Monday, October 20, 2008

Sleepaway Camp (1983, Robert Hiltzik)

Sleepaway Camp, huh? Oh great, another Friday the 13th ripoff. Well, there are a few basic similarities (gruesome kills, summer camp, unknown psycho killing people) but Sleepaway Camp is very much its own film. There really is nothing like it.

After a freak boating accident, a young girl's family is killed and she goes to live with her Aunt and Cousin. Several years later, the girl Angela and her cousin Ricky are now teenagers and off to summer camp. Angela is very quiet and gets made fun of by her promiscuous fellow campers. Ricky can't stand it and uses every opportunity to get into fights and shoot his mouth off. Suddenly, a series of heinous "accidents" start occuring to the staff and fellow campers who tease Angela. Who could be causing these "accidents"?

I still remember the first time I watched Sleepaway Camp with a few friends in High School. I also remember when I made my then girlfriend/now wife watch it. This is simply one of my favorite horror films of all time. Why? Simple, it has everything I love about horror films: Incredibly realistic makeup effects (created by Oscar nominee Ed French), a great whodunnit plot that keeps you guessing until the end, sex, profanity and an unmistakable 80's feel. The best thing about the film (and I'm sure most fans will agree) is the ending. One of the creepiest, most unexpected endings of all time.

(Though there were some decent sequels in the 80s, check out director Robert Hiltzik's true follow up Return to Sleepaway Camp, finally coming to DVD on November 4th, 2008. Yay! There is also a 3D sequel in the works as well. Double yay!)



  1. Needless to say this movie scared the hell out of me when I watched it as a kid. And yes, the ending totally freaked me out.

  2. One of the greatest endings in cinematic history.