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Sleepaway Camp II and III
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland
by John Bikowski
Anchor Bay has released the follow-ups to last year's Sleepaway Camp DVD. In the original slasher, a timid little girl named Angela goes on a kill spree in order to keep a twisted secret. Angela is really a boy, raised as a girl by his/her loony mom. Viewers learn this twist after seeing his/her wiener swaying in the wind. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers takes place several years later with Angela (played by Bruce Springsteen's sister) posing as a Camp Rolling Hills counselor. Pamela Springsteen's top-notch tongue-in-cheek performance makes this film one of the all-time best slasher spoofs ever. I enjoyed the tone of this film much more than I'd hoped. Basically, Angela goes on a one-by-one butchering extravaganza with no one escaping her wrath. The interesting part is that she's killing people because they do drugs, drink, smoke, swear, have sex, etc. She considers herself to be some sort of cleanser of society, which, of course, is ridiculous. But for some reason, you can relate to the humor of her character and, in a sick way, you root for her to keep killing. Even when she's going after the virginal goody-goody heroine played by Renee Esteves (Charlie and Emilio's little sister). There are plenty of entertaining thrills to be found courtesy of a giant mullet, death by leeches in an out-house toilet, barbecued sisters, flashing breasts, and the crowd-pleasing Happy Camper song. To round out the fun, Anchor Bay created a full slate of extras. Besides the 79-minute widescreen presentation, you also get an audio commentary with the writer and director, behind the scenes footage, outtakes, a teaser trailer for part three, a theatrical trailer, and stills galleries. Look for the Easter egg that features a cool tune by Ravenstone.
The next Anchor Bay release is also directed by Michael Simpson and is entitled Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland. After escaping capture in Part II, Springsteen continues her role as Angela Baker, the transsexual psychopath. Here she begins by splattering an inner city kid on her way to camp. Angela then assumes the dead girl's identity in order to attend Camp New Horizons. The idea behind the camp is that if city punks were to spend some time with rich kids, perhaps there would be some type of universal harmony. Yeah, sure. As soon as the obnoxious kids resort to their typical behavior, Angela begins hers. Even the camp director, played by the always hilarious Michael J. Pollard, isn't left out of the bloodlust. Pollard has a little tent tryst with a big-boobed counselor that ends with a tree branch slammed through the back of his throat. Eventually, everyone is killed except for two lovers: A Chachi-like city kid and the rich but still nice Tracy (Melanie's sister) Griffith. Angela decides to let them go, but Tracy opts for launching a possibly lethal stabbing frenzy of her own. For your viewing thrills, this film features death by lawnmower, firecrackers up the nose, beheading by axe, booby traps, and arms ripped off by jeep. Though I found this third film slightly less enjoyable than the second, Anchor Bay compensates by including excellent deleted scene footage. Most of these removed scenes are extended gore sequences that were toned down to secure an R rating. For example, you can now see much more squashed brains when one girl is dropped head first from the flagpole, or when the female counselor is ravaged by the lawn mower. All horror films should come with this type of uncut extras. Also included with the 80-minute widescreen film are stills galleries, a theatrical trailer, audio commentary with the director and writer, and behind the scenes footage with outtakes. Look for the Easter egg that has a very humorous newscast about the film. If you don't already own part one, you may want to purchase the Sleepaway Survival Kit that includes all three films plus a collector's booklet and a fourth disc about the making of the never-finished part four.