Sleepaway Camp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Sleepaway Camp
SleepawayCampposter.jpg
Directed byRobert Hiltzik
Produced byJerry Silva
Michele Tatosian
Written byRobert Hiltzik
StarringMike Kellin
Katherine Kamhi
Paul DeAngelo
Jonathan Tiersten
Felissa Rose
Karen Fields
Christopher Collet
CinematographyBenjamin Davis
David M. Walsh
Editing byRon Kalish
Ralph Rosenblum
Sharyn Ross
StudioAmerican Eagle Films
Distributed byUnited Film Distribution Company
Release dates
  • November 18, 1983 (1983-11-18)
Running time87 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$350,000
Box office$11,000,000
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Sleepaway Camp
SleepawayCampposter.jpg
Directed byRobert Hiltzik
Produced byJerry Silva
Michele Tatosian
Written byRobert Hiltzik
StarringMike Kellin
Katherine Kamhi
Paul DeAngelo
Jonathan Tiersten
Felissa Rose
Karen Fields
Christopher Collet
CinematographyBenjamin Davis
David M. Walsh
Editing byRon Kalish
Ralph Rosenblum
Sharyn Ross
StudioAmerican Eagle Films
Distributed byUnited Film Distribution Company
Release dates
  • November 18, 1983 (1983-11-18)
Running time87 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$350,000
Box office$11,000,000

Sleepaway Camp (also marketed on VHS as Nightmare Vacation) is a 1983 exploitation slasher film written and directed by Robert Hiltzik[1] who also served as executive producer. The film is about the killings of teen campers at a summer camp. The film came at a time when slasher films were in their heyday, and is largely known for its twist ending which is considered by some to be one of the most shocking endings among horror films.[2]

Plot[edit]

The film opens in summer 1975, with John Baker and his two children, Angela and Peter out on a lake. After their boat flips, John and the children head ashore, where John's lover, Lenny is calling. They try to swim back, but are stuck. While unoccupied, a motorboat accidentally runs them over, killing John and Peter.

Eight years later, Angela is now living with her eccentric aunt Dr. Martha Thomas and cousin Ricky Thomas. Angela and Ricky are sent to Camp Arawak. Due to her introverted nature, Angela is bullied, her main tormentors being fellow camper Judy and camp counselor Meg. The head cook, Artie attempts to molest Angela until Ricky interrupts, and the two children flee. While Artie is boiling water for corn, an unseen figure knocks him off the chair, scalding him with the water. Ben eventually storms in, to the sound of Artie's terror-filled screaming. He is shocked by the chaos casted. Artie's incident is deemed accidental by camp owner Mel Costic.

Campers Kenny and Mike begin to mock Angela, prompting Ricky and his friend Paul to get into a fight with them. After the brawl is broken up by Gene, Ricky and the rest of the boys involved in the fight leave, while Paul stays behind and befriends Angela. Later, Kenny is drowned by an unseen figure, his body found the next day and his death also ruled accidental by Mel. Campers Billy and Jimmy also pick on Angela, pelting her with water balloons. Billy is killed as well by a mysterious assailant who locks him in a bathroom stall and drops a beehive inside it, leaving him to be stung to death.

The relationship between Angela and Paul grows strained when Paul kisses her twice as a goodnight kiss, causing Angela to have a flashback to her youth when she and her brother witnessed their father in bed with Lenny. Paul is then seduced by Judy, who lures him into the woods and the two are found kissing by Angela and Ricky. Guilty, Paul attempts to explain himself to Angela while on the beach. As Paul talks to Angela, he is shooed away by Judy and Meg, who throw Angela into the water. After being taken out of the lake by lifeguard Hal and having sand flung at her by several small children, a clearly disturbed Angela is comforted by Ricky, who swears revenge on her aggressors. After the affair at the beach, Meg prepares for a date with Mel. During her shower, she is killed by the unseen killer, who slices down her back through the shower stall with a hunting knife.

Meg's disappearance goes largely unnoticed and a social is held. At the social, Angela is approached by Paul, whom she tells to meet her at the waterfront after the social. The six children who threw sand at Angela are taken out to go camping with counselor Eddie. When two of them ask to go back, Eddie takes them back to his car and drives back to the camp. The other four children are hacked to bits with Eddie's axe when he returns. Soon after, Judy is killed by being raped with a lit straightening iron. The camp is thrown into a panic when Eddie announces the deaths of the four children. Ricky overhears this news before being attacked by Mel, who had discovered Meg's corpse and blames Ricky for her death. After beating Ricky mercilessly, Mel stumbles into the camp archery range, where he is shot in the throat with an arrow by the killer.

As the counselors and the police scour the camp, they discover Ricky, unconscious but alive, and Angela meets Paul on the beach, suggesting they go for a swim. Ronnie and Susie find a naked Angela humming to herself and clutching both a large knife and Paul's severed head in her hands. They are shocked to discover that "Angela" is actually Peter, her thought-to-be-dead brother. It is revealed that the real Angela died in the accident and Peter survived. After Martha gained custody of him, she decided to raise Peter as the girl she always wanted, already having a son and coming to the conclusion that another boy "simply would not do." It's also implied that Peter/Angela was mentally affected by seeing his father sharing a homosexual embrace with another man. The film suddenly ends with the nude and blood-covered "Angela", male genitalia in full view, standing before Susie and Ronnie, letting out an animalistic hissing sound. The image freezes on Angela's face, which fades to green over the course of 10 sec., then the credits roll.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

The film was released theatrically on a limited basis by United Film Distribution Company on November 18, 1983. On its opening weekend it had grossed a total of $430,000 in the US. When it opened, it was the top grossing film in New York, beating out its horror competition by taking in almost double the gross of Amityville 3-D. The film attained a modest success during its initial run.

Reception[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 70% based on 10 reviews.[3]

AllMovie wrote, "While most of the gender-bending story's sexual confusion is ultimately half-baked", "Sleepaway Camp is distinctive enough to warrant required viewing for genre enthusiasts."[4]

Sequels[edit]

In the late 1980s, Michael A. Simpson directed two sequels, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989). In them, Angela (now played by Bruce Springsteen's younger sister, Pamela Springsteen) resurfaces at a nearby summer camp, but this time masquerading as a counselor after a sex change that made her entirely female. Much like at the previous camp, she gleefully tortures and kills anyone who misbehaves or annoys her. These films had more of a comic tone than the original.

Another rogue sequel, Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor, directed by Jim Markovic, was partially filmed but never completed. In 2002 the unfinished footage was released and made available as an exclusive fourth disc in Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment's Sleepaway Camp DVD boxed set. In 2012 the film was completed and released on DVD and Amazon Video on Demand.

A new film, Return to Sleepaway Camp, was completed in 2003 and initially struggled to find distribution. It was directed by Robert Hiltzik, the director of the original 1983 film. He decided that this chapter will ignore the story lines of the previous sequels, stating that he wanted to pick up from where the original film ended. According to Fangoria.com the digital effects were redone from 2006 to 2008. The film finally found distribution, and was released November 4, 2008, by Magnolia/Magnet Pictures. Review copies of the film had been sent out, and the movie's screener had already been leaked prior to the release.

The purportedly final film in Hiltzik's Sleepaway Camp trilogy, titled Sleepaway Camp Reunion, was also announced to be in the making. Distribution had been arranged via Magnolia Pictures for DVD with a limited theatrical release planned in 3D, with filming set to take place at Hoberg's Club Resort in Northern California; however, it appears unlikely to be made.

Michael Simpson, the director of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, wrote a script for his series of Sleepaway Camp movies as well, titled Sleepaway Camp: Berserk. The other film in this continuity, Sleepaway Camp IV: Survivor, was released in 2012 as a final cut originally intended by the filmmakers.

Series creator Robert Hiltzik now owns the rights to the Sleepaway Camp franchise, which, in 2013, it was announced will receive a reboot.

Resurrection and legacy[edit]

In the late 1990s, Jeff Hayes and Australian web master John Klyza brought the fan base of Sleepaway Camp into the open, with the first official Sleepaway Camp web site. Today, both Klyza and Hayes have their own Sleepaway Camp sites, with Hayes running the official Sleepaway Camp and Return to Sleepaway Camp sites and Klyza running the official sequels site. Hayes did audio commentary for the first Sleepaway Camp on DVD, while Klyza provided commentary for Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland.[citation needed]

The film has been referenced several times in pop culture, such as:

References[edit]

External links[edit]