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Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland (1988) – DVD Review

Sleepaway Camp 3 DVD cover art


Written by: Fritz Gordon
Directed by: Michael A. Simpson
Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Tracy Griffith, Michael J. Pollard, Mark Oliver, Sandra Dorsey, Cliff Brand


  • Running audio commentary by director Simpson & writer Gordon, moderated by John Klyza
  • Deleted scenes from the Director’s cut featuring additional “Gore” footage
  • Behind the scenes footage and outtakes
  • Photo galleries
  • Theatrical trailer

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

My Advice: Rent it.

The transgender serial killer Angela Baker (Springsteen) is back and she is going to have a good camp experience if it kills…everyone else. Camp Rolling Hills has changed hands and names and become Camp New Horizons. Run by the lecherous Herman (Pollard) and the lazy Lily (Dorsey), it’s supposed to be a place for kids, rich and poor, to bridge the class divide and reach a better understanding. It’s actually a way for Lily to afford her cruise trip. Angela takes the identity of one of the poor campers (by running her over with a garbage truck), but the same problems of vulgar language, fornication, and kids just behaving badly persist. Angela has to be careful in her murderous rampage. Barney (Brand), the cop father of one of the kids she killed last year is a counselor and campers Marcia (Griffith) and Tony (Oliver) might be a challenge. Let the games begin in Sleepaway Camp 3.

Sleepaway Camp 3 screen capture 1

This film is done in the same style of gruesome death and campy humor, but it just doesn’t have the same energy as the previous installment. Maybe it’s because they take the focus from camp activities and try social commentary. Or maybe it’s because they started shooting this picture days after they wrapped the previous one. Springsteen is still funny and creepy as Angela, but she doesn’t have the same spunk. The rest of the cast give serviceable performances with what little of characterization they have, but you can tell they’re not giving their all. The humor is still there. The Good Girl Marcia stops Bad Boy Tony’s hand going up her shirt. Instead of a harangue of abstinence, she hands him a condom. And when two campers who really don’t do much in the movie get killed, Angela comments that she found them boring. It’s a shame the filmmakers couldn’t wait a year for everyone’s energies to recharge.

The extras are just as good as in the previous movie. Besides the extensive behind the scenes photo galleries, there is footage detailing the various shots, stunt work, and effects in the beginning scene with Angela driving the garbage truck of death. Simpson narrates how he puts together the various pieces to make a seamless whole. There is also “gore” footage that was cut by those weak willies at the MPAA. Personally, I didn’t find anything objectionable, but I’m a jaded child of the Mass Media Age. The commentary reveals that the rich campers were named after characters from The Brady Bunch and the poor campers were named after characters from West Side Story. However, the commentary goes over a lot of the themes and techniques from the previous film, so there is very little to be learned here.

Sleepaway Camp 3 is definitely the weakest of the trilogy, but it’s still worth a look.

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