Schlock & Gore: Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)

School’s out for the summer and that means all the kids are off to summer camp so their parents can have month-long forays into the sexual explorations they have been discussing after-hours all year long. In honor of this magical time of year, I watched the greatest American slasher of all time. Sleepaway Camp II!

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Sleepaway Camp II cast in a traditional camp photo

“But, Rat!”, you exclaim. “The original is considered the slasher classic!”
Smdh (that’s “shaking my damn head”, for all you parents out there).

Sleepaway Camp is good, but is a much slower slasher that relies on a twist. Sleepaway Camp II is just a well written, perfectly paced murder romp, with kills that begin almost immediately.

But before we get into all the tasty spoilers and such, I’d like to reflect on my time as a camper in the nineties.

I went to a camp called Cliff Springs in western Missouri for six consecutive summers. We had a fiery old camp director named Mimi, and Pooter, a gassy English bulldog that never left her side. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mimi was the one that first spat on the spit rock. It sat on a path through a small wooded section that sat between the main meeting and eating area and the cabins. If you didn’t spit on the giant spit rock while passing between these areas, you would have bad luck. To top it all off, you were more likely to be targeted by Ezra…

If you were a chickenshit, the counselors would tell you the story of Ezra while you tried to sleep. I don’t remember much of the story. I last heard it 16 years ago. What I do remember is that he was a camper during the first year Cliff Springs opened. He both killed a bunch of people with an axe and also returned as a paranormal entity after the fact. Ezra’s axe was still in the tree just outside the campfire. The tree had grown around it.

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The cabins Ezra would murder you in.
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Girls from my camp sacrifice a body to keep Ezra at bay (1998 or ’99).

As a kid, the idea of Ezra scared the flip out of me. As an adult, the idea of Sleepaway Camp‘s Angela Baker is much more terrifying.

Angela never died.

The character of Angela is a meek 14 year old girl who is actually her 14 year old brother, Peter, who was raised as his sister Angela after she was killed in a boating accident. This is the twist learned by all after the mass murder at camp Arawak.

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Felissa Rose told me the first time she ever saw a penis, it was her own from Sleepaway Camp.

In Sleepaway Camp II, however, she has found her voice. No longer meek, Angela (expertly played this time around by Pamela Springsteen) has become obsessed with camp and now works as a camp counselor by the name of Angela Johnson at Arawak’s neighboring camp, Camp Rolling Hills. She urges all campers to behave properly, and any rebellious kids are “sent home” (murdered to death), which is something she claims to dread but clearly takes joy in. And what joy! Pamela Springsteen makes Angela the most likable of all horror slasher villains with her genuine and adorable love for camp and her tongue-in-cheek one liners.

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Our brothers are very famous aren’t they?

She kills with a drill, with a Freddy Krueger glove, with a Leatherface chainsaw, with battery acid, by decapitation, barbecuing, and even by drowning the sexy, slutty bad girl, Ally, in an outhouse.

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If you can’t tell by now, Sleepaway Camp II doesn’t take itself seriously. But don’t let that be a deterrent! It is expertly crafted at the same time, while imbuing a well-balanced chunk of spoof into the mixture. The main characters are all named after brat pack actors and the body count is tremendous. In one scene we see Angela walking around in the cabin and testing out various objects, trying to decide what to kill the gossiping camper in the next room with.

The highlight of this movie has to be the old abandoned cabin scene near the end, where you get to see just how deranged Angela really is.

So, youngsters! Try to behave this summer while your parents are back home hosting nightly orgies and swinger parties, lest you get hacked to pieces by Angela or Ezra or One-eyed Lars or whoever. Now let’s sing The happy camper song! Ohhhhhh–

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10/10

Stay slime, and be rad at all times!
-Rat

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