Okay, let’s say it’s the year 2008, you are a horror fan, and the one thing that would really hit the spot for you in the near future would be a low budget FRIDAY THE 13TH (part 1) rip-off with a unique brand of in-your-face FUCK YOU AND YOUR MOTHER New York attitude. But not SLEEPAWAY CAMP, you already saw that one. Well then November 4th is your lucky day, dickwad, because that’s when original SLEEPAWAY CAMP director Robert Hiltzik returns to Sleepaway Camp with his sophomore directorial effort, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP.
During the cheesy credits sequence (which I thought was a menu animation at first) your mind may slip away to imagine all the modern ways a new SLEEPAWAY CAMP could suck. You can easily picture the bland twentysomething soap opera actors going through the usual DTV horror motions. But you’ll know this is a better kind of suck as soon as you hear the first few lines of dialogue:
“What are you dicks laughin’ at?”
“You makin’ fun of me?”
“No Alan. We were just lightin’ farts.”
Moments later Alan (Michael Gibney, not eligible for Oscar because this didn’t get a theatrical release) is disappointed with the fart lighting and threatens the other kids with a hairspray torch, but is stopped by a counselor (some guy who was apparently in Pirates of the Caribbean). Instead of punishing him the counselor complains that that Alan kid is a jerk and is gonna get his some day. The kids are played by actual kids, not your usual college grads, and the counselor looks at least late 30s, but his powerlessness over this Alan made me wonder if he was also supposed to be a kid. This whole movie is about camp kids swearing and attacking each other and counselors not knowing what to do except occasionally swear back at them.
I’m not a liar, so I won’t tell you this movie is scary or, you know, good. And I will mention that it looks cheap and repeatedly fades out from scenes as if going to a commercial. But it is the most remarkable slasher movie I’ve seen in a long time. That’s why I’m remarking about it right now. Seriously, I enjoyed the hell out of this one and I know some of you will too.
I didn’t like recent internet-popular slashers like HATCHET or especially fuckin BEHIND THE MASK. Nice try but they didn’t capture or seem to understand the things I like about the old ’70s and ’80s slasher movies they were paying tribute to. RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP doesn’t have to capture or understand shit, it just has to BE. I get the feeling Hiltzik didn’t have to think about it, he just made the only movie he knew how to make. He didn’t even fall into that trap of trying to modernize it. I don’t remember seeing any cell phones, iPods or computers. The only way you can tell it’s not the ’80s is the clothes, which if I had to guess I would peg somewhere in the ’90s. And I think there’s a reference to the song “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys.
(By the way the movie was filmed in 2003 and has been held up while they finish the CGI, which is weird because I didn’t notice much CGI.)
Anyway my point is that this movie is not retro. It’s an actual early ’80s slasher movie that just happened to be made a couple decades late.
I haven’t seen SLEEPAWAY CAMP in a while, and like anybody the main thing I remember is that last shot, the O.G. Crying Game, the wang of a thousand nightmares. There’s no way to match that in a sequel because even if they managed to come up with something that shocking and bizarre we’d be looking for it. It wouldn’t be the same. But the filmatists did come up with a funny way to bring back Felissa Rose as Angela. I won’t give it away but it’s better than I expected.
The other thing I remember about part 1 is a dude being horribly done in by a beehive on a stick while “taking a wicked dump.” This sequel definitely captures both sides of that – the juvenile crudeness and the mystifyingly ludicrous kills.
The #1 way this movie excels is in the creation of Alan, a character so hilariously unappealing he makes Shelly from FRIDAY THE 13TH 3-D look like Cary Grant. Alan is bigger than the other kids and likes to bully them, but the second they fight back he starts crying and saying everybody picks on him. Then he usually throws something and runs away yelling “Your ass smells!” (his catch phrase). He smells like rotten eggs because a guy threw eggs at him in one part and he never changes his shirt. Eventually he looks like he’s wearing a tie-dye, but it’s really just a record of all the things that have been thrown and shot at him. I’m not clear if he’s supposed to be retarded or pretending to be retarded for sympathy, but he says he’s “different” due to having had rheumatic fever once. Also his step-brother makes fun of him for being covered in frogs:
“Still dickin’ around with the frogs?”
“THEY’RE MY FRIENDS!”
It’s kind of like that Michael J. Fox tv movie about summer camp if everybody was constantly giving each other titty twisters and wedgies, grabbing each other’s balls, pulling and biting each other’s hair, mooning each other, flipping each other off, tricking each other into smoking cow shit, talking in sarcastic voices and calling each other fuck face. Here is an alphabetical list of some of the names they call each other in this movie:
assface, asshole, asswipe, big baby, big lesbo, big penis, big pussy, blowjob, dick, dickhead, dickwad, douche, douchebag, fat boy, fat fuckin liar, fat pig, fatty, fatty fat fats, fuck, fuckin dick, fuckin spazz, goddamn idiot, little ass-eater, little prick, penis lips, pussy, putz, retard, skank, stupid dick, tight ass motherfucker, tool, ugly whore, wanker
(note: whenever one of these words is said, all the other kids laugh)
While we’re at it here are a few representative lines of dialogue:
“You’re hurting my fuckin’ pecker!”
“WELL THAT’S TOUGH SHIT, AIN’T IT? Now hurry up, I’m busy. And stay the fuck outta my freezer, I’ll cut yer tiny little balls off!”
“God damn you! You’re all monsters!”
“You corrupted my bird Matilda!”
So the movie’s mostly about foul-mouthed kids being cruel to each other, their counselors standing around not doing anything about it, and then a masked and gloved male and/or female individual starts murdering people who pick on Alan. The effects aren’t real impressive, but the deaths are your usual gimmicky torment familiar to campers – cook goes headfirst into hot grease, guy gets dick pulled off by fishing line tied to Jeep, etc. The late Isaac Hayes works in the kitchen and then they never mention him again – not sure if that means they cut out a death scene or not. Vincent Pastore of the Sopranos, who runs the camp, gets arguably the least plausible death. I understand the cage of rats on his head, but I don’t get why the little bastards chewed cubby holes into his chest. I’m sure there are better places to live around camp Manabe. (it’s a different camp, by the way. Same head counselor though, played by Paul Deangelo in a muscle shirt.)
I think the main lesson you can learn from this movie is to never send your kids to camp. Even before a maniac lights your kid on fire you’re wasting your money. Whatever happened to canoeing and making bracelets and shit? This camp is like a 2 week lunch period, they just sit around eating food and thinking of ways to torment each other.
Supposedly Hiltzik is already in production on SLEEPAWAY CAMP REUNION 3-D, so I look forward to hearing more about that one in about 2013. Until then RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys this sort of shit.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/38559
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:06 p.m. CST
by The real Jack Bauer
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:06 p.m. CST
by The real Jack Bauer
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:07 p.m. CST
Flaming blue bananas, gotta eat!!!
by The real Jack Bauer
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:10 p.m. CST
CGI lighted farts! i’d buy that for a dollar..
by The real Jack Bauer
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:12 p.m. CST
When my mother called me big lesbo, nobody laughed.
My mother is a weird guy.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:14 p.m. CST
Been waiting years for this.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:17 p.m. CST
I’ll definitely check this out when it hits.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:19 p.m. CST
this sounds AWESOME Vern
thanks for the write up, I’ve held a special place in my heart for the spectacle of the Sleepaway Camp films.
I recently watched Hatchet for the first time and then went back and read your review and man you were spot on. I mean the movie had some good kills and all, but I thought it tried WAY to hard to be funny and didn’t succeed on the ‘campy’ horror it was supposed to be. And anyone who thinks Crowley would be part of the lexicon of horror icons is sorely mistaken. I mean he’s in the movie so little and he’s pretty lame when he is in it. It was cool when he puked blood into that guys face, but still, not a horror legend.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:22 p.m. CST
Sleepaway Camp 3
When Angela is a ‘inner city’ type cast. and she does this little rap
Riff plays a tape on his boom-box]
Angela: Angels are pretty ;Angels can fly, and here is the angel that’ll make you die! You got no style and, you got no cares all ya do is fight and swear. So say your prayers and make a mends, cause ya life story is about to end.
Riff: [pause] What the fuck?
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:24 p.m. CST
COME ON, MORTY! MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!
by vic twenty
Meatballs: The Killer Cut
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:32 p.m. CST
Verne’s Use of English…
“But it is the most remarkable slasher movie I’ve seen in a long time. That’s why I’m remarking about it right now.”
Vern, your creative use of the English language is, as usual, the highlight of AintitCool. As an English professor, I salute you.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:35 p.m. CST
I thought they were re-making Sleepaway Camp?
by The Dum Guy
But, this sounds more entertaining.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:38 p.m. CST
Can anyone explain the first part of Sleepaway Camp to me…
by The Dum Guy
The DVD I watched it on was scratched, I know there is a boating accident (This was no boating accident!) and some guy dies. Then it flashes forward in time to a couple kids leaving for camp. What I don’t know, is who that crazy lady is at the begining, was she the she-hes Mom or Aunt… and why’d the chick have a dick?
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:44 p.m. CST
“Listen, you don’t have AIDS or anything, do you? ”
Sleepaway Camp 2 is pure genius..
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:46 p.m. CST
Prefer The Shitter Death In SC 2
But murder in or around a toilet is typically top notch.
I’m concerned that there’s no way this movie can match the entertainment value of Vern’s review.
Sept. 30, 2008, 5:56 p.m. CST
Never seen a SLEEPAWAY CAMP picture…
…but this review had me laughing like no one’s business. And I mean nobody’s fucking business. It’s none of your goddamn business.
I’ll have to check this one out.
Sept. 30, 2008, 6:05 p.m. CST
Isn’t this the one with the chicks-with-dicks ending?
by Uncle Stan
Sept. 30, 2008, 6:16 p.m. CST
mrbeaks, I concur
ahh. thank you Youtube
Sept. 30, 2008, 6:42 p.m. CST
Sleepaway Camp FTW!
The original is genius. I know that word gets thrown around, but you tell me how a movie made so cheaply, with mostly non-actors, horrible performances and a script clearly wanting to be Friday the 13th can be so creepy and entertaining? Genius, that’s how.
I’ve been dying to see Hiltzik’s follow-up since he finished it, like, 3 years ago and this review makes me so happy.
Dum Guy, the first movie opens with a family going to visit relatives (an Aunt). Stupid teenagers run into their boat while on vacation, killing their father and one of the two kids, but we don’t know which one. We assume it’s the boy because we meet Angela, the surviving kid, but we come to find out some fucked up things in flashbacks leading to one of the best fucking endings in any horror movie or any movie period.
Sept. 30, 2008, 6:57 p.m. CST
Wang of a Thousand Nightmares!
by Super Rabbi
Sept. 30, 2008, 7:24 p.m. CST
Oh god. Too cool.
Sleepaway Camp was one of the first movies I remember watching on video. We almost turned it off repeatedly, as it was so crappy, it was almost unwatchable. We eventually meandered through it in a half hearted sort of way, and then that last shot popped up and chomped our wangs off. We immediately watched the entire thing at least three more times, each time laughing harder and longer than the last. Hats off to Sleepaway Camp. Never thought I’d get the chance to say that in a forum where anyone that it mattered to would possibly read it. Great shit, really.
Sept. 30, 2008, 7:29 p.m. CST
Slashers didn’t ruin horror, laziness did.
Sept. 30, 2008, 7:33 p.m. CST
Quint, Vern, mrbeaks
Still no news on Michael A. Simpson’s proposed sequel to parts 2 & 3?
Sept. 30, 2008, 7:54 p.m. CST
Alien was a slasher, as was Psycho.
Cleverness doesn’t change a film’s genre.
Sept. 30, 2008, 8:52 p.m. CST
Slashers did NOT ruin horror
Slashers didn’t come anywhere close to ruining horror. By that rationale you could say that ‘nature runs amok’ films ruined horror in the 50s. It was simply a trend that ran its course. By and large 80s slashers are relatively enjoyable. At least compared to the remake trend of today. Now that’s pretty damn close to killing horror. Also, Alien is certainly NOT a slasher movie. Not in any respect.
Sept. 30, 2008, 9:12 p.m. CST
I know about the ending because it’s famous and all but I’ve never actually seen any of the movies in this series. My question is: Camp Manaba. That’s supposed to be “Be a man” backwards, right?
Sept. 30, 2008, 9:57 p.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
I watched Sleepaway not too long ago and couldn’t, for the life of me, get the first 20 minutes to play. I’m still not sure about the brunette lady at the start, when they are leaving to go to the camp. Was that the Aunt?
Sept. 30, 2008, 9:59 p.m. CST
“Whatever happened to canoeing and making bracelets and shit?”
by rhett beavers
Well said Vern, Well said.
Sept. 30, 2008, 10:24 p.m. CST
Yes, that was the aunt.
Sept. 30, 2008, 11:27 p.m. CST
I love the insane Sleepaway Camp movies, I’m all over this.
Sept. 30, 2008, 11:39 p.m. CST
The best review in the history of time and space.
by The Real McClane
Damn Vern, you get the job done, son. You get the job done.
Sept. 30, 2008, 11:42 p.m. CST
Fond memories of Sleepaway Camp
1. Each time I remember the Crying Game scene I piss myself a little bit more than the last.
2. It was filmed 10 minutes from my childhood home.
That is all. Carry on, my wayward sons.
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:16 a.m. CST
Sleepaway Camp Returns: The Wang of a Thousand Nightmares
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:27 a.m. CST
Sleepaway Camp 2,nice boobs on that blonde
banging that guy in the woods…she was soooo slutty and sexy…THAT IS ALL!
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:28 a.m. CST
oh yeah the 1st and 2nd dude is…..
A HUGE, FLAMING DOUCHE BAG!!!!!
Oct. 1, 2008, 1:19 a.m. CST
They finally finished it!
by Charlie & Tex
We’ve been following the progress of this one on fansites, and it looked as though it was dead in the water for a long time. Let’s be honest – they were waiting for financing to come though when the bottom dropped out. If only some big studio had come to the rescue earlier and saw the potential of a full-on, “retro” (hate that fucking term) slasher movie, and it could have been finished with a little more care to not have such obvious fade-outs, like an ABC TV version of Superman, Ghostbusters or something.
Now how about giving us the 20 mins (or so) of the last Sleepaway Camp movie which ran out of money on the DVD as an extra?
Oct. 1, 2008, 1:20 a.m. CST
Vern, will it ever play in IMAX?!!!!!!!
by Bob Cryptonight
Oh, God, I’m hopin’…
Oct. 1, 2008, 2:10 a.m. CST
Dino will love that shit.
Oct. 1, 2008, 4:06 a.m. CST
…Black Christmas was the first slasher, douche. you seriously need to get your facts straight if you’re gonna bitch about movies, especially here! some nerd’ll be on you quicker than a wampa with an appetite :-)
Oct. 1, 2008, 4:08 a.m. CST
oh yeah, and…
…can’t wait for this movie. even better though would be a sleepaway camp/wet hot american summer crossover movie! heaven :-)
Oct. 1, 2008, 5:38 a.m. CST
by Lost Jarv
Alien is not a slasher. Fuck’s sake.
Oct. 1, 2008, 6:54 a.m. CST
it’s raining like hell here…
by just pillow talk
I’m tired as fuck, but Vern, that review was top fucking notch.
Oct. 1, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST
I’m all over this!
by Spandau Belly
Oct. 1, 2008, 8:27 a.m. CST
On this business of Alien as a slasher
The two definitely share some elements. However, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is chock-full of tears and hugs, but the restockers aren’t putting the box back in the Drama section at Blockbuster.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:30 a.m. CST
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:59 p.m. CST
Haven’t you ever seen a pair of boobs before?
by Stuntcock Mike
Oct. 1, 2008, 1:07 p.m. CST
Wasn’t Bruce Springsteen’s sis in a sequel?
The original is one of my favorite 80’s slashers because most of it is a complete goof, until that ending that just freaked me out.
Oct. 1, 2008, 3:19 p.m. CST
Charlie & Tex
by Bouncy X
if i’m correct, they did put the footage from that unfinished sequel out, it was part of that trilogy box set that came with a 4th bonus disc. it looked like a camp med kit.
Oct. 1, 2008, 5:52 p.m. CST
Original DVD Commentary
I listened to the whole thing, yes. It was before i got married and what the hell else was I going to do? The director was a bit of a dick. He openly mocked the (present) grown actress who’d played Angela and admitted to hitting on her mom at the time of shooting. He was a little like a less-famous Krusty the Clown, real cranky and entitled. So, yeah, it was great. I love commentaries on old-ass movies, where a guy can just come out and say, “sure, that actor was a real asshole.”
Oct. 2, 2008, 1:24 a.m. CST
by Charlie & Tex
They sure did put the extra footage in a set, but not everywhere got the stuff. We had a review copy of the UK one, and it wasn’t in there. Thanks for that, Mr B.
Oct. 4, 2008, 4:11 p.m. CST
I watched the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP not too long ago
by The Amazing G
it was fucking hilarious
Oct. 13, 2008, 3:01 a.m. CST
NO NAKED ANGELA…THAT TICKS MY HIDE.
The most legendary ending to a slasher film EVER.Yes better then mommy Vorhees and the official sequel with the original cast doesn’t even show THE MONEY SHOT.
On the bright side that Felissa Rose turned out to be quite the Jersey Trash babe.
Oct. 13, 2008, 5:39 a.m. CST
My personal feelings
by JERRY HORROR
I have no beef with sequels, remakes, retcons, reboots and spin-offs.
However, Sleepaway Camp is a pure cheesy, first class piece of exploitive trash. I hold it near and dear to my heart. Believe it or not, Felissa Rose is a cousin of mine by marriage. And yes she has a vagina, but a suspiciously large clitoris. Just kidding. Seriously she is my cousin and it weirds me out til’ this day.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.