A generic but throughly entertaining slasher movie with plenty of blood and boobs. Anchor Bay US R1 DVD & Boxset.
the end of the 1980s, slasher films were in decline - market saturation
meant that films were having to go to more and more extremes to get
noticed. With the rise of home video though, there was still plenty of
demand, and so Jerry Silva, who produced the first Sleepaway Camp, decided to seize the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the ever popular Friday 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, and produce sequels to his own film.
a Summer camp somewhere in America, a group of boys are telling scary
stories around a camp fire. A girl, who has sneaked away to sit with
the group recants a story about a slaughter at a summer camp some
60 miles away, caused by a traumatised child - now that child is grown
up and has been let out of the asylum... suddenly the senior councillor
Angela appears and hauls away the errant girl - but after an
alteraction in the forest, the girl is left dead. Angela covers up
the killing by explaining that she had to send the girl home, but as
more and more errant campers start to be "sent home" it becomes clear
that something is up...
While Sleepaway Camp
is considered to be among one of the genre's most original films, with
a realistic summer camp atmosphere, a dark toned storyline and
some effective mystery surrounding the killer, Unhappy Campers
is to all extents just a generic slasher movie, even down to the
wisecracking killer and cliché characters. Fortunately the film is
highly entertaining throughout and certainly knows that it was not
designed to be taken seriously, so the wisecracks and clichés just
become part of the fun (the film intentionally referencing a whole
variety of other slasher movies), not to mention the gratuitous nudity
over-the-top deaths, but fortunately it avoids becoming pure comedy or
descending into slapstick. Although not as impressive as in the first
film, Unhappy Campers' scipt
does contain some well observed touches and characterisation,
particularly the awkward romances and a superbly funny fumbling sex
scene. Pacing is good throughout, and although there is no real
climax, the film ends very well.
known director Michael Simpson takes the chair for this and the third
film, and does a solid job with the shooting - most noteworthy are the
gore effects, that certainly do not betray the film's low budget
production, and are well incorporated into the end movie. The
soundtrack is a mix of rock music and it suits the film very well.
boasts a mix of familiar faces, names, and complete unknowns. The role
of Angela is played by Pamela Springsteen, best known as being the
brother of singer Bruce Springsteen, but fortunately she can act, and
very well, managing to tread the fine line between purely serious
acting, and daft wisecracking to make the character actually
believable. There is strong acting from both Renée Estevez, sister of
Charlie Sheen and now best known for her work on the West Wing, who
plays the 'good girl', and German born Walter Gotell, instantly
recognisable for his repeated role as Russian General Anatol Gogol in
the James Bond movies, who plays camp owner 'Uncle John'. The rest of
the cast give good performances, for a slasher movie, and there are
plenty of attractive girls.
While some might mourn Unhappy Campers
as being deeply inferior to its predecessor, slasher fans should find
plenty to enjoy in its ample supply of blood and nudity, and although
not very original, the script is well paced with some well
observed touches, while acting and production are above average for a
late 1980s slasher movie. Recommended to all slasher movie fans, and
generally recommended to trashy horror fans.
Anyone famous in it?
A variety of familiar names and faces, but no-one too well known.
Directed by anyone interesting?
Simpson - an occasional television director who's only cinema work
includes this film and its sequel, along with a comedy film Fast Food (1988).
Is it scary?
No, and it doesn't really try to be.
Some strong and quite realistic gore.
Several female topless scenes.
Who is it for?
Slasher movie fans should enjoy this knowingly cliché and gore filled genre entry.
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 anamorphic wide-screen. Colour. The image is generally strong with minimal print damage and light, but noticable grain.
Original English mono - sounds solid.
The disc includes:
commentary with director Michael Simpson and writer Fritz Gordon and
moderator/fan John Klyza - flows well, with some good information and
Behind the scenes footage - seems to be 16mm footage
shot on the set, including interviews with some of the special effects
crew, includes a voiceover by Michael Simpson. Very interesting to see.
Original US trailer (for the video premier release) - filled with spoilers. 2 minutes.
Teaser trailer for Sleepaway Camp III.
Extensive photo gallery, including on-set photos of the cast, crew and effects, plus artwork from various video releases.
EGG: A music track "More Love" by Ravenstone, originally to have been
used as the end credit music for this film, accompanied by photos and
details about the band.
as a single disc as detailed here, or the same disc is available as
part of the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit boxset, along with a booklet.
Region 1 (USA, North America) - NTSC
Anchor Bay UK release includes the same bonus features, plus remixed
5.1 and DTS soundtrack - detailed at DVD Rewind.
film is uncut as per the video original release, but was cut down to
receive an R rating when filmed, and these shots are not included on
this print [although some of the effects can be seen in the behind the scenes footage] - the missing shots are not
noticable when watching.
A less than original, but highly entertaining slasher film that contains all the required elements. Recommended for genre fans.
solid DVD release, with a good selection of bonus features. The print
does not include the historically cut gore moments, but these are now
believed to be lost and it plays fine without them.