, we've been down this road for a couple of times so it's no shock that one of their friends was found cooked on the bonfire the next morning. How nobody noticed the smell of burnt meat is beyond me but no sooner after they decided to run into the woods for dear life, the infamous clown arrives to make butcheries out of them.

Camp Blood could work as a cheesy fondue of everything you know about slashers (mostly backwoods like the obvious inspiration Friday the 13th) without making much of an effort. The acting is horrible for everybody and the camerawork is amateur at its near fullest, this title might come off as insulting for many (and I completely understand them) but the pros would be the even pacing and the nostalgia-inducing low quality might do good for the right type of viewer as a mean of  "so-bad-it's effin-hilarious" charm.

Though I'm no fan of the film, I do come to appreciate the movie's attempts to be a simple and fun slasher which very existence is to entertain the trashy folks. Obviously not for just anyone so watch at your own risk!

1 male ran through the chest with a machete
1 female hacked to death with a machete
1 male beheaded with a machete
1 male slaughtered with a machete offscreen
1 male had his shoulder chopped with a machete (flashback)
1 female slashed with a machete (flashback)
1 male hacked on the head with a machete
1 female stabbed on the gut with a hunting knife
1 male had his neck broken
1 male hacked to death with a machete
1 female ran over by a car
Total: 11

Camp Blood 2 (2000)
Rating: **
Starring: Jennifer Ritchkoff, Garrett Clancy, Missy Rae Hansen

Following up the unfortunate events of the previous installment, fate of our lone survivor now hangs on her in retracing everything that happened in the massacre that took place prior so she can prove herself completely sane and wasn't responsible for the death of nine victims. All the while, she shares these events with a low-budget director who's planning to do a movie based on the killings and finds a gimmick on using the possible murder suspect as a guide of sorts to make sure this film is as accurate as possible. What they didn't expect is that the clown, or someone donning as the clown have returned to do more killings, targeting staffs and actors alike.

No means any better but I do saw some improvements; for starters, the story has a nice touch of complexity, straying a bit away from the bare-bone "kids go to the wood then die" set-up to create at least some depth and situation for some of its characters. Of course, this being a cheap direct-to-video concoction, the rest of the cast are one-dimensional and are simply there for meat, and the plot is tainted with enough hamminess and holes to start someone's boiling point.

Still, I could give further points up from the fact that this sequel feels like a parody of low-budget production, stabbing at the cliches, troubles and joys of making a home-made horror film. It's this take on the plot that got me following, but not entirely enjoying, this franchise, hoping to see further improvements in each film.

Gore-wise, Camp Blood 2 didn't shy away from the machete kills and it is bloodier in comparison. The killer still dons the cheap black gear and mask combo, but though the clown mold is noticeably different. (Not that it matters anyway) Apart from these pros, there's nothing else to say for the rest except that it's pretty much your average garden-grown SOV horror.

Still lacking any real sense of dread but fluidly paced, Camp Blood 2 is a sequel nobody asked for but exists anyway to satisfy whatever number of fans the first gathered with it's cheapness and cheesy production. Again, not for everyone but if you're willing to waste a good hour and minutes to watch a horror movie set being terrorized by a wanker in a clown mask, be my guest!

1 female found with throat cut
1 male ran through the chest with a machete
1 female knifed to death
1 male hacked to death with a machete
1 male hacked to death with a machete
1 female ran through the head with a machete
1 male gets a machete to the head
1 male gets his throat cut with a machete
1 male hacked on the back with a machete, stabbed on the eye with a broken bottle
1 female hacked to death with a machete
Total: 10

Within the Woods (2005)
Rating: **
Starring: Athena Demos, Alex Gordon, Janelle Herrera

More of a retelling of the first with a new set of characters and with a much more fluid modern look, Within The Woods follows a reality show producer who plans to use the legend of the Camp Blood Clown as motif. And as of his cue was called in, the Clown, or someone donning the clown, pops up to do bodily dismemberment to each and everyone involved in the set. The thing about this is that it took quite a bit before the clown shows up to butcher the contestants (a few deadly casualties did got in the way for an added kill count) and we did have yet again some feeble attempts to deepen this entry's line of meat as well as re-tell the story of the Camp Blood Clown (and the events of the two prior entries for the unfamiliar ones) over a camp fire. Once these kids woke up for the next morning, they discover some of their friends are missing and/or dead, and soon we repeat the run-stalk-kill last third of the first movie with a familiar twist.

So it's nothing more but the same old stuff, Within The woods' only improvement is that it looks a little better, there were some plot direction and some better talent. It's still bad but watchable as a campy slasher that, like the first, was made to entertain the simple folks with a standard horror story, some awfully big plot holes and really cheap kills.

Not much else to say, Within The Woods is quite forgettable but a fair swing nevertheless. See it if you want but you're not gonna lose much either if you skip this.

1 male has his throat cut with a machete
1 female hacked with a machete
1 female slashed with a machete
1 male pushed to an upright branch, impaled through the head
1 female murdered, later found with throat cut (story)
1 male slashed with a machete (story)
1 male stabbed to death with a buck knife
1 female seen dead at the foot of a cliff (?)
1 male gets a thrown machete through the gut
1 female slashed with a machete
1 female electrocuted via current
Total: 11 (?)



    Still wonder what was up with that old dude, and his relationship with the killer.

    Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure they just made a fourth one with a different director/writer.

    1. well, he's dead so we will never know. Got a feeling it wouldn't matter, though...

      Yes, there is a fourth one made by the surviving Polonia Brother, featuring not a clown but *gasp* some guy in an army fatigue and halloween mask!

  2. Is that what the picture quality is really like on that first movie? My goodness, that's ugly!