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Archive for March 5, 2023

Sleepaway Camp 3 : Teenage Wasteland


Sleepaway Camp franchise

Whisleepaway-camp-3-horror-movie-dvd-coverle director Michael Simpson was still in the middle of working on Sleepaway Camp 2,  the New York company producing the movie, Double Helix Films, was so excited by the footage in the dailies that they were seeing that they decided to proceed with a part three immediately, while Simpson’s crew was still in place. They extended the shooting schedule and signed the contracts, and by the time production wrapped on Unhappy Campers, writer Fritz Gordon had a full 82 page script completed and ready to be shot by Simpson.

Sleepaway Camp part three opens up in an inner-city, with a truck running down a punk who’s on her way to camp. Well, not anymore… She gets run down by a dump truck driven by our hero Angela, complete with a new haircut and new outfit. It’s time for her to take that punk’s place on the way to a camp-out for underprivileged kids.

Unlike our previous films, this is more of a traditional camping trip. We’re looking at tents and fishing, not cabins and activities. The whole idea is some upper crust liberal image22stypes are trying to give back to society, though they’re more interested in the publicity and skimming off the top than in actually helping people.

They’re also mixing in some preppy types, to try and foster a greater understanding between the two classes. It’s a small group of kids this time around, which pretty lets much let you know that everyone here is going to die. Other than returning Pamela Springsteen, there’s no real notable actors of not here, although I do recognize one of the bad kids as Jill Terashita, fresh off of her role in Night of the Demons a year prior. She’d only do one more film, and ended up doing a spread and playboy after her acting career dissolved. We also have Tracy Griffith in the cast as our final girl. The most interesting things about her though are the no-nudity clause in her contract (In this movie? Ha!) and the fact that she’s the sister of Melanie Griffith. When you can’t get the big star, go for the sibling.

All the kids are interviewed, which doesn’t sit well with Angela, trying to hide behind her sunglasses. She’s afraid that the reporter might have recognized her and slips her a little image2spackage of white powder. The reporter doesn’t realize that her drugs have been poisoned and she ends up as Angela‘s second victim… helping to ensure her anonymity.

We get some getting to know you stuff where the counselors announce they’ll be dividing the lot of them into three separate groups, each heading in a different direction to camp out for the next three days. It just so happens that the third counselor is a cop, worse yet, he’s a cop whose son was killed by Angela in the previous film. He arrives just in time for a couple of the kids to get into a fight,complete with a switchblade. The cop restores law and order pretty quickly, despite the hard feelings.

The girls go into the back to change into their camp shirts, where they discover graffiti with Angela’s name on it. That’s right, they’re back at the camp Rolling Hills campgrounds! We’re not gonna see much of the camp building though, Because even though we were filming on the same site, an old YMCA Campground, most of the buildings had been torn down in between the films to make way for condo development, as well as this film being written so that most of the time takes place in the forest. There’s a slightly warmer look to this movie than the previous one, being shot in Atlanta during the fall… much later in the season than when they begin Sleepaway Camp 2, just  three or four weeks prior. In just that short time, the leaves have changed from green to orange giving the film an entirely different look.

Over with the cops group, he’s trying to ease the kids into camp life… They’ll catch fish tomorrow but for tonight, the roast hotdogs while he tells them the backstory about his dead son. Over in the husbands group, Angela is chopping wood.

“I’ve never chopped wood before, but I’ve chopped other things!”

He sends most of the kids down fishing, that way he can get pervy with one of the female campers. Over at the pier, they’ve managed to catch one fish, shot off some firecrackers and reel in an old hockey mask… one that looks suspiciously like the Bloody Murder mask we saw in Sleepaway Camp part 2. Angela makes it back to the camp ground early, and discovers a husband and his paramour… and she goes off, being the husband to death with a large stick, before turning her weapon on our trampy camper. It’s quick and low fi, but at this point they were running out of money and time and couldn’t afford the script’s suggested kill of a flaming stick to the crotch.

The remaining two campers in this group don’t notice that the leader is gone, which is just as well because Angela’s about to dispatch the Pyro with a firecracker to the face and go back to the old trusty stick trick with the other one (according to the director, he was supposed to get covered in spray paint and then lit on fire, but at that point they ran out of spray paint so when in doubt, go back to the stick). She drags them all into a tent which she sets on fire and makes her way out to the wife’s group.index2

Of course for her to join the group, theoretically, somebody has to go back and join the pervy husband’s group. Angela chooses poor Jill (she always gets it early!) and leads her out into the woods before going at it with an ax. Sadly, the shot was supposed to be far more graphic, but the ratings board threatened and X rating unless they trimmed it (you’re going to hear that story a lot with this film…).

Over at the cop’s group we get a little bit more of exposition dump. There’s no pictures of Angela Baker except from seven years ago and she still look like Felissa Rose. And when asked what he would do if he ever met her, he grimly declares he would kill her.

Over at the wife’s group, when she isn’t lounging in a lawn chair, browsing a magazine and dreaming of her upcoming European vacation, she’s doing trust games. The next game involves each person taking turns leading a the other one through the woods, blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back. Angela takes full of advantage of this, leading her victim back to the campground buildings where she strings the mean girl up on the flagpole, and then drops her so that she cracks her skull on the pavement.

Once Angela gets back, the wife sends her off to throw out the trash behind the old dining hall. They’re using the interior from one of the few remaining buildings still standing from the last film and it gives us the opportunity for Angela to have some flashbacks from Sleepaway Camp 2, giving us just a slimmest threat of continuity. Interestingly enough, it’s not real footage from the second film… They’ve re-created some of it using different kids as campers, and giving it a fuzzy looking sheen, suggesting that Angela is remembering things wrong, through rose colored glasses.
She returns to her campsite, the wife sends her and one of the boys, the jock, after fish. He’s hoping to get some, because after all, those inner-city girls tend to have a reputation. When he goes in to cop a quick feel, you can see in Angela’s eyes that he’s sealed his fate.
They bring fish back to the campsite and the wannabe gangsta is asked to clean them, his response involves pulling a pistol, and Angela’s about done. They’re going to get theirs, but first she has to take care of the lazy wife. She leads her through the woods blindfolded, much like her last victim, but her this time, she’s going to be a little bit more creative. The wife gets thrown into the trash pit.

index121“By the way, your husband fools around!”

Angela buries her up to her neck, then runs over her with a lawnmower. It’s another one of those shots it had to be truncated for the R rating, and I’ve got to admit I kind of miss seeing blood spray from underneath the lawnmower, but the filmmakers make it up for me because Angela’s immediately onto the next kill, tying up the jock before attaching the ropes to a jeep and flooring the gas. We’re up for the most cringe raps song ever next, as Angela records her own rhyme, and tosses it into the wannabe gangstas tent before bashing him alternately with a sledgehammer and a large stick.
There’s only one group left to go to, and that’s the cops group, which means it’s time for the climax. Angela quickly dispatches the cop with a gun and chases down our final girl with a jeep. She pops back to the campground, retrieving the three remaining campers and tying them up (Lesson one for Sleepaway Camp. NEVER let someone tie you up. It will not end well for you), forcing them to search through the cabins to find the missing final girl. It’s a great way of showcasing the previous victims and triggering a nice little trap for a couple of them. Now it’s time for the final girl and Angela to fight for their lives!

The survivors are whisked away in a cop car and Angela rolls out into the night in the back of an ambulance. It’s slightly ambiguous whether not she survived, but according to the director, she absolutely did live, because his intention was to continue the sequels. Sadly, his ideas never went anywhere, because Robert Hiltzik would come back into the picture to pitch his own follow up, a direct sequel to the original called Return to Sleepaway Camp.