Sleepaway Camp

Horny teens get killed
★★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
1983
Director: 
Robert Hiltzik
Starring: 
Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields, Mike Kellin, Katharine Kamhi
The Setup: 
Someone is killing people at a summer camp.
Discussion: 

This movie has a bit of a reputation, so I had it on my rental list. And, when I couldn't sleep last Saturday night, I watched it from 3-4:30am. Probably not the most ideal conditions to open myself to its charms, but whatever.

At the beginning there's a terrible-and terribly stupid-boating accident that kills or damages or something one of two kids. We're never really sure which one. Or at least I was so tired I couldn't tell. Or I didn't care. Anyway, then we meet these two kids, Ricky and Angela, who are on their way off to camp. Their blatantly crazy Aunt Martha sees them off, and the movie proper gets going.

They arrive at camp, which is populated with horny campers and horny counselors wearing tight, tight clothes and short, short shorts. It's just too bad for me that I'm not really attracted to most people under 30, but if you're into nubile young things of both sexes, this is a good movie for you.

It is so sad that the way people look is so boring nowadays; either falling out all over or buried within clothes four sizes too big. The only person here I kind of liked was one of the counselors, who looked like Erik Estrada and wore cut-offs and a T-shirt cut just below his pecs to showcase his hairy belly. I don't remember most of the characters' names. they're all Jeff and Jim and Meg and Sue. which I guess helps to date the film, because today it would all be Kaitlyn and Payden and Dakota and Floressa. Anyway, this film took me back to my childhood [when people really did dress like that], where it was considered cool and rebellious for a kid to give an adult the finger as they walked away. Ah, simpler times.

Anyway, soon enough the deaths start. I've never been a slasher film fan. I don't know why. Maybe because there's just not that much to them. There's little to no story and very little real suspense, you just watch one person after another get killed. That happens here as well. One guy is doused in boiling water. Another has a hornets next thrown in the john while he's in there [only we don't see any hornets flying around]. Another is stabbed in the shower, Blah blah blah.

I did like the silliness of the teen romances, and special fun was the outrageous bitchiness of two of the female campers [one of them was a counselor, I think, but whatever]. They're just as bitchy as they can possibly be in that absolutely idiotic teen girl way [parodied beautifully by Parker Posey in Dazed and Confused], and the whole thing was very amusing in a sort of John Waters way, especially as you know they're both going to get it in a nasty way. By the way, this film included the second rape-by-hot-curling-iron scene I've witnessed, after Black Shampoo.

Throughout there are clues dropped about the messed up-childhood of the main characters, including them seeing their father in bed with another man at one point. I actually thought these were two counselors, so tired that I didn't understand that it was a flashback. There is a great deal of sexual strangeness going on. It can be amusing to read the message boards for this film at the IMDb and watch people argue whether this film is homophobic or not. As for me, I so could not care. Suffice to say, however, that this film does NOT have an affirming message for today's transgendered community.

It goes on, people run around, people die, the killer is revealed. If you like that sort of thing, go for it.

Should you watch it: 

Eh, it's up to you. I would watch it if you want to see horny early-80s teens in skimpy shorts, or you like slasher movies, even lame ones. A lot of people like this movie for its camp factor as well.