That ending! My goodness, that ending! The next horror film in the continuation of my personal horror festival has one of the most famous, if not infamous, twist endings on film ever, and it’s well-earned. Ooh Boy! You will NEVER forget it nor should you. But, does it save the movie? Slightly.
I present to you: 1983’s “Sleepaway Camp”
How can I review this movie without giving away spoilers? Wow. There’s a pair of cousins spending their summer at a residential camp (hence, the title). Bullying occurs daily. Killings start. The person most likely motivated to commit the killings may or may not be the killer. That’s it, folks. I can’t get too much into the plot because, if you’re of a certain age (under 30), you may not have seen it. Why ruin it? You absolutely have to see this film to believe the craziness.
What I can talk about are some of the craziness that makes this horror film more laughable than scary. First, the bad acting and dialogue are things that can’t be overlooked. The cast pretty much telephoned it in as though they were reading lines off cue cards before their scenes. However, I will give it to the actresses playing Angela, one of the cousins, and the “Mean Girls” of the camp, Meg, (who I can’t believe is a counselor! Yet, one scene may explain how she got the job.), and Judy,” Little Miss Curling Iron” herself (It’ll make sense if you see the film). I guess they tried to make lemonade out of lemons. I wish they just added some sugar, as opposed to its bitter substitute. Second, some viewers may object to the homoerotic themes (e.g., excruciatingly tight shorts on males, naked guys skinny-dipping at night). That’s their problem. But, it’s a smart use of foreshadowing, if you’re paying attention.
Third, this camp was creepy and freaky way before any killings began. You have a pedophile chef, an owner that’s a wee selfish. Killings start and you don’t get the kids out of there? Send them home. Stop trying to save a buck. Finally, one good thing about the film (other than the ending) is that you root for the killer because you absolutely have no sympathy for any of the killed (Well, except one. I guess everyone has to pay a price for their actions, even if mildly mean.)
I recommend the film solely for the twist ending. Let’s be real, without that ending, this movie would have been called “Throwaway Camp” as it’s pretty bad. So, sit through the horrid acting and dialogue, to get to that ending. It’s an horror classic for a reason, even with the cheese.
I will give it 4 out of 10 .
The ending enabled me to give it a 4. Otherwise, without it, I would have given it one bloody knife or two .
Fun Fact About “Sleepaway Camp”: There are three direct to video sequels, “Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers” (1988), “Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland” (1989), where Bruce Springsteen’s younger sister, Pamela, plays an important role, and “Return to Sleepaway Camp” (2004) ,