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Vintage Video - Sleepaway Camp (1983) This Is Not Your Average Summer Camp Experience

Summer camp has a history in the world of horror for manifesting a setting where outdoor activities, teen fornication and slaughter ensues. With the infamous Camp Crystal Lake in the "Friday the 13th" series being, hands down, the most prominent, writer/director Robert Hiltzik put his own memorable spin on making a film apprehending suspense in a summer camp nightmare.

Sleepaway Camp (1983) opens with an unfortunate boating accident killing Angela’s (Felissa Rose) father and brother, although the actors in this segment don’t seem too concerned compared to the impact of the tragedy. Jump ahead eight years and Angela is living with her odd, yet extremely annoying, aunt and protective coun Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten). It’s off to Camp Arawak they go for the summer, and scarred from her misfortune, an introverted Angela has a hard time fitting in with the other campers just giving them a blank, awkward stare even as she’s spoken to.

Soon enough, terrible things begin to happen to one staff or camper after another around Arawak. Funny how only those who had given Angela a “hard time” are the ones to kick the bucket list. Artie, the head chef of the camp who radiates clear gns of a pedophile that nobody seems to comprehend, is the film’s first unlucky departure as he is scolded with boiling hot water all over his body (check out that pot that barrels down on him, I’ve never seen one so big!). He well deserved it I must add.

As Hiltzik’s film debut, as well as having only been involved in the Sleepaway series throughout his career, he creates a moderate amount of suspense throughout, although it’s not difficult to identify the perpetrator in this one. But there are a few decent slaughters, including a knife down the vertebral column through the shower wall, an arrow through the trachea of the camp counselor, and a swarm of bees attacking one camper who only wanted some privacy while in the can. The effects department also did an above average job, the finest being the body of a camper who had been killed by drowning as he is found underneath a canoe as the lifeguard stumbles upon him.

If you haven’t seen this initial installment of the Sleepaway franchise, I will not spoil the concluon but all I can say is the twist involving the film’s protagonist (or antagonist depending on your own perspective) will most likely bring about one of those “What?!?” moments. Although the series had mainly moderate success, it’s the finale that will forever be its trademark.
buried13 Wednesday 9/28/2011 at 12:56 PM | 83407
Even though Sleepaway Camp was very quiet, I thought this movie was actually not all that bad. Some parts are a little stupid, but overall it was good. I've seen the 2nd and the 3rd, but I have yet to see Return to Sleepaway Camp. I heard that one sucked but I want to see if its good or not for myself.

horror3747 Saturday 10/01/2011 at 10:42 PM | 83569
That ending of the movie disturbed me when I was 8! LOL
SKAPEGOAT Sunday 10/02/2011 at 03:06 AM | 83586
I never watched it as a teen but I recently went o n UTube to see it. Its a bit cheesy but it was 80's..The ending was not anything I definitely had a WOW factor
odalisnyc Sunday 10/02/2011 at 03:16 PM | 83645
The ending was extremely different from what you would see in your everyday horror movie. I was shocked by the ending.
horror3747 Sunday 10/02/2011 at 05:33 PM | 83652
On another note, fairly odd that the director dedicated this film to his mother... but hey everyone's upbringing is quite unique.
buried13 Thursday 10/06/2011 at 01:20 AM | 83884