As a horror fan, I've seen many horror movies go unwatched, untouched, and generally panned by critics and so called "fans" alike. These movies are not as bad as people think they are, and they are generally below the radar, and/or mistaken for something else. This is exactly the case with a series of films from the 1980's that rivaled any camp movie out there to date. The series in mind is none other than the infamous: Sleepaway Camp series!
First and foremost, the original film can be a little annoying, with its slow pacing, and its lack of clear cut gore or explanation for some of the dream sequences. The film follows a hard line of boredom, until after the turning point that is marked surprisingly enough by a long winded game of baseball! That's right, in the middle of the film, to mark the turning point, the director decided to have a full three or four innings of baseball! This was a bad idea, but it did make the movie a little longer, and therefore a full length release at the time of showcase. The movie followed along a mysterious plot of killings in the camp grounds, and it all came down to a shocker of an ending that is still talked about to this day. The reason why this film didn't make it to most homes and horror fans is because it was panned as a knockoff of a similar film at the time: Friday the 13th, which also featured a killer in the midst of a camp setting. It also boasted a young Kevin Bacon, and that doesn't seem to hurt.
The third installment of the film featured some cleavage on the cover, and a more distinct artist rendering that took horror fans by surprise, considering that by the time of its release more established brands had already begun to use full character models for their covers. One might make the argument that there was a saturation of horror sequels flooding the market in the late 80's and this one fell by the wayside in the midst of more prominent, household names. The film quality on the third one was surprisingly good, but the story and plot were so thin that the gore made up for any sort of length problems.
Underrated films exist in all genres. This is just one series that seems to be seeing a lot of recent press, but more on the lines of a remake and restructuring of the original story. We have seen this done recently by Rob Zombie and the Halloween franchise, and it's a winning formula in many senses. The most underrated films in my opinion usually revolve around similar stories in the genre. Sleepaway Camp could not get away from the constant comparisons to Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, even if the series was making a good attempt at breaking ground with a woman as the main killer. It just didn't sit well with the over saturated market. Underrated films usually don't get much attention until years and years after the release.
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