Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers
I recently passed up copies of both Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland that were reasonably priced and, as luck would have it, when I returned to buy them only a couple days later they were gone. All of us horror hunters have such a tale, I’m sure, of some harder to find title we passed up that we’ve never seen again and although one can order said title online we all know it’s more exciting to actually find it at some hole-in-the-wall shop for a decent price than paying some Amazon price-gauger an absurd amount of money for a tape or disc. Anyway, it seems that luck was on my side after all since I ran into another copy of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (maybe it’s not as rare as I thought?) yesterday and watched it as soon as I was able, the anticipation and excitement running high. The question remains, of course, was it worth the wait?
Okay, for starters, Sleepaway Camp II is rather different and certainly more purposefully campy and over-the-top than the original. Whilst the original Sleepaway Camp relied more on a solid mystery plot the second film dives right into excessive sex and violence and does not relent at all … really, I mean it. Sleepaway Camp II is 79 minutes chockfull of all the genre’s guilty pleasures with none of the genre’s substance; well, okay, the film features one overly insane moralist who only likes good boys and girls and, as you can imagine, there’s not going to be many (if any) people left standing by the tale’s end at a young adult’s summer camp where every one is fooling around with every one every chance they get. Granted, in slasher films it is not uncommon for there to be a somewhat subtle theme of morality running throughout the film since it’s usually the teen who wasn’t smoking, drinking and being promiscuous that survives while the other ones all end up in bloody chunks but this moral theme is generally not a slasher film’s main focus. Sleepaway Camp II, no doubt, recognized this trend in slashers and decided to take it as far as it could go with no subtlety or class. Otherwise, the acting is actually pretty decent considering the kind of film we’re dealing with (especially Pamela Springsteen’s performance) and the gore is actually rather convincing as well.
If you’re looking for a film with any level of substance and depth I would suggest going for some Cronenberg or Lynch but, on the other hand, if you’re looking to have a good time watching a truck-load of teens getting slaughtered in a number of creative ways (how’d you like to be slowly drowned in an outhouse toilet?) then Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is your one-way ticket to satisfaction. There’s blood, boobs, mullets, bad jokes, shameless references to the “big three” of 80’s horror (Freddy, Jason and Leatherface) and, yes, there’s even an image of a girl on the film’s poster who never even appears in the movie … what more could you ask for? A great, fun-filled flick that was definitely worth the wait! Highly recommended.