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The Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit (2002) – DVD Review

The Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit DVD set cover art


Review Note: This set is three discs, one for each member of the trilogy. For accessing the reviews of the individual feature film discs and seeing more info on their individual bonus features, click on their names in the Features section below. The review below gives you an overview of the entire set.


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

My Advice: Own it if a fan of horror; rent it otherwise

The Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit DVD set screen capture 1

The Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit covers the saga of Angela Baker, a girl (kinda) trying to have a pleasant summer camp experience. She has to deal with slutty, bitchy girls; horny, potty-mouthed boys, and staff that’s either incompetent or on the make. Angela has enough to deal with after seeing her family killed in a speedboat accident, being raised by her very odd Aunt Marsha, and having to suffer the various ministrations of the state mental health system. What’s a girl to do? In Angela’s case, she deals with her problems by slaughtering all the ‘nasty’ people around her in various brutal and imaginative ways.

For a trio of low budget, 80s horror movies, the Sleepaway Camp series holds up pretty well. The difference between these movies and the rest of horror movie drek that was made in the 80s is you get the feeling that the filmmakers put some effort into the production instead of slapping some celluloid together to earn a fast buck. The production values are definitely on the low side and the plots are rather simplistic, but you can tell the cast and crew are trying to create a scary and enjoyable viewing experience. Kudos must be given to the two actresses that play Angela (Felissa Rose in the original, Pamela Springsteen in the sequels). While all three are fun to watch, the original and the two sequels are different in tone. The original Sleepaway Camp is more straightforward in its storytelling while the sequels have the post-modern tongue-in-cheek style popularized by the Scream trilogy in the 90s.

And considering that we are talking about a trio of low budget, 80s horror movies, these discs have some pretty good features. Each movie has commentary from the directors and the star of the original and the screenwriter of the sequels. The sequels also feature behind the scenes footage, extensive photo galleries, and gory outtakes that those wussies at the MPAA didn’t want you to see. The art on the box reflects the general campiness of the films being designed to resemble a first aid kit (although after the wussies at the Red Cross complained, that art was recalled and replaced). Of course the victims are usually too far-gone to be helped by a Band-Aid and some antiseptic wipes. There even a little booklet giving more detail on the making, storyline, and history of the movies. Since the booklet is written by the two people running the Sleepaway Camp website, Jeff Hayes and John Klyza, they are extremely enthusiastic about the films. If you can filter through the fanboy love, there is some good information in there.

Individual reviews of the three discs can be found here:
Sleepaway Camp
Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers
Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland

These discs would be great for Halloween or when you want to sit on your sofa and watch some rotten kids get brutally murdered. And who doesn’t want to see that?

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