Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp Directed By Robert Hiltzik, Starring Felissa Rose (1983).

  If you enjoy gratuitous male nudity, tube socks and Italian trash then hang onto your botched genital surgery because this one is worth revisiting! The first time I saw this was on VHS in middle school during an all-nighter at a friend's house. We stayed up till dawn watching every other Friday The 13th sequel, followed by Return of the Living Dead, Fright Night and even Revenge of the Nerds while drinking a two liter bottle of Coke (I hadn't discovered the magical effects of coffee yet)! This was also the very first time, I had seen any of these films. 
   The version I'm reviewing is the recently released uncut Shout Factory DVD/ Blu-Ray, they always do an excellent job with new artwork and special features. It starts off with Angela and her brother witnessing their father's off screen death by a couple of dopey teens, who sliced him in half during a water skiing accident.

Don't worry I'm a Lifeguard 

   You'd think after that event Angela or her brother would develop into psychotic maniacs and seek revenge by hunting down teens over at the Arawak Camp, but you'd only be scratching the surface in this gender confusing slasher cheapie from 1983. 
   Sleepaway Camp holds up amazingly well, especially in the unintentionally homo-erotic dept. and personally it reminded me of a lot of the freaks and weirdoes that went to my elementary school in Long Island NY where I grew up. There's alot of fun facts over at

Tube socks and ball huggers are the shit!

   There are so many hairy dudes in short shorts and half shirts with tube socks pulled up to their knee caps, I seriously lost count and squirted soda out of my nasal cavity from laughing so hard (and I wasn't even drinking a carbonated beverage this time).

OK Aunt Martha there's Peanut Butter smeared on a playing card, where's my real lunch?

   You won't believe the over the top performance Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould) delivers, she's part amusement park tour guide and part resident of Mortville in garish make-up. Later on everything begins to unravel as we figure out, why she's such a space cadet!

toss a ball at my mouth and win a prize!

   ((Spoiler Alert!)) It has something to do with homosexuality and raising your male child as a girl! I like how they illustrate the transgendered decent into madness by showing the children on a revolving bed.
   Does anyone really give a fuck about spoilers anymore, I mean this ending has already been revealed and the movie came out in 83, even a bloody hermit would be hard pressed to avoid that shocker! The ending is the most alarming aspect and was basically the only thing I recalled about it from my original viewing after all these years.

   The best slasher films in my opinion all have sexually ambiguous and demented protagonists like Terror Train, Night School and for the sake of including Giallos let's throw in Dario Argento's Four Flies On Grey Velvet, Phenomena and Deep Red. 

A young Kevin James looks in the field for the bottom half of his shirt

   Felissa Rose and most of the cast are still pretty wet behind the ears, they all look like real middle school/ elementary pre-teens. Rose has this catatonic stare that comes off as petrified and amusing at the same time. Her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and his pals play the gayest pranks imaginable on each other, one unsuspecting victim's face gets buried in male butt cheeks!

   There's a pedophile cook named Artie (Owen Hughes) who licks his greasy lips as soon as he sees the tikes running across the field in their "balls in a vice" shorts. He gets a well deserved boiling water bath after nearly raping Angela, then climbing toward a large pot surrounded by unexplainable mounds of corn about to be tossed in for lunch.

Can somebody get me some lemon and drawn butter for my face?

   A cigar chomping senior citizen played by Mike Kellin (Just Before Dawn, Midnight Express) suspects that he knows who's responsible for the random murders that begin to accumulate. Later on he unleashes senior citizen fury on Angela's cousin out in the woods with his sinewy arms. 
Angela comes off like a shy girl that just needs a friend she can trust and she sort of finds it with Paul, played by Christopher Collet from First Born and The Manhattan Project. Their relationship is kind of sweet in a way, that is until the big ending!

Any of you kids got a light, so's I can roast this bone?

   Seeing kids creatively swear at each other is pretty hilarious and it seems like Hiltzik the director let the expletives fly, I bet they got a lot of rage out of their system. For an early 80's slasher there is a major lack in shower scenes, this makes sense to me since most of these girls look about 11-15 and they probably would've slapped the cuffs on the director for kiddie porn. Ed French, who I fondly remember as the make-up creature creator from Geek Maggot Bingo, Tales from the Darkside and C.H.U.D. handles the effects which, besides the explosive ending are pretty bloodless. Most of the kills are done off screen and that famous ending revealing Angela naked's body and her tiny protruding dong, looks like a bipedal hominid with lockjaw! It was the kind of ending that freaked me out so bad as a youngster that I couldn't even look at the TV! Now however, as a drunk adult watching this climactic event, I almost threw up from laughing so hard. We both made that hissing sound in unison, only I was gasping for air from hits of silent guffawing!

Seriously folks, Apes with lockjaw are a major epidemic

   Make sure you plant yourself down for the genius credit song by Frank Vinci!! It sounds like a rejected track by Rick Wakeman for The Burning with a Kids Incorporated style tween, squealing overly dramatic lyrics that go "Angie, You're Just What I've Beeeeen Loooooking For"! I can't say enough good things about this movie, lately I've been revisiting films I had only seen once or thought were dull and have been pleasantly surprised by going back and seeing them again. I believe that you should always see a film multiple times because your perspective changes and there's always new things to discover and theories as to what went on. Angela in real life grew up to become very attractive and looks alot like Sarah Silverman.




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