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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – May 22, 2014

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist THUMBIf you read my Blu-ray reviews, today’s pick was hinted at a little while back and should be pretty obvious.  So, lets go back to camp already!

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Sleepaway Camp 2-3 wishlist

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)

Yes, we’re going back to Sleepaway Camp!  I’m actually a pretty big fan of these two ultra campy horror-comedy sequels to the original.  Both films were shot back to back by director Michael A Simpson.  The films usher in a very comedic tone and go after parodying the slasher films of the era and horror movies in general.  They really work with me on multiple comedic levels.  One, their own comedy actually provides some solid “in” humor while providing a campy setting (da dum shish), but they also sort of fall into that unintentionally humorous production style as well.  You can enjoy these on the level you can enjoy a horror comedy film, but you can also enjoy them as you would something like a Miami Connection or Ninja III: The Domination.

Sleepaway Camp wishlist 1

Felissa Rose was asked back to reprise iconic role, but was in college at the time and decided to keep the focus on her studies.  In her place, we get Pamela Springsteen.  Yes, she is the sister of THAT Bruce Springsteen.  Pamela may not have been the greatest actress, but I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy her a lot in this role.  She is super committed and adds a touch of charm to the maniacal crazed killer Angela Baker.  You also are given a real sense of her psychosis and she plays the character as if she feels she’s doing right.  The films waste no time in trying to hide or disguise if she’s the killer or not.  If anything, its these sequels are some of the few horror movies where we actually are hitching a ride with the killer and following her as she commits the slashings (Part III especially).  But, Pamela is a fun Angela and sort of like an early years Sarah Silverman as a killer.

Sleepaway Camp wishlist 3

In the second Sleepaway Camp a new camp is opening near Arawak.  Angela is already inserted in the mix as a counselor.  As kids start being bad and also poking fun at her she starts killing them one by one.  This film also stars Emilio and Charlie’s sister Renee Estevez as well as General Gogol from the James Band films (Spy Who Loved Me through The Living Daylights.  Its also quite humorous that every character in the film is named after a member of the Brat Pack.  This one is a cross between having main characters and following Angela on her spree.  We have crazy setups and corny dialogue.  Its a very simple movie.

Sleepaway Camp wishlist 2

Sleepaway Camp III is really more of the same.  This time its a year later and Angela kills a camper who is waiting on the van to take her to camp and poses as her at the newly reopened camp.  The campers go out in the woods to camp this time and Angela begins murdering them right and left.  This sequel is even simpler and is pretty bluntly more to the point.  The characters are split into three groups when the go off in this one and each group’s characters are named after characters in The Brady Bunch, West Side Story and The Munsters.  This one also was one of the films notoriously chopped up by the MPAA in 1989.  There are a lot of cool ideas and setups for kills, but you barely get to see ANYTHING a lot of the time due to cuts.  And rather frankly those cuts don’t help the feeling that a lot of this film feels like they spent all their money on the second movie and used what was left.  There is some humor that is better than the second film, but largely its a cheaper version or more of the same.

Sleepaway Camp wishlist 5

Sleepaway Camp II actually had a small limited theatrical release but was primarily as straight-to-video affair.  Teenage Wasteland never went theatrically and was straight to video.  Sleepaway Camp II’s VHS box (pictured above) is actually what drew me to this series.  Its got the girl with the backpack that has a hockey mask and Freddy’s glove hanging out of it.  Now, I’m not a dummy, I didn’t think the two were going to appear in the movie, but it was enough for me to go “Hmmm…who are you Sleepaway Camp”.  It sort of announced that it was ready or wanting to play with the big boys to me.  I had no idea that II and III were comedies at the time (so the box makes even more sense).  And its not a lie either, both those items do appear in the film.  And the hockey mask shows up in III and somebody asks what the day is to the response “The 14th, Saturday”.   As for the third one’s VHS case, well it’s really no lie.  It probably should have been called Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Boobland, because wow, there are plenty of those on display in the film.

Sleepaway Camp wishlist 4

Oh, boy, it’s time to pick on Anchor Bay again isn’t it?  And they just made that incredible Halloween announcement too.  But, they own the rights to these films last we all know.  And they are out of print on DVD too (and go for ridiculous prices).  They came out with a medical box looking boxed set back in the day called the Survival Kit which I have and that was awesome.  I was waiting for them to do something like that for Blu-ray, but its never happened.  They even sublicensed the first one to Scream Factory.  So, maybe they can sublicense these two to them as well.  They’re really short movies, so a shared disc double feature would be ideal.  As for bonus features, an unrated cut of the third one would be cool, but who knows if the negative is still around.  Honestly someone probably junked it.  So, I would take an interview with Pamela Springsteen or a commentary with her and that would more than satisfying.  As I said, I’m a fan of these two sequels.  I’d love to have them on Blu-ray.

I hope these trailers provide a bit of nostalgia for a different time in movies and home video!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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