Sleepaway Camp

1983

Action / Horror

63
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 60%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 19524

Synopsis


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1hr 24 min
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1hr 24 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Samuel-Shovel 7 / 10

What a Fun Midnight Movie!

I'd previously heard of this movie and it's disturbing twist of an ending so I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to toss this one on. With the ending already ruined for me, I was expecting it to not be that enjoyable (since I'd heard that the rest of the movie was kind of a snore); but this movie actually exceeded my expectations!

This movie has some really fun horror elements and climatic death sequences. The scene with the hornets nest in the bathroom I will always remember. And even though I was prepared for the big finale, it was still a shocking, grotesque, disturbing image that greeted me.

There are some parts of this that were fairly boring. I definitely could have done with out that entire baseball game, but all in all it's hard to complain about a movie that's under 90 minutes. The acting isn't spectacular but I think it tells a twisted psychological story that people might "sleep on" just because it's a cheaply made 80's horror movie. It's actually decently done.

Reviewed by mcgowanjm-65288 2 / 10

Uh, not a good movie at all . . .

Wow, I read about this movie in a best of horror movie guide, so I got it from Netflix. It's terrible! The acting is awful (the mom is unbelievably bad), the story is nothing special. Yeah, everybody says the ending is such a shocker, meh. The only reason I didn't give it a 1 is that the makeup for the victims was very good. Do yourself a favor, if you want to see this, don't suffer through the whole thing, fast forward to the kill scenes and the "shocking" ending and just get it over with.

Reviewed by thelastblogontheleft 6 / 10

Worth it just for the ending

Sleepaway Camp, a well-known cult classic among horror enthusiasts, is what I'd consider to be a "great bad movie". It was director Robert Hiltzik's first film (and, really, he only went on to direct one other distant sequel) and one he should be pretty proud of, really.

The film opens with a dad and two kids playing out on a lake. There are some teenagers nearby driving a speedboat rather recklessly, who tragically crash into the family, killing the father and one of the children. We fast forward 8 years to Angela (Felissa Rose), the survivor of the accident, heading off to Camp Arawak with her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten), who she now lives with. She is understandably traumatized by the events and extremely shy and quiet as a result, which makes for lots of teasing at camp (and lots of punishment for those who tease…).

** SPOILERS! **

Overall, this is your typical campy (literally and figuratively) teen slasher. It was riding the waves of Friday the 13th (released in 1980) and the similarities are unmistakable — gruesome killings played out in an act of vengeance on camp kids and their counselors. Sounds a bit familiar. But really, who doesn't like a campy teen slasher film?

Ricky's mom (Desiree Gould) keeps the weirdness factor up right away with her WILDLY over-the-top acting and just plain bizarre persona.

Despite the acting not being the greatest (is it ever?) and the sheer number of short shorts and crop tops (mostly on the muscular male counselors), some of the kills are surprisingly awesome. The counselor getting drowned under the canoe was nothing wild until you see his corpse the next morning with a water snake slithering out of his mouth. The disgusting pervert of a head chef got DRENCHED in boiling water and the length of time he is allowed to go on screaming in agony is, well, satisfying in context. Or Judy (Karen Fields) getting killed with a hair curler, where it's more about what we don't see than what we do.

This movie is also now responsible for one of my favorite moments ever: when one of the other kids says "Eat sh*t and die, Ricky!" and Ricky responds, in all seriousness, "eat sh*t and live, Bill". Brilliant.

But the real reason we will all remember this movie forever: THE ENDING, HOLY GODDAMN. Honestly, Angela being the killer didn't surprise me for a second. I thought that was obvious from the very beginning. But the twist of her actually being Paul and raised as Angela because crazy Aunt Martha "always wanted a daughter" was a doozy, and the visual of his surprisingly-muscular-for-a-pre-teen's naked body drenched in blood as he hisses maniacally was just… wow. Wow. Wow.

On top of it being a WILD leap into left field, it made the motivation behind the killings a bit deeper… surprisingly deep for an early 80s slasher film, really. I wish it had been explored more and given the attention it deserved, but it introduced these sort of half- baked ideas of sexual repression, trauma from sexual molestation, and being forced to live in a body that isn't your own into the film, which was interesting even if not fully fleshed out.

Ultimately, worth a watch JUST for the ending alone. For real.

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