Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

I recently ordered this movie from Amazon on the cheap and it arrived a few days ago. Though I had never seen Sleepaway Camp before, I had heard plenty about it.

The movie begins with the a young Peter and Angela enjoying a day at the lake with their dad. A couple of stupid teens from across the lake aren't really paying attention to the motor boat they are driving until...BUMP BUMP...they run over the dad and kids. Out of the three, only Angela survives and is sent to live with her cousin Ricky and wacky Aunt Martha. Eight years later, Aunt Martha sends Angela (Felissa Rose) to Camp Arawak with Ricky, telling him to take care of her sweet angel.

Angela is pretty shy, not speaking for a looooong while in the movie. She's kinda weird, staring far too long at people. Her camp counselor is fed up with her, as she won't socialize with the other girls or eat anything. The head counselor takes her back to the kitchen one day, to ask the head chef to make her something she would like. Well, turns out the head chef is also a child molester and just as he is about to whip it out to Angela, Ricky comes and rescues her. Later that day, the chef is boiling water in a huge 5 foot tall pot. We see someone approach him and knock him into the pot, spilling boiling water all over him. Burns bubble up on the chef's face as he screams and screams. He is still screaming when he is carted off by the ambulance. The camp owner, Mel, wants to keep things quiet and doesn't want the campers to know there's been an accident.

Angela is still pretty silent, and she gets teased endlessly by Judy, the camp ho-bag. Ricky is the only one who protects her, until Angela is befriended by his friend Paul. When Paul first speaks to her, Angela speaks for the first time. After that, they begin a bit of a romantic relationship (as much of a relationship as 13 year olds can have). Angela becomes more talkative to others, but still won't participate in most camp activities, prefering just to watch from the sidelines.

The killings continue, some looking like accidents but others looking like murder. The killer drowns someone, puts a beehive in a bathroom so a boy is stung to death, stabs someone in the back (from their neck all the way down to their lower back), inserts a hot curling iron in a very uncomfortable place, decapitates someone, etc. etc. All the people that die have teased or wronged Angela in some way.

Is Angela the killer, getting her revenge? Is Ricky going so far as to kill people to protect his cousin? Did Aunt Martha snap? Is someone else doing the killing?

Well, I had heard so much about this movie that of course I knew who the killer was. Yet, the way the killer is revealed is still pretty shocking and disturbing. The rest of the film was pretty fun. It reminded me of Meatballs with a slasher twist. Many people complain that the film is too similar to Friday the 13th, but I disagree. The settings are the same, but the tone is very different. Sleepaway Camp deals with young kids who are 13 or so years old, which makes it a helluva lot more disturbing.

Don't let the Friday the 13th rip-off claims deter you from watching this movie. It actually takes the time to flesh out some of the characters and takes us back to idyllic summer days. Of course, neither you nor I probably had to deal with a pissed off psycho killer at camp...

Order it on Amazon!

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