8/21/08

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989) starring Pamela Springsteen, Tracy Griffith, and Michael J. Pollard. Directed by Micheal A. Simpson.

The film opens up with a girl getting ready for camp, but sadly she never makes it. On the way out of her city home shes run over by a maniacal garbage truck! A truck driven by the one the only, every one's favorite post op tranny Angela! Thats right Angela is back. Why? Who cares, but after having got away scott free from last years killings at Camp Rolling Green she's ready for some more killing in the name of keeping campers in line. So she assumes the campers identity Maria Nacastro (many of the characters this time around have names beholden to West Side Story) and catches the van carrying a mix of rich spoiled brats and inner city troublemakers off for fun, sun, and most likely the end of their lives.

At camp Angela passes herself off as the 17 year old Maria and joins her troop for an overnight camping excursion in the woods. Her councilor Herman Miranda (the wonderful Micheal J. Pollard of Bonnie and Clyde, Scrooged, and House of 1000 Corpses et al) send the other kids off to fish while he gets his freak on with one of the young campers. Needless to say Mr. Pollard has quite the small amount of screen time in this flick. One by one Angela works her way though her group then goes and joins another one this time headed by Herman's incredibly lazy wife Sandra. Rinse and repeat as Angela kills her partner in a trust exercise by dropping her from the top of a flagpole and running over Sandra's head with a lawnmower after she had buried her neck deep in garbage. From there she moves on to another group of campers.

This group is headed up by cop Barney Whitmore. He is here at the camp because last year his son Sean was one of Angela's victims and he's here to protect these kids. Well when Angela comes to join his group he's not buying it and wants to take Angela/Maria back to Sandra. On the way she twists her ankle and they take her to the main lodge to get her some first aid. There they discover Sandra's beheaded body and the jig as they say is up. Angela dispatches with the cop in a most underwhelming manner and then makes her escape, but as she runs off good girl Marcia (Tracy Griffith, Melanie's younger sis, to carry on a tradition) tackles her and they brawl resulting in Angela getting stabbed over and over by the good girl gone very bad. They cart Angela off in an ambulance, but she still manages to kill the paramedics before the credits roll.

This movie moved from one killing to another at a breakneck pace leaving almost no time for the horror of the first or the subtle comedy of the second installment. It does have one classic scene of the series when Angela goes to the camp kitchen where she had dispatched of the cook in the first flick. It beings back a rush of good memories for her as she reflects on all the great and happy times she's had at camp. I've read that the movie had a hard time getting an R rating and had to make serious cuts to get it. Having watched the unrated version on DVD I marvel at how times have changed. In the era of torture core its hard to believe that this minuscule level of gore 19 years ago was outrageous.

There was an abbreviated attempt in 1992 to make a fourth movie and currently the director of the first movie has a movie called Return to Sleepaway Camp set to be released on DVD. (as I understand it will ignore the events of the second and third film) Meanwhile the director of the two other films is trying to get another film, Sleepaway Camp:Berserk, off the ground.

All three of the Sleepaway Camp films are worth watching if you like some good slasher camp.....or if you like a good slasher at a camp. There's also a great site out there http://http//www.sleepawaycampmovies.com/index.shtml that covers all the films and news about the cast and directors.

That about wraps up the inaugural reviews here. I'll be back again in a couple of days with the next one. Until then, see ya Moonies.
The Lightning Bug Rating

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