Movie Review: Sleepaway Camp Franchise, It’s a Boy!

Over the years, fans of the Sleepaway Camp franchise often debate over the ‘two’ Angelas, transgender analysis, Aunt Martha, Ricky being a killer,  and whether or not Molly survived Unhappy Campers. There are so many questions so I decided to watch them all again and get with the cast to settle all of the confusion. Sometimes I think it’s the most debated franchise. The filmmakers have given us so much to be confused about. Either this is what they were aiming for or it all boils down to terrible script writing. I think Robert just enjoys confusing his fans. Isn’t that poster art rad? It’s actually a t-shirt you can buy thanks to Kevin Miller over at House of Mysterious Secrets!

Lets start off with the original film and the opening scene. John takes his children, Angela and Peter, on a boating trip where camp counselors lose control of their motor boat and results in the death of John and Angela. This is why women shouldn’t drive. The sole survivor, Peter, is taken in by his Aunt Martha (who is a doctor) and she raises Peter as a girl, giving him Angela’s identity. Because she’s a doctor, I’m guessing that she gave Peter several pills to induce hormones. This makes his features feminine and his hair grows rapidly fast. If I remember correctly, at one point we see “Peter” talking to Aunt Martha and he has bandages wrapped around his head. Was Aunt Martha having him operated on or was this due to injuries after the boating accident? We know that Peter doesn’t have a sex change operation until years after the killings because Angela tells us in Unhappy Campers that taxes paid for his sex change operation while he was in the asylum. This is laughable because that would never happen. Taxes don’t pay for sex change operations and doctors spend a lot of time evaluating patients that are about to undergo surgery to make sure they are stable enough to handle it. Peter obviously wasn’t stable because he had just killed several kids at camp. This is only a movie though and it’s suppose to be absurd. In Return to Sleepaway Camp, they tell us to completely disregard the sequels 2-4. Return is 20 years after the original film and Angela Baker is back in action. We will get back to that after discussing the films in order because fans seem to think that the director is trying to tell us that Angela actually survived the crash and her and Peter are two completely different people. Below is a screen cap of what’s obviously a short haired boy, the only one moving after the accident. That is Peter. I also have a screen cap of the bandages I mentioned earlier.

I loved the original. There are VHS tapes on video shelves that stood out to all of us correct? Sleepaway Camp called my name several times before I finally rented it but when I finally did, I was scarred! The ending still scares me. Felissa Rose has an unforgettable face and that noise she was making added on to the terror! I don’t believe any of us were expecting a penis either. What’s not to love about Sleepaway Camp? I liked how young some of these actors were because in most film, they use older actors to pull off the parts. Judy will always be my favorite though. She’s absolutely adorable with long dark hair and an attitude. What is Karen Fields doing now and why wasn’t she involved with more films? In most cases I hate the mean girls and want to see them die but I found myself rooting for Judy just because she was so damn good! She also doesn’t like wet kisses. Thank you! I am not the only one with a saliva phobia. I couldn’t wait for Meg to die because having sex with old men is gross. I don’t get what’s appealing with old ugly men in checkered knickers and navy blue knee high socks. EW! Ronnie’s short shorts and muscles are always a laughable sight, along with his acting. I’m pretty sure the other gay man at the beginning of them film was wearing eye liner or naturally has eyes like that like Richard from Lost. Aunt Martha will always be my favorite though. Desiree Gould brings something “special” to the screen and it’s unfortunate we do not see enough of her. Her presence in Sleepaway Camp was one of the definite highlights of the film. People get confused and think she’s a man but Desiree Gould is a woman with unique features. I’m not sure if the filmmakers wanted us to think there was something up with that because of the gay couple and her being a “doctor.” Sadly, we aren’t given enough information about Aunt Martha. We do know that she packed a WHOLE bag of chips. Wasn’t that nice of her?

Something I found confusing in the first film is when Judy is about to get murdered. She sees a kid in the doorway. This kid looks like a boy and NOTHING like Angela. Was this just a dumb mistake by the filmmakers? Jonathan Tiersten (Ricky) actually was the kid in this shot and he was used for a lot of the killer POV shots. His hands and body were used for all of these shots because Felissa Roses mother didn’t want her being used for those particular scenes fearing that it might have some effect on her.

Another interesting factor here is the flashback scene when Angela/Peter is making out with Paul. He thinks about the time when he saw his father and lover making out and that it was okay for two men to be kissing. Then he thinks about the time when he is sitting on the bed with his sister (who is now dead) reaching out to touch her. It makes me wonder about Angela’s attraction towards girls and boys. You see her starring at the girls a lot and watching them dress but you also see Angela/Peter happiness around Paul and wanting his company. So Angela/Peter is clearly confused about their sexuality and may suffer from split personality disorder and post traumatic stress. Those are just some of my thoughts on the issue. I quite enjoyed the original Sleepaway Camp. The only beef I had with the film was that horrible ballad “You’re Just What I’ve Been Looking For” by Frank Vinci.There’s that image that left most of us scarred for life!

Sleepaway Camp II & III:
I can see why Teenage Wasteland never gets any slack but Unhappy Campers was actually pretty decent. Why all the hate? I wont spend paragraph after paragraph on these two because I have so much to say about the first and last. Unhappy Campers was hardcore and Angela reveals to us that she got a sex change operation while she was locked up. I already told you what I thought about this so I wont rant on about it. This is where fans seem to get confused, thanks to Return. A fan asked, “Cousin Ricky says Angela has been locked up for years and he visits her every month. So there’s no way the Angela in parts 2 and 3 could be the same Angela right?” WRONG! Return is the true sequel to the original and they completely disregard parts 2 and 3 and whatever 4 was suppose to be. You can play with these theories all you want but the fact of the matter is, they no longer count. Or you could completely disregard Return and think of parts 1-3 as a trilogy and the only Sleepaway Camp films. The world is your oyster. Any who, thoughts on these two films; Ally is another bitchy character I wanted to live, maybe I am twisted? She is a true nudist and has an extremely HOT sex scene. I think we get to see more breasts in this film. I was happy to see the stoner sisters die because I get annoyed when films exaggerate and stereotype pot smokers. It’s always laughs and Chinese eyes. However, they are children and if I remember correctly I laughed like a hyena when I was younger. I enjoyed all the death scenes. Teenage Wasteland is not my favorite and it’s rare that I actually take it off my shelf. In fact, I may have only watched it twice since I bought it years ago. Michael J Pollard always gives me the creeps and we get to see another young girl trying to get in a geezers pants. Gross. Jill Terashita may be my favorite. She has the most perfect set of breasts I have ever seen and made my list for perfect breasts in a horror film from her scene in Night of the Demons. The breasts at the beginning of the film with the tattoos “Milk Shake” over them…. meh I could have gone without. There’s a lot of stereotyping in this film and lame kills. The stereotyping was fun I guess. If I had to decide who I liked better between Felissa Rose and Pamela Sprinsgteen playing Angela, I would pick Felissa just because she is so damn creepy. She will always be Angela to me but Pamela did a decent job. Initially, it was given an X-Rating for the gore. You can see the deleted scenes on the Survival Kit Box Set. Fans seem to be confused about Bonnie and if she survived. It’s revealed in Teenage Wasteland that she did not survive in Unhappy Campers. She dies off screen and Angela moves to the city to become a trash can man… or woman whatever. Then she takes the identity of milk shake tits and kills again during Teenage Wasteland. It’s retarded to me that they would allow kids back to the camp with a killer on the loose. Not only is Angela back but the arresting officer is back as well and she murdered her son.

Sleepaway Camp IV:
Unfortunately, they couldn’t finish this sequel because they didn’t have any funding. Only a few scenes were shot but they’re available on the Survivor Kit. It centers around a survivor of the trilogy and she has nightmare of the ordeals. Word is that they actually just completed the film and it will be released this year. Interesting. It began production in 1992 so I am interested to see what they have done to it. I don’t think that this girl is suppose to be Angela since she has been under psychiatric value and is considered the only survivor. I guess they could have mistaken Angela for the only survivor but they would recognize her appearance. Not sure where they’re going with this or if Angela will even be a part of this sequel. If more people put money into all of the films after the original, I feel they wouldn’t have taken years to make and they would be worthy of watching. Only hardcore Sleepaway Camp fans are interested. The films running time is suppose to be 70 minutes with the 30 minutes of footage that was shot in 1992 and cut up scenes from the previous films as flashbacks. Fangoria reported this news back in 2010 and made a fantastic poster!

Return to Sleepaway Camp:
I waited impatiently for this film to come out. When they announced the films completion, it took a few years for them to go back and enhance the special effects. By the time it was FINALLY finished, I lost interest. I didn’t get around to watching the film until a few days ago. I was actually impressed by the special effects but I found myself so annoyed by the character Alan, I didn’t know how much more of him I could take. I wanted him to die. Are we suppose to feel sorry for him? He’s a spoiled obnoxious little shit that denies perfectly good chicken and corn because he wants an ice cream sandwich. He would act like a dick towards other kids then turn right around to the counselors and cry, “They’re always picking on me and I didn’t do anything. You should give me food.” He’s also dangerous. I don’t care what kind of development disorders you have. You cannot go around throwing knives and going after younger kids with hairspray flame throwers. To top it off, his acting was dreadful. He cries too much and he’s not very good at it. His best friends are a pack of bullfrogs and he sits on a log and pets them while he cries like a bitch. This boy must have some sort of developmental disorder because of his actions and his only come back was, “YOUR ASS STINKS!” Clever. I think that Alan was just a red herring. It’s easy for everyone to think he could be the killer because the killer was bullied in the first film. We rooted for Angela but how many of you honestly rooted for Alan?

Random thoughts while watching this film: Good lord that cop has the worst prosthetics I have ever seen. What is the deal with laughing at someone who is giving a blow job but not laughing at the person who is receiving? The obese black girl was my favorite character. The kid with braces covered in panties had the best scream. Ronnie’s shorts weren’t as short but he’s still in shape and looks like he’s going to pop a vein in his neck when he gets upset. I missed Aunt Martha. Smoking cow manure, I’m not buying it. That has to smell like shit.

Now, lets get this Angela/Peter business settled. In the end it’s revealed that Angela was the cop all along (shocking) and she’s the killer. Fans get confused and think that Peter has been in the asylum all along and the real Angela survived making that two cross dressing killers with homicidal issues. To back up their claims they say that Ricky visits Peter in the mental institution all the time and fairly recently. Then they will say, “Well the director told me that she did survive and they are two different people.” My response is that Peter could have easily escaped after the last time Ricky had his visit. Even the newspaper clippings shown at the beginning prove that Angela did in fact die in the boat accident.

I am friends with Jonathan Tiersten on Face Book and have exchanged words with him a few times. I just HAD to ask him about all the theories on Angela surviving all along and there being two completely different killers. Jonathan told me, “I think I just ad an aneurism. Honestly, the first time I heard this theory was when Felissa told me when we were on set in 2003, I looked at her and went, “Huh?”. As time has passed this theory seems to be getting some legs, but Robert plays his cards very close to his vest. It is impossible to get a straight answer out of him.” Just as I imagined, Robert is trying to confuse his fans! I’m sticking to my theory, Peter escaped the nut house and has killed again! There is an interview with Felissa Rose on here under “Interviews” but it’s old and for some odd reason I never asked about this. I did ask her about Aunt Martha though. Three more arguments settled after I took screen caps of the newspaper clippings in the opening: Peter’s last name was not Baker, it was Thomas. So where does the name Baker come from? Even the Aunt’s last name is Thomas. Then there’s a clipping that says “Arawak Victim To Undergo Life Saving Surgery.” So who got the surgery? My guys would be Ricky because he gets the ever living shit beaten out of him in the original film. Correct me if I am wrong please! One of the clippings say that Ricky Thomas was charged with assault in 1988. If you read the clipping further it tells you that he assaulted a heavyset man at a Pub.