Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Director(s): Robert Hiltzik
Writer(s): Robert Hiltzik
Starring: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston, Paul DeAngelo
Summer time is upon us my ghoul-tastic brood of horror loving freaks! If the melting heat wasn’t enough to clue you in, it’s the time of year where sweat reins supreme and everyone is trying to escape to somewhere with more shade or at least less-surface-of the-sun. Summer is also the time of year where the young bucks are out of school and the promise of adventure, excitement and yes, maybe a little love is prominent theme that runs throughout the torturous scorching months. With that in mind, Sleepaway Camp shall always be burned in my mind as a classic horror fable if you will, about the dangers of finding a nice girl during the summer because you’ll never **snicker** know **snicker** what she may be **snicker snicker** hiding behind the sweet façade of innocence…BWUAHAHAHAHA!
Okay, so for those folks who are familiar with this flick, I’ll keep my giggle secrets to myself and move on with this great flick revolving around a peculiar girl named Angela Baker. After watching her family suffer a horrible death, she’s sent to live with her aunt and cousin. One summer, the two children are sent away to Summer camp. Okay, as much as I was snickering earlier, I remember watching this flick as a kid (perhaps 9 or 10) and remembering that the actress that played Angela, Felissa Rose being a pretty girl. In fact, in the scenes where the current camp attendees would pick on Angela, I remember getting angry and hoping for the untimely deaths of those that ridiculed her, which fit nicely with the plot since my wish came true in creative and ghastly fashion! Now of course, there’s at least one decent kid in the camp that didn’t pick of Angela and of course that person ends up being a boy named Paul and OF COURSE since this is summer camp, the eventual spark of romance starts swirling in Paul’s head like it usually does with young adolescent boys but he was reminded quick that darling Angela is innocent and shy so naturally, she pushes away despite his advances.
At this point in the flick, I remember being a bit jealous because this puke of a guy gets to at least attempt to kiss our shy female star and even though I was suspecting at this point that she may be tied to the grisly murders, at this point I was a growing FearTastic Vault keeper so scary ladies…weren’t that scary right? **snicker snicker snicker** Now like any young teen whose advances are met with cold rejection, he begins to get angry with our lovely Angela and decides to fool around with another lady (some things never change no matter what age I suppose) and Angela is understandably upset and runs off which at this point I was enraged that anyone would ever hurt a sweet faced innocent gal that just wants to fit in and have a friend. As the death toll begins to climb up, the audience is then presented with the unknown killer that has been teased throughout the movie and the results end up being one of the most disturbing scenes your young FearTastic Vault keeper has ever seen.
You have to remember folks, at this age, I had seen some disturbing yet entertaining kill scenes. I had seen abductions, more stab wounds at every place that I can count, melting, crushing, arrows, guns, smashing, zapping, etc. and at the most, there may have been a response of surprise but was ultimately followed by a huge grin that approved the entertainment that was provided.
This was different.
There was a groan in the voice of the killer that stuck with me for a couple weeks. The final shot of the killer holding the severed head of one of its victims while groaning into the night stuck with me. The reveal of the killer was only the beginning of the trauma since the final moments of the movie revealed something much more interesting and was seared into my mind as all my feelings of protection, jealousy and puppy love was crushed in an instant. Yes, this was a movie, but BY GOODNESS was that an ending! Of course life moved on and more horror movies racked up my pile and some good sequels were even made that kept most of the entertainment and gore of the first flick but Sleepaway Camp will always stick with me as my summer movie that twisted my brain into entertained (yet confused) spaghetti!
Years later now, I snicker at the ending that traumatized me as a child but when I hear the groan, the deep groan of death that closed out the movie; the little hairs behind my neck begin to stand up as I cringe at the fact that the movie got the better of me as a kid and no matter how many snickers I give now, it’ll ALWAYS have that control!
ENJOY THE SUMMER HEAT FOLKS!…and find true love **snicker**
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.