Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sleepaway Camp - Didn't See This Ending Coming

For this blog entry, I have to give credit to the Double Feature Podcast. Whenever I see a new episode queued up into my I-Tunes account, I'm always surprised how their tastes align with mine. The hosts (Eric and Michael) are either covering films I've just watched or movies I plan on viewing. Double Feature has a reoccurring event called Killapalooza, where the crew screens all the movies in a horror franchise. Past Killapalooza's have covered Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hellraiser, and even the Amityville Horror flicks. One of their latest installments was on Sleepaway Camp.

Having never heard of this franchise, I decided to listen to the episode, ready for any spoilers until Eric and Michael announced: Do not listen to this episode until you have at least seen the first Sleepaway Camp. So I decided to take their advice, and wow, was I actually surprised!

Sleepaway Camp is a 1983 Slasher film directed by Robert Hiltzik. The premise is simple, kids at Camp Arawak are brutally murdered one by one. These deaths include:
  • The head chef doused with boiling water (this guy deserved it, he was a pedophile)
  • A camper drowned in a capsized canoe
  • A camper stung to death by bees in a bathroom stall
  • A camp counselor stabbed in the shower
  • A camper raped with a curling iron (this was the "Mean Girl" of the camp)
  • Three elementary campers mutilated by a hatchet
  • The camp commissioner shot in the neck with an arrow

The film focuses on one particular camper, Angela (played by Felissa Rose). Angela is extremely shy, making herself a target for bullying and is constantly rescued by her likable cousin Ricky. As the murders progress throughout the film, all signs lead to Angela being the murderer. So as I'm watching this film, I'm asking, do the Double Feature guys really think a female murderer is really such a shocker?!?! But I shouldn't question Eric and Michael as the final shot totally took me by surprise! Angela is a boy!!!!

That final frame was so horrific between the music, noise, and image! After reflecting on the film, all the clues were there, but I just didn't see them coming. As we find out, poor Angela was "masculinely" repressed by Ricky's mother and was raised as a girl. So no wonder she became a serial killer and didn't like to be felt up by boys...

I'm not sure if I'll ever watch any of the Sleepaway Camp films other than the chance to see footage of teenage girls running for their lives in slasher tradition (and possibly Felissa Rose). But that's one of the great benefits of listening to Double Feature's Killapalooza's so you don't have to suffer through horrible sequels.

So on Death List Five, Sleepaway Camp ranks #3.

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