Saturday, July 21, 2012

You won't be coming home: Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Sleepaway Camp (1983) (AKA Nightmare Vacation)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring:  Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten and Karen Fields

the thousand yard stare...
A day at the lake changed it all; fathers John and Lenny were enjoying a leisurely boat ride with their children until they got in the way of a waterskiing group of youngsters, whose motorboat accidentally rammed through the family, killing Angela's father and brother.

 Eight years passed, Angela has grown up to her early teens and is living with her Aunt Martha and her cousin Ricky. Stricken mute and awfully shy, Angela is sent to Camp Arawak to enjoy a holiday with her cousin but only to face unpleasant characters including an obnoxious owner, a chef with a pedophilic fetish, and Ricky’s snobbish ex-girlfriend from the previous summer. Because of her awkward behavior, Angela is instantly picked on as a freak by both her peers and some of the counselors, only finding comfort from Ricky and his friend Paul.

You and me, Me and you, together.
Just as it seems they're about to go through one hell of a Summer, the camp is suddenly rocked by a series of bizarre accidents and murders that left many campers and counselors dead. And it all appears to be linking up to Angela. Could there be someone killing for her?

I see a hot iron curler in your future, bitches...
There's no denying that Sleepaway Camp is generally routine; the backwoods premise, the two-dimensional characters, the methodical murders, some even considers this film as one of the many rip-off of Friday the 13th, (which is bull, honestly) but whether it is one or not, it does very well for itself by mixing the cliches with a coming of age teen drama of sorts.

Doomsayers always bites it good.
Sleepaway Camp is really grim; Looking past the hammy acting and the nostalgic summer camp fun, lies a disturbing and very sad plot that finally reveals itself at the near end. Throughout all of this mayhem, Angela tries to find love and hope for her broken life by coming out of her shell, but with all those snobs and brats going around picking on her because she is different, was there really hope for her? Somebody seems to think so and those people responsible for making this Summer hell for her, or just got in the way, will start to drop like flies, leading to a revelation that came out of nowhere, a twist no horror fan can ever forget.

The movie boasts some great murders; a foul drowning with an equally unsettling aftermath, death by bee stings, a back evisceration, and one very nasty iron curler shoved down a broad's lady hole. Make those victims deserving of their fate and you have a sick yet fun ride, but add a few innocents campers in them, then you got yourself a shocker! Considerably, this is perhaps the one backwoods slasher to have more campers being killed instead of the counselors, adding a bit of notoriety to this B-Flick's reputation as these kid victims are getting younger by the minute.

Half in half, Sleepaway Camp can still be considered to be a cheese fest that deserves its popularity. It's a shock and shlock that goes side by side, and perhaps one of the better early 80s releases made before the sub-genre went downhill half a decade later...

1 male and 1 child ran over by speedboat
1 male pulled down into the lake, drowned
1 male stung to death by bees
1 female back sliced with knife
1 female smothered with pillow, hot curling iron shoved into her groin
4 boys hacked to death with hatchet
1 male gets an arrow shot through his neck
1 male decapitated
Total: 12
Just the girl we're looking for?


  1. Great review of an Awesome movie! I rented this movie from the store so many times they just ended up giving me their copy.

    11 people died in this though? Weird, I also remember it as less, probably cause I really only liked the especially creative kills.

    1. Yeah, the kid hatchet massacre was very quick and you have to be real good to count them dead boys. But yeah, it's around eleven dead shlocks, mate.

  2. I prefer the two Springsteen sequels; there's just something about this one - and Return to SC - that doesn't gel. But I still like it, if not purely for the fabulousness of Angela.

    1. to be frank, I really like-no, love Unhappy Campers! In fact, Springsteen was featured in my own variation of "good looking" slashers that I could date for Valentine!


      I love her and the movie that much!