This week's slasher is one of the more infamous ones in the genre, Sleepaway Camp. As always, I'm giving you my usual warning about SPOILERS...However, the ending is probably the most famous SPOILER in slasher history, so chances are that you won't need the warning this week.
Anyway, the film begins with a shot of the camp, and the most annoying theme music I can remember in ages. Oh hey, look, the nerdy guy from The Langoliers is in this. Other than him and Felissa Rose, I don't know any of the other actors in this.
The annoyingly, loud music continues. Clearly, the killer believes in deafening his victims before killing them. Small snippets of dialogue fade in and out, but so far, the campground seems pretty dang empty. The credits end on a closeup of a sign...it's a "for sale" sign for a property called Camp Arawak.
Then we see a family on a boat. 2 annoying children are yelling at each other, while their father looks like he wishes he had used 2 condoms at the right times. As he chats with them, we see a couple in a motorboat speeding along, as a frightened girl is water skiing and begging them to slow down. The guy at the wheel, Craig, tells his girlfriend, Mary Ann, that he can't let her have a turn at the wheel, even though she's begging for it. Craig's a lifeguard, and the boat's not his, so I can see his point.
The little kids see their dad standing on the edge of their boat, so they figure it would be fun to push him into the water. "Pushing" consists of standing there and sort of giving Dad an ass-grab, until all 3 just sort of throw themselves toward the water. Yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds.
Craig gives in to his girlfriend, and lets her have the wheel. At the same time, Dad is told by another guy that he needs to meet some family members for a meeting soon, Aunt Martha and Ricky. The kids seem excited, until they learn that Ricky is spending the weekend with his father. Behind the kids, you can see the motorboat heading straight for them. Uh oh! Gosh, what do you think is going to happen?
The water skier tries to shout a warning to her friends, and the dolts both turn around to look at her. There should a version of the Darwin Awards for characters in slasher flicks. Dad tries to get the kids out of the way, as Craig and Mary Ann FINALLY watch where they're going.
Craig grabs the wheel and turns, but it's waaay too late for that. The boat uses Dad as a ramp, and goes ricocheting off of his body, as everyone is screaming at everyone else. Fun times for all!
The story picks up 8 years later. Angela is now living with Ricky and Aunt Martha. Where's the brother? Wait, was he the one who died? No, because then Angela wouldn't be an orphan. Hell, I dunno...maybe they BOTH died! I better re-watch that sequence again.
Aunt Martha hands Ricky a bag filled with "goodies", and she's yelling to beat the band. Seriously, was this a horror film intended for deaf folks? Anyway, the kooky aunt declares that she forgot something, then proudly displays a string she tied around her finger to remember it. Um, I don't think her elevator reaches the penthouse, if you know what I mean.
She comes back, holding some medical records for them to bring to summer camp. They leave for camp on a schoolbus, and find an army of screaming kids waiting. Two middle-aged guys are yelling instructions to all of the running maniacs, but they pretty much drown each other out. Behind them, some of the staff look on with expressions of abject misery on their faces.
One of the workers, Art, makes a comment about the female campers being too young to have pubic hair, and an elderly black man cracks a joke about his "interest" in young girls. Art doesn't say much else, but grins as more young girls run by. Geez, 10 minutes in, and I already feel dirty for watching this.
Angela and Ricky encounter a boy who knows Ricky from a past summer. Before he leaves them, the kid tells Ricky that the girl he had a crush on the previous summer has, uh, "developed" in the chest region. Angela just stands there like a statue, not saying a word. A very flat statue.
Ricky shows Angela around the camp, then encounters Judy. She's definitely developed, but she's also become a major ice queen. She and Ricky have a short, tense chat, then Judy enters the same cabin that Angela entered. There, we meet some of the counselors, Meg and Susie. Megb is just an older version of Judy, but Susie seems nice.
Angela watches Judy unpack, and her zombie-stare freaks the other girl out in a big way. Before tensions can escalate, The counselors we just met defuse the situation. Awww, I wanted a chick fight!
In the mess hall, Meg summons one of the head counselors, Ronny. Angela won't eat, she just keeps sitting like a lump and staring at everything. Ronny turns on the charm, and takes Angela to the kitchen to see if she can find another meal that she might like.
In the kitchen, Angela is introduced to Ben and Artie. Ronny leaves her with Artie, who takes her into the food storage area. Once they're alone, Artie almost rapes Angela, but cousin Ricky saves the day. After the cook threatens them not to tell anyone what he tried to do, they run away.
As the kitchen staff start to close up shop later that afternoon, Ben leaves Artie in the kitchen alone. Somebody unseen sneaks in, and they quickly hide when they hear Artie coming back into the kitchen.
Artie uses a small stepladder to peer into a large cooking pot, and stirs in some ingredients. The unseen killer sneaks behind the portly cook, and shoves him roughly towards the boiling pot of water. Artie manages to grab onto a shelf before getting too off-balance, and asks the unseen attacker to help him stand up. The killer responds by kicking the small step away, then just yanking it, causing the portly cook to pull the boiling container onto himself, and toppling to the floor. Artie, now horribly scarred by the boiling water, screams until Ben comes running in to see what happened.
An ambulance is called, and Artie is still screaming as they take him away. Ben gets promoted to head chef, as long as he and the other kitchen staff agree to stay silent about what they saw. Yay, a promotion! Ben, you have no soul.
The next scene shows some kids playing a prank on another boy, in the guise of a magic trick. It ends with his face in some other kid's ass. This somehow transitions into a baseball game with more betting than Atlantic City on any given weekend. Ricky manages to psyche out some of the players on the other team, most of whom look at least a decade older. Ricky and our protagonists win, but there are grumblings about "payback" overheard.
That night, there's a dance. How bad is it? Well, Angela is approached by a couple of the guys. When cousin Ricky overhears them mocking her shyness, a brawl ensues. The fight gets broken up, and a boy named Paul decides to try to befriend her. He tells her that he and Ricky are close friends, and he starts telling her wild stories about their past exploits. When a counselor tells Paul that it's time to go, Angela speaks her first bit of dialogue so far, wishing him a good night.
After the dance, a group of counselors go out for a late-night swim. 2 of them, Leslie and Kenny take a canoe out to a remote area. Kenny decides to prey on Leslie's fears, first by mentioning all of the creatures in the water that could bite her, then rocking the canoe from side to side. Clearly, Kenny knows the way to a woman's heart. The canoe tips over, dumping both of them into the lake, and Leslie swims back in the direction of the camp.
Swimming under the tipped boat, Kenny seems unaware that Leslie has left. Someone bobs up in front of him, and Kenny recognizes the person, but seems perplexed by their presence. The person grabs Kenny's head, and holds him under the water.
As the other male counselors mock both Leslie and Kenny from the shore, they leave as a group. One stays behind, and approaches the overturned canoe when Kenny stops responding to jeers and taunts. Then the scene just crashes to a halt, leaving us to wonder whether Kenny was discovered, the other lunkhead maybe died, or if perhaps the movie just ran out of steam. And what about Leslie?
Nope, no answers here. The next day, one of the counselors finds the dock trashed. As he's complaining about the lack of discipline Mel has over the counselors, he inadvertently uncovers Kenny's watery body. The authorities are called, but Mel tries to keep the incident as quiet as possible.
Angela watches the other girls play volleyball, and Paul strikes up another conversation with her. He asks her on a date, and Angela agrees to meet him later that night. The other girls(well, mostly Judy) get catty while watching them chat, of course, and one of them tells her off. Then Susie comes to her rescue.
That evening, after whatever festivity was held, Paul gallantly offers to walk Angela back to her bunk. Judy decides to follow them, even after Ricky attempts to talk her out of it. At the cabin, Paul gives Angela a quick kiss, then another, before she scurries inside. Judy stops Paul before he returns to his cabin, and teases him.
In the boys' cabin, a prank leads to a knife-fight, and it gets disrupted by a counselor named Gino. This somehow leads to a scene where Paul sneaks up behind Angela, after swimming, holds his clammy hands over her eyes, and makes her guess who it is. Geez kid, at least towel off! Judy tries to mock them, but Paul deflects her ridicule.
As soon as he leaves, Meg approaches Angela. Her method of "reaching" Angela involves insulting her, shaking her like a rag doll, then screaming in her face. Ronny comes to the rescue yet again.
Later, Angela is harassed even further by Judy. Susie and Judy have an altercation, then Angela leaves. She walks over to the boys' side of the camp to find Paul, and some of the boys hurl sponges at her from the roof. Ricky sees the incident, and the shouting match brings out Mel. He penalizes the boys on the roof, but also Ricky.
The sponge-flinger. Billy, goes back to his cabin, and announces that he needs to take a dump. Fascinating. He goes into a stall, and we see someone jam the door shut with a broom handle. As the camera slowly pans up, a hand holding a knife cuts through the window screen in the bathroom. As Billy gets annoyed by the distraction, the killer uses a branch to drop a nest of bees into the stall with Billy, who eventually keels over, horribly scarred and bleeding from his injuries.
His death leads Mel and Ronnie into a debate over whether or not to close the camp. Apparently, many parents have already pulled their children out, and Mel worries that these "accidents" will force them to close up forever.
Angela is wandering around late that evening, and Paul scares her when he comes up behind her. They run to the lake together, and begin making out. Angela makes him chase her for a bit, then they fall into the sand, and really start to go at it. This causes Angela to have a flashback.
In the flashback, Angela and her brother are giggling. Apparently, Dad was gay, and his "friend" in the first scene was his lover. Angela and her brother are then seen in bed together, with him pointing at her. When the flashback ends, Angela runs away from Paul.
The next day, the small group of campers left are divided into teams, to play Capture The Flag. Angela tries to cool things off with Paul, and he doesn't take it well. When she walks away, Judy steps in, hinting to Paul that she knows something about Angela that he doesn't.
Ricky catches up to Angela, and gets her involved in some kind of scheme to win the game. When he and his cousin split up, Ricky spies Judy kissing Paul, in an attempt to seduce him away from Angela. Angela also sees them, and runs away before Paul can explain the situation. Wait--is this Sleepaway Camp, or General Hospital?
Back at the lake, Paul tries to apologize to Angela, but she's back to clamming up. Judy also turns up yet again, and starts to hint at having a physical relationship with Paul. Angela seems like she's about to explode, but she manages to remain still until the Bitch Queen leaves.
Mel talks to Ricky about the way most of the campers have left early, and Judy and Meg return to taunt Angela together. Meg grabs Angela and hoists the screaming girl over her shoulder, the plan being to throw her into the lake. Geez, they should rename this place Camp Majorlottapsychos.
When cousin Ricky hears Angela, he tries to help her, but Mel grabs his arms and keeps him from interfering. Also, Mel accuses Ricky of committing the murders and attacks on people, since he was present every time that Angela was humiliated by the victims. Angela gets pushed into the water and begins swallowing water and flailing about, until a lifeguard helps her back onto the dock. As the other 2 girls laugh, the lifeguard calls Meg a peckerhead. Good call.
As usual, nothing else happens that day, so the next scene occurs that night. The counselors have an informal meeting, and Meg is given the night off, along with some guy named Jerry. Another counselor, Eddie, is assigned to be in charge of a large group of children who will be camping outside that evening. Meg, being herself, tries to proposition Mel, and they make a date for later that night.
Meg tries to take a quick shower, but there's a long line of girls before her. She picks up her outfit and towels, and announces that she's showering elsewhere. Angela watches her exit the cabin, and practically begins licking her chops.
The next time we see Meg, she's in a shower, lathering up. Yay! Someone else enters the empty cabin, and they appear to have a knife. Double yay! As Meg leans away from the water, the killer stabs her several times through the shower curtain, and Meg contorts and makes an "Ugh!" sound every time. Then the killer reaches into the shower, washes off the knife, and shuts off the water.
Eddie, stuck with a small group of brats, tells them to set up their sleeping bags and supplies while he searches for firewood. At that night's dance, Angela bumps into Paul outside, and they reconcile. After making up, they see Judy leaving with another boy, and Paul makes a snide remark after she leaves.
Eddie is woken up by a couple of boys who want to go back to their cabin. He gives in, and offers to drive them. Then someone enters the clearing, and fixates on the axe. Subtlety is definitely not this movie's strong spot.
Mel shows up at the dance, and starts asking about Meg. Mel tries to find her, but he ends up with Judy instead. She pretends to be reading a magazine until he leaves. Then her date, who was hiding under the bed, also leaves.
Mel goes to the empty washroom to find Meg, and her body falls out of the shower at his feet. Mel is convinced that Ricky murdered Meg, and runs off to find him. That doesn't stop the old perv from taking another long look at the naked body, though.
Judy is busy with a curling iron when the entrance to the cabin opens. The figure silhouetted in the doorway looks like either a little boy or girl, hard to tell. They approach Judy, knock her unconscious, then use the curling iron to do things to her nether regions that make even ME cross my legs.
Eddie gets back to the kids he left in their sleeping bags, and discovers that they were all slaughtered in their sleep. He pukes, then runs back to camp, screaming all the way. Back at the main camp, Ricky tries to enter the dance, but a counselor named Jeff stops him. After pleading that he's starving, Jeff shows pity and lets Ricky go in for some food.
Inside the mess hall, the lights go out, and Ricky comes out with 2 handfuls of candy bars and other junk food. On the way back to his cabin, a hand grabs him by the neck. Buh-bye, Ricky. It's Mel, and he's apparently lost his mind. He throws the boy to the ground, accuses him of murdering Meg, then starts slapping, punching and all-around flailing at poor Ricky.
A brief scene where Ron is looking for Mel is shown, then we go back to Mel murdering a child. Nice. When he calms down, he stumbles back to camp, and finds himself on the archery range. He sees the camp killer holding a bow, then Mel gets shot with an arrow to the throat.
The police come to the rescue, and Ron has every surviving counselor divide into pairs, to search for all of the missing folks. Paul meets up with Angela by the water, which is now deserted, and she suggests that they should go skinny dipping. Paul gets started taking off his clothes, moving like a Tasmanian Devil on PCP.
The cops find Ricky, who is still alive. A the same time, a female counselor finds Judy's body, and runs outside, sobbing and screaming. A cop who ran in to have a look, comes back out looking like he's been shell-shocked.
As Ronny and Susie look for more missing people, they find Angela sitting on the ground, naked as a jaybird. She's running her fingers through Paul's hair. As they call Angela's name, one last flashback starts up. Aunt Martha is welcoming "Angela" home, but it's not her, it's her brother. The Aunt dressed him as a girl, and brainwashed him into thinking that he was a she.
Then Ronny and Susie see Angela stand up, and as she makes this spooky face and a weird animal growly sound, we get a full shot of her penis. Okay, okay, we get it. She's a dude. THE END.
Wow, that was a mind-bender, huh? Some pretty good kills, though, and one of the best surprise endings in horror film history. 4 and-a-half killer trees out of 5 for Sleepaway camp.
And what did I learn from my time at camp?
-Guys only think about 2 things: Sex and committing murder.
-Never live with your aunt. She's kink-ay!
Summer camps only have enough time in the day for 1 morning activity, and 1 night activity. No more, no less...
Later this week, I have the original Prom Night coming in, the one before all of that "Mary Lou ghost" nonsense. Now, I never actually attended my own prom, so I'll be wearing a tuxedo as I watch this one. You should wear a prom dress! And send me the pics! Heh, see you later in the week!