Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988) – DVD Review

Sleepaway Camp 2 DVD cover art
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Film:
DVD:

Written by: Fritz Gordon
Directed by: Michael A. Simpson
Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Renée Estevez, Walter Gotell, Brian Patrick Clarke

Features:

  • Running audio commentary by director Simpson & writer Gordon, moderated by John Klyza
  • Behind the scenes footage and outtakes
  • Photo galleries
  • Theatrical trailer

Released by: Anchor Bay
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Own it if you are a fan of horror.

Angela (Springsteen) has changed a lot from the original events of Sleepaway Camp. First she’s had The Operation so she’s now a real girl. And after years of electroshock therapy and heavy-duty medication, she’s no longer a shy, confused serial killer. Now she’s a happy outgoing serial killer. Since she’s been “cured,” she’s gotten a job as a counselor at Camp Rolling Hills. She wants the camp to be a place for good clean fun. There are a few good kids like Molly (Estevez), but the rest just want to get high, use vulgar language, and engage in fornication. The owner, Uncle John (Gotell), and the head counselor, T.C. (Clarke), don’t seem to share her intolerance of this behavior. Fortunately for Angela, she has a method to fix these problems that is effective and enjoyable. This, of course, is killing people in grisly, but appropriate ways. Always go with your strengths, I’d say.

Sleepaway Camp 2 screen capture 2

Unhappy Campers is a very different animal from the previous film. It’s written very much tongue squarely in cheek (until it’s cut out of your mouth of course). The cast members are all named for members of the Brat Pack, there are nods to those titans of horror cinema Freddy and Jason, and Angela follows their lead with a witty quip after each demise. Pamela Springsteen (yes, she’s Bruce’s sister) gives such an exuberant performance when she dispatches the campers. But there’s a little regret when they fail to live up to expectations. The rest of the cast are serviceable considering all they have are the ‘Usual Suspects’ you get in this genre: the Bitch, the Stoners, the Good Girl, the Jokers, the Clueless Adult, etc. Another staple of the genre is all the naked breasts. Some may find the titty shots (this is an actual Hollywood technical term, folks) exploitation, but we must remember that this is all prepubescent boys had until the Internet pornucopia of the 1990s. The special effects (not counting the breasts) are very good for a low-budget film and gives you plenty of blood, leeches, and burning skin. And what more could ask than plenty of gore and half-naked teenagers?

After the mayhem and laughter, the viewer can enjoy the plentiful extras on this disc. The still galleries are very extensive, featuring candid shots of the cast and crew being silly, a behind the scenes look into the infamous ‘cabin scene’, and detailing how some of the make-up effects were applied. There is some behind-the-scene footage as well with the director narrating how he set up a scene of one of Angela’s murders, more detail into the special effects, and the cast and crew having lunch.

There is also a commentary with the director Simpson and scribe Gordon. John Klyza does a better job of keeping the two on track in the remembrances and prodding them about certain aspects in the film. Simpson tells how with a limited budget, he relied on the Atlanta acting pool and shot most of the film on location. He also had the same seven extras throughout the movie. He also talks about the absurdities of movie making: for example, in one sex scene the actress involved was only naked from the waist up. And since the actor also in the scene was sixteen, the director was made by the state labor supervisor to put in a body double of appropriate age for the action.

It’s nice that a fun movie can have good extras that go into the process of filmmaking. Sleepaway Camp 2 is a must for any slasher fan.

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By | 2011-08-15T04:43:57+00:00 February 20th, 2003|Reviews|0 Comments

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