Isaacs Picture Conclusions

THE SLEEPAWAY CAMP QUADRILOGY

in memory of Butch Lytle

 

SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983) TWO TOP HATS

I want to be fair to this movie and the people that made it and the fans – I never saw this thing until just the other day and I didn’t really like it but I am sure I would have if I had seen it thirty years ago when I was a kid. I am sure this would fill me with nostalgia like some of the others I have gone on about here but, since I am almost thirty years too late, I actually found this kind of irritating, kind of like when I watched the original Friday the 13th (again) a couple of years ago when I started doing these. To be fair to myself, I had already seen all of the sequels and done a little reading about them over the years, so I knew what the “big ending” was all about, and, yes, it still surprised the shit out of me. What the fuck with that final shot?? But – what the fuck with that weird growling?? Moment spoiler…! Yeah – I don’t know – the sound and music were hideous, the acting pitiful and the dialogue stunk but this was surprisingly gory and the special effects were kind of gruesome.  Again, I probably would have enjoyed this more if I already had a fondness for it.

Eight years prior to the setting of the majority of the film, a terrible water skiing accident leaves a man and a kid dead. Cut to present: the survivor of the accident, a timid and shy girl named Angela (Felissa Rose) lives with her bizarre aunt (Desiree Gold) and cousin. They are being shipped off to summer camp where Angela will be taunted an harassed by everyone – who somehow end up brutally deceased (drowning, burned with boiling water, a swarm of bees in the bathroom while shitting and {I think} a curling iron up a hoo-haw, to name just a few).  Who’s doing this? We don’t find out until the very last unbelievable shot. I am not using “unbelievable” like I just won 1000 bucks in the lottery – I mean “unbelievable” like – I can’t believe what I just saw.

Along the way to that eye-rubbing ending, we get: flies everywhere, cigar smoking in the kitchen, filthy pedophile cooks,  short-short-short shorts, dudes in half tee-shirts and daisy dukes (nice camel toes guys), striped socks, pot smoking, lots of cussing, guys who are really having a good time skinny dipping by themselves and a flashback revealing that Angela’s father liked to lay in bed with another man caressing him. Why mention that? It has a purpose. There’s two things about this movie that did make me uncomfortable – the end and when Angela’s cousin meets his demise. Did they really just imply that that guy beat him so brutally? Ugh. Oh well, if I remember correctly, there’s better things to come in the sequels.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP 2: UNHAPPY CAMPERS  (1988) THREE TOP HATS

Having seen this before “S.A.C.” and having now rewatched it, I can see why I didn’t care that much for the first one. My inauguration into the Sleepaway Camp stories began here and this was a lot of fun – a movie that really seemed to not take itself too seriously, where the first (to me) wanted to be really serious and the “real fucking deal” (which it was not). Maybe it was also the fact that, in the first, little kids were doing most of the acting work – and – getting killed, where here we have horny teenagers getting the business (both ways) and a new lead actress (Pamela Springsteen) who, for some reason, I just loved. I really liked the way she played the character, from her delivery, her mousy voice, her excitement… how can such a tiny person be doing all of this? Yeah – I liked this a ton better than the first. This thing was funny, bloody, unbelievable, full of half naked campers all delivering their lines so poorly it was simply awesome.  Right on!

These will be hard to write up without revealing too much for anyone who hasn’t seen these, but the waifish Angela (Springsteen)  from the first one is all grown up and has been released from “the mental institution” (that’s her with the guitar in the poster) so she does what only comes naturally – she poses as someone else and heads off to be a counselor at summer camp to ensure those kids will have Right and Wholesome summers and lead Proper lives. Of course, as we all know, at summer camp there is nothing but tomfoolery and hijinks going on (and trying to get laid) so, unfortunately, when they run afoul of Angela Johnson’s Morals and Ethics, things don’t turn out well for them.

Sadly, for talking to the boy’s group after hours, you get bludgeoned to the afterlife with a log. For getting stoned and drunk and having The Sex, you get burned alive. For talking back and doing The Fornicating, you get shoved into a toilet full of doo doo, pee pee and leeches until you are no longer among the living. And so it goes, Amen Brother. This is how things go at Camp Rolling Hills. Not only is all of that good fun, the soundtrack has some lesser known bands from the late 80’s like Anvil and The Dead Milkmen and record covers of Poison and Flotsam and Jetsam covering the walls. There’s also a panty raid, a revenge jockstrap raid, a severed head in a TV (“Look who’s on TV, Molly!“), peeping tom kids, a rip off of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th (an homage – I think not) and a wonderful ending where you think everyone in the camp is dead (EVERYONE!!!!) but one survivor stumbles out of the woods after falling down a cliff.  To note: shortly before this event, after murdering everyone, Angela left camp and was picked up hitchhiking by a cowboy hat wearing, worn out, old lady who smokes who quickly meets her demise as well. As the lone survivor flags down a passing truck, turns out it’s Angela in the driver’s seat (cowboy hat and all) who rolls down the window and happily exclaims “Howdy Pardner!!!“. Awesome.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP 3: TEENAGE WASTELAND  (1989) THREE TOP HATS

The first thing to note about the opening scene is this: a young lady rises from bed to a rocking radio blasting heavy metal. She then strips off her shirt and exposes her tits tattooed with “Milk” on one and “Shake” on the other.  Outside, while walking to the bus stop, she is ran down by a garbage truck, disposed of in the masher and her character is replaced by a familiar looking face (Springsteen). As the bus pulls away, taking all of the new boys and girls to summer camp, this is seen spray painted on the wall, awesome:

Maybe it was because I had never seen  “2” that I liked it so much. As is always the case, this is exactly the same movie as “2” so there wasn’t as much novelty to this one after that first scene.  As described above, Angela heads to Camp New Horizons (the replacement camp where the murders occurred a year before) with a group of “rich and poor” kids. This camp is a new project to teach the poor kids what it’s like to be rich and vice versa.  So – we get, among others, the snobby rich Georgian girl, the sincere, chaste Ohian lovely, the rude and mean Asian chick, the punk dude from L.A., the gangster Latino from L.A.,  the rapping insubordinate, gun toting, black fellow, etc. As in all of these types of movies, we get the same plot, new boobs and new kills. So this time around, we get the typical log clubbing, a log through the mouth, a firecracker up your nose, a few beheadings, some axes, a tied-to-the-tree-rope-through-the-gut and even a lawnmower to the head, to name a few.  We also get a flashback from the first sequel with none of the same actresses
and a bunch of funny one liners. While I am not a one liner type of guy, they were about the only thing that did anything for me in here.

Here’s a few I lifted from IMDB:

Angela: Are you a cheerleader?
Cindy: Yeah.
Angela: Are you a virgin?
Cindy: No?
Angela: You take drugs?
Cindy: Doesn’t everybody?
Angela: Strike three.

Cindy: Why are you doing this to me?
Angela: Because you’re a cheerleader, a fornicator, a drug taker, a nasty snotty bigot, and besides that… you’re real nice!

Bobby Stark: Hi, I’m Bobby Stark. You don’t mind if I sit here?
Angela: Sure.
[he takes a seat. Pause]
Bobby Stark: So… you’re underpriviliged.

Lily Miranda: What’s your favourite type of movie Bobby?
Bobby Stark: Ones that make America look great, like… Rambo 3

And, as Angela’s lying there dying, stabbed in the stomach, having killed 30
people…. “You try and help some people out and look what happens…”

RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP (2008) ONE TOP HAT

Hmmmm – again – I was never a huge fan of all of these, so I didn’t probably “get” the fandom appeal or desire to make this movie, but I really did not like it at all.  I mean – not much at all.  I mean – thbthbthtbttbhtbthbthbthtbhtbhbtbth on this. I have been trying to think if I have ever seen or experienced a more irritating character / actor than the one displayed here as “Alan” played as it is by an individual named Michael Gibney. This fucking guy screams and cries and screams and screams and runs around and cries and screams CONSTANTLY. I really don’t get the nature of this character – was I supposed to be sympathetic to this fucking ANNOYING IDIOT (who defiles everything and everyone he runs into) who is subjected to constant, irritating abuse by the other irritating “campers”? I hated him from the very moment I saw him and then, hated almost everything else here and couldn’t wait until it was over. Vincent Pastore, of every mob movie ever made is in this, poor guy, as well as The Duke of New York himself, Isaacs Hayes – I bet he misses that – and a bunch of other cast mates who screech and cuss and spit spitwads and do the old “what’s on your shirt? Flick the nose gag” and give wedgies and throw people in the lake who can’t swim and give ‘purple nurples’ and  do some beatin’ off and there’s nerdy “geeks” and skinned frogs and – geez – the local sheriff who – well – there’s the big surprise for you – if you can’t figure that one out by the 5th minute then I feel bad. I have the feeling that a lot of people like this movie – but I sure didn’t… not even a little bit – I didn’t think this had any of the fun of the previous two and was just completely irritating.  I suppose I should give credit for some creative kills but that might indicate that I cared, because  I sure didn’t. I will say one thing, it was PAINFULLY obvious what the big “trick” would be, PITIFULLY obvious but – when it came, it was different than what I was expecting… so there’s that… I guess.

I don’t even really care to go into my usual opining about this stinker so: a bunch of grate-your-nerves actors go on and on and on and on and on throughout this movie, screeching and shrieking and acting up and playing pranks and smoking doobs and tormenting the moronic and horribly loud Alan. As they do this, Alan goes around the camp stealing croquet balls, eating candy and smearing it on his face, eating ice cream and smearing it on his face, flipping everyone off, wearing the same filthy and disgusting shirt the entire time, loudly and pathetically mooning over some blond named Karen, annoyingly crying to his only friends – a bunch of frogs, receiving wedgies, getting shot by a thousand paint balls and finally snapping (in a stupid scene).  While all of that good fun bullshit is happening, miscreants are dying horrible deaths and a guy from the first movie thinks “Angela is back” but no one believes him. Eventually all of this comes to an end and that statement is addressed in some form or another.

Well – that does it for the Sleepaway Camp foursome. I didn’t care for the two “bookends, but I enjoyed the middle two. Now that I am all caught up, if they come out with a fifth, I would be sure to catch it – but – if they do – I hope it’s much, much better than the fourth.

29 comments

  1. Damn! I just watched 1 & 2 and have 3 queued up on Youtube now. I thought this would be right up your alley. For some reason I really like the first two. Weird that I didn’t see them sooner, but I don’t think they ever get shown on TV. Thank the big sky pixie for the internet.

    Also, we don’t have camp here so some of these things seem a bit weird. Aren’t these kids a bit old for camp? I thought it was for younger kids. And how old are the counsellors usually? Some of them seemed the same age as some of the kids. I know this is fiction, but it took me out of it. And, do the counsellors and kids all wear the same uniform?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just thought I’d slip on this little old post! Little old me!

    HI PEN!!!!!!!!!!! O_o

    I actually wondered if you’d seen these films so searched (probed you) for the reviews. I was a little sad to see you didn’t love the first one 😦 but your reviews were fair! I did really like the first one (sadly I knew the ending already so didn’t have as much impact but I enjoyed how bizarre it was and some of the crazy deaths) my dad bought me the trilogy box set at Christmas (cheers dad!!!!) so I have 2 and 3 to watch soon. Will let you know what I think 🙂

    How weird is Aunt Martha?! Martha or Arthur hmmmmmmmm?!

    Love Clam o_O

    Liked by 1 person

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