Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Well, this movie is…different. I’m not quite sure how to put down my thoughts about this one without giving away the major plot point at the end. It’s got an interesting approach to the slasher, that’s definitely true. Bottom line, try to watch this one without having the ending spoiled for you. Trust me, it’s worth it.

From what I’ve read of other folks’ thoughts, there are a lot of opinions on the big twist and whether it is demeaning to certain groups of people (and yeah, I believe it can easily be interpreted that way). If I were to get into why, that would give away the “secret.” What I can say definitively though is that this is no way to run a summer camp. Some of the counselors are good, sure, but quite a few are inept, the guy running the place is a crook and might be a pedophile, the head cook is DEFINITELY a pedophile, and the rest of the cooks are stereotypes, though at least they’re not pedophiles. As for the secret, it’s what makes Sleepaway Camp the Crying Game of slasher movies.

This movie is also surprisingly nasty with its kills despite not being particularly graphic during the actual acts, though the corpses shown in the aftermath are pretty grotesque. Drownings, stabbings, death by bees, arrows, maiming with boiling water…heck, one unlucky camper even gets raped with a hot curling iron! That’s just cruel, even if she is the primary antagonist at the camp. While there can be a variety of morals taken from the movie depending on how you look at it, perhaps the most important one to focus on is simply “Don’t be a jerk!”

Yeah, this movie is pretty crazy but a surprising amount of fun. At times it felt like it was going to be just another Friday the 13th rip-off, but Sleepaway Camp is anything but. It occasionally seems to verge into parody territory, but it nails how to do the slasher and gives red herrings that the characters react to in the worst possible ways.

And then there is the ending…well, it’s a challenge depending on how you view it, most certainly. Wow.

I also want this trailer to start with, “Hello, mother. Hello, father.”

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