SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS
Review by Michael Jacobson
Pamela Springsteen, Renee Estevez, Brian Patrick Clarke, Walter Gotell
Director: Michael A. Simpson
Audio: DTS HD Mono
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Shout! Factory
Features: See Review
Length: 79 Minutes
Release Date: June 9, 2015
are you looking for, Angela? A
people know that horror films are my guilty pleasure, but one movie whose
virtues I’ve always gladly trumpeted over the years has been Sleepaway
Camp. It was a modestly crafted
but surprisingly sharp and effective thriller with one of the all time best
surprise endings I’ve ever seen.
it came time for a sequel, new director Michael A. Simpson decided Sleepaway
Camp II: Unhappy Campers should
be less sleepy and more camp. Long
before any of the Scream movies, this was the first horror flick to be
aware of its own genre and spoof it, with blatant homage to the likes of Freddy,
Jason, Leatherface and more. It’s
a film filled with gratuitous nudity and graphic violence…in horror, the two
go hand in hand, you know.
Springsteen, sister of rocker Bruce, took up the role of Angela in the second
movie, and she is the true shining star. She
delivers her campy dialogue with all-shucks earnestness, then dispatches the
“bad campers” in increasingly gruesome ways.
She’s the cute young counselor with one bad-ass attitude.
tongue is firmly in cheek here (except when it’s on the ground in a memorable
early scene)…gone is the more direct thriller approach that the original had,
along with a spellbinding whodunit plot. It’s
replaced by a lower order approach…one that emphasizes blood and breasts over
brains. But the results are
decidedly entertaining, on a completely base level.
like the slicing and dicing would suggest, this is a movie made up of parts that
are individually greater than the whole. My
favorite part has to be the boys’ counselor reading off a list of
“missing” items, and wondering what exactly Angela is going to do with each
and every one of them! Either that,
or the terrific revelation of Angela’s hiding spot near the end.
But then, I’m forgetting the death-by-latrine, the battery acid, and
the sequence when Angela does her takes on the other horror icons of the decade!
some reason, despite its cult status, the Sleepaway Camp films seem to
have fallen through the cracks a little bit.
It’s a shame…there’s plenty of fun to be had in this twisted
trilogy. Angela is more than an
imitator of Freddy, Jason, or Leatherface…in my book, she’s every bit their
equal…women’s liberation at its finest.
don’t know if this film has gotten the care it deserved over the years, but it
doesn’t come across quite as good as the first movie. Shout! Factory once again salutes horror fans with a high
widescreen transfer, which is a plus, but because of age (and the
ever-troublesome 80s movies curse), the overall look is a bit hit-and-miss.
Lighter sequences boast terrific coloring and more detail, darker scenes
are a bit softer, but with minimal grain. No
compression is evident. In general,
a decent effort, but one that falls short of Part I.
uncompressed mono track is adequate, but nothing to get excited about.
Dynamic range is sorely missing when the screams come rolling in and the
hard rock songs come charging through, but apart from that, dialogue is clear
(if somewhat thin sounding), and nothing much seems missed effects-wise.
A pedestrian offering; nothing more or less.
disc starts off with a terrific and fun commentary track, hosted by webmaster
John Klyza and featuring director Simpson with screenwriter Fritz Gordon.
It’s an entertaining and informative listen…the reminiscing is fun
and right on target, because Klyza doesn’t miss a detail or a chance to bring
up a piece of trivia. Horror buffs should really enjoy this one.
There is also a 13 minute collection of outtakes and behind the scenes footage narrated by Simpson, the original trailer, a teaser trailer for Sleepaway Camp III, a stills gallery, and part one of a new two-part documentary "A Tale of Two Sequels".
Sleepaway Camp II is a scream from beginning to end. Terrifically gory and horrifically funny, it takes on its own campy (no pun intended) tone and runs with it. If you like horror and have missed out on this one, it’s worth a look.