Monday, June 22, 2009
Sleepaway Camp 2 Unhappy Campers Review
I remember when I was going through puberty that I picked up this film and was awakened, so to speak. This movie became the go to film when I was renting movies and couldn't rent porno. At least until I got to the proper age. Now that I've completely lost half of my readers, I guess it's ok to continue. The film stars Pamela Springsteen, yes sister to a famous rock persona. This movie took the ideas of the first film and spun them with later on the years of the story line, and this time advertising (falsely mind you) that Jason and Freddy would be involved in this mash up of horror cliche's. The year is 1988 and the film we're going to try and review for today, is none other than the camp horror movie classic, Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers!
The movie starts out with a new campsite, this time it's Camp Rolling Hills. THe movie's plot surrounds Angela, six years later, and is simply a camp counselor that has a low tolerance for moral mishaps. She is completely insane, but the movie takes a slow build towards showing that aspect, making her seem like the protagonist here in the first few sequences of the film. In fact, anyone that has ever gone to camp at all, will relate with the good to do counselor that is getting picked on.
Here is a trailer for Sleepaway Camp II Unhappy Campers from 1988:
For 1988 this film really turned up the gore. The gore in this film is tremendous in comparison to the original film. The original film was content with showing you the aftermath of the slayings, not the progress of each slaying. This film shows you the cause, and the consequences all in one slick continuous motion. People get killed based on what they are doing wrong. For instance, there is some voyeurs snapping photos of naked campers, they get their eyes ripped out. (although these guys get punished off screen) The best of the kills has to be when a girl is put into an outhouse and killed with some sickening realistic poop getting some full camera time. The kills are completely over the top, and completely different than the way the original film in the series portrayed the death sequences.
The plot is simple, people misbehave and a near supernatural killer dishes out what appears to be a moral judgment that ends with the death of those that are doing wrong. This is best seen in other films like, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and others in the slasher series. Those films create cliche's that are now subject matter for horror writers and reviewers. However, in 1988 these things didn't seem like cliche's they seemed like parodies or complete ripoffs of such things.
The film is harsh, and fast paced for an 80's film. The rating is strictly R thanks to some nice gratuitous nudity, and a somewhat realistic teenage sex scene. I enjoyed these aspects of the film because they weren't just gratuitous in nature they made a good point in the overall punishment that comes through and Angela's one liners are good overall in contrast.
Is Sleepaway Camp II Unhappy Campers scary? : No. The movie isn't all that scary. There is one main reason that I'm going to cite in regards to the camp horror genre at this point. I don't know a lot of people that are going to any sort of camp where they are away from their parents. Sure, there are some religious groups that have camps of this nature, and In 1999 - 2002 I went to them as a camper. However, the social stigma of being Mexican in what appeared to be an all white world was really harsh. So if a killer was stalking people, I'm not sure I'd be so scared...unless I adhered to the idea that the minority gets killed first. On a sidenote, did you see Night of the Demons or Demons 2? Both movies featured main characters that were minorities and they saved the day. Just saying....
The reason why this film doesn't scare me 20 years later, is because I'm not associated with any sort of camp reflection outside of my own memory. Furthermore, you won't get scared by this film either. There are not a lot of jump scares, or suspenseful moments to speak of, this is a straightforward slasher film with comedic moments, and bits of gore. The overall presences of the killer and the "who done it" mentality really flies out the window within moments of seeing the first slaying. I just don't really find this movie scary, and I don't think anyone would find it scary either.
Heck, when I first saw this film, at age 10 I loved it. I then saw it at age 13 and thought this was as close to pornography that I could get my grubby, perverted hands on. At age 19 I bought the box set, and this film was great. I saw it again recently and you know? It's still good to me, but it's not that great overall. It has some major plot holes, and you have to throw out your mind to enjoy this a little more than usual. It really relies on the premise that camps are run by complete morons with no sense of responsibility for their campers. If this really happened, even in 1988 the camp would close down and it would be an after thought. But oh well, the camp slaughter continues and the ending really made this film cool. The whole, what if? Ending was really cool, I admit that much.
Check out Sleepaway Camp 2 on dvd, it's kind of cool. I don't hate it completely, but it's a far off film from the first time I saw this, and while I like it overall, I don't know if everyone is going to agree with my affection for this film. Plus, after all this talk of adolescent "exploration" with this film, I might not garner much readers. But hey...I'm honest.
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