Sunday, 3 March 2013

Movie #4 - Sleepaway Camp (1983) - Review

It is no secret that I have a huge huge passion for 80’s slashers - blood, gore, a cheesy storyline, I love it all. If you throw in some inventive kills it’s almost guaranteed that I’m going to adore it, and all of those ingredients, blended together with humour, a cracking storyline and a side order of fun 80’s fashion produce this movie. Sleepaway Camp is one of the best horror movies the 80’s produced, and one of my very favourite camp slashers of all time.

From the opening scene, with it’s incredibly dramatic, completely camp shock-thriller score, we are given the backstory of Angela, our protagonist, and we see that as a child she is witness to an horrific accident involving her twin and father. Fast forward a few years and Angela is being shipped off to Camp Arawak for a lovely summer of fun, by her Aunt, who is fantastically creepy, one of the creepiest, shudder-inducing characters I have ever come across in a movie like this. From here on in, standard slasher characters abound; you have the jock, the bitch, the tarty girl and the camp staff - the lecherous cook, laid back counsellors and over the top manager. But what helps make Sleepaway Camp a stand-out camp slasher is the fact that these characters aren’t just vacuous airheads there for the sole purpose of being fodder for our killer, they are deeper, well thought out characters, each of whom adds another dimension to the movie. This richness of cast and character also provides the intrigue needed to build suspense in a film like this - we don’t know who the killer is, and you don’t find out until the unforgettable last scene in the movie. Quick warning here - if you haven’t read any spoilers about this film then PLEASE DON’T! I won’t give any here, and trust me, you want to go into this without having it spoiled for you - that way it stands a chance of becoming one of your favourite 80’s horrors too. Angela and her cousin are also not the standard protagonists you expect in a camp killer movie, and it is these small but significant changes that elevate Sleepaway Camp above most other films in the same category as it.

It’s not long until people start to die, and here we come to one of the greatest things about the entire film; the kills. Unusual, creative kills are just about my favourite thing about films like Sleepaway Camp - give me over-the-top, blood-drenched, hilarious, improbable deaths any day over a shotgun blast or a stabbing, they are a fun, guilty pleasure of many horror fans and Sleepaway Camp provides that fun in absolute bucketloads. The kills are beautifully inventive, not many films either before or after this have come close to capturing the bizarre, ridiculously entertaining deaths that occur here. Featuring some of my favourite kills of all-time, I’m sure you’ll find a new gem to add to your list too.

This movie is an utter delight from start to finish.

Every minute spent at Camp Arawak provides more delight than the last, leading up to that glorious final scene which is by far one of the most memorable of any 80’s flick I’ve ever seen.  

If you love slashers, in particular cheesy, 80’s camp-fests then you’re in for the biggest treat. Granted if you’re looking for a serious genre flick, you will hate this. It hasn’t got a serious bone in its body, but if you want to have a bucket load of fun then you really cannot go wrong.


The Good: The glorious kills, fab 80's atmosphere and that ending!

The Bad: It is very cheesy, not a bad thing for me but maybe for some!

I'd recommend this for: Any fan of 80's slashers, or anyone wanting a super fun movie

Overall verdict: Must see, everyone that loves horror has to see this one

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