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SLEEPAWAY CAMP SURVIVAL KIT

Review by Michael Jacobson

As a horror fan, I have to admit...Camp Crystal Lake never did much for me, nor did its resident hockey mask wearing serial killer, or as our reviewer Chastity so eloquently put it, a "homicidal goalie wannabe".  No, take me to Sleepaway Camp any day of the week.

In a decade renowned for its revival of the horror genre, the Sleepaway Camp movies are a trio of films that unfortunately seemed to miss the mainstream, but ultimately, it was no matter.  They almost immediately joined the ranks of the cult classics, where a choice but loyal following has kept them alive into the new millennium.

Now Anchor Bay, the best DVD producing studio for horror fans, have answered the call.  In addition to their previous terrific release of the first film, they have now rolled out Sleepaway Camp II:  Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III:  Teenage Wasteland.  These films are available individually, or as part of a cleverly packaged box set affectionately known as the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit.

Dressed up like a first aid box (and a used one, judging from the blood smears), the set contains all three movies from the trilogy, plus a "diary" booklet containing numerous photos and details about each film and its shoot.  BUT...if you know where to shop, you'll find an even better bonus waiting for you.

Best Buy stores across the country are offering the Survival Kit with a limited fourth DVD...the legendary "lost" production footage for the film that would have become Sleepaway Camp IV:  The Survivor.  Starring the lovely Carrie Chambers, the unfinished project resulted in about a half hour's worth of raw footage, some with sound, some without, featuring her running, jumping, screaming, and interacting with two bizarre characters (a ranger and a hunter).  The disc also includes what was to be the trailer for the film, which mixes footage from the original three movies in with the new stuff, for one of the campiest (no pun intended) coming attraction clips I've ever seen...golden!

For true fans, it's definitely worth the trek to your closest Best Buy for the extra disc (and frankly, not a bad price for the set...the stores in my city are carrying the Kit for $24.99 at the time of this writing).  You can tell you're picking up the right set by an extra blot of blood on the front that informs you that yes, you are getting the bonus fourth disc in that box!

Anchor Bay has once again put forth maximum effort to please horror fans with the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit.  Making all three cult classics available on DVD with nice extras is great news enough, but bringing all the available raw materials for the infamously never-realized fourth film as an added bonus is just a classy touch.  If you love horror, and you know who you are, consider this fun and frightful package a must-own.

And if you're not yet convinced, click on the titles below to peruse our reviews of the three Sleepaway Camp movies individually:

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp II:  Unhappy Campers

Sleepaway Camp III:  Teenage Wasteland

And don't let the bedbugs (or anything else) bite.  ;-)