Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Sleepaway-Camp-IIIThis summer, SCREAM FACTORY™ invites horror enthusiasts and movie collectors to further venture into the great outdoors and experience what Camp Rolling Hills and Camp New Horizons have to offer – nature walks, randy campers, puritanical camp counselor, murder and a feast of gory goodness!  Fans of the popular SLEEPAWAY CAMP movies rejoice as the collector’s editions of SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS and SLEEPAWAY CAMP III: TEENAGE WASTELAND hits on home entertainment shelves everywhere on June 9, 2015 from SCREAM FACTORY™.  Both movies debut for the first time on Blu-ray™. Each collector’s edition Blu-ray+DVD combo pack features anamorphic widescreen movie presentation, exciting bonus content, newly rendered retro-style artwork, a reversible wrap with theatrical key art and more!


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Welcome to Camp New Horizons, where an autumn retreat brings together a group of obnoxious rich kids and surly city thugs for an “experiment in sharing.” Under new inept management, this is the ideal setting for notorious psychopath Angela Baker to join the camp and do what she does best – eliminating “immoral” teenagers with everything from a knife to a lawnmower.

The third entry in the Sleepaway Camp series was shot back to back with the second one.  Michael A Simpson says he got maybe a weekend off in between shooting the films.  They didn’t set out to be shot this way, but knew there was a chance. During the shooting of the second film, the third one was optioned and greenlit.  So this film, Teenage Wasteland, was being written and having pre-production and casting done while the second one was still out shooting.  Pretty crazy ordeal, but that’s horror in the 1980s for you.

Teenage Wasteland continues on the vibe set in Unhappy Campers.  There is a lot of animosity toward this third film, that its just a complete waste.  This has never really sat with me, as these same people love the second one.  Part three here is really just more of the same.  This one I think supplies some more colorful stock characters that work better.  There’s also a turn to a little more eye opening humor as well.

What the problem is, is that it is more of the same and it was shot back to back with the second.  Things start to get a bit tired after a while as you’ve seen this all before.  The production itself seems to be a tad out of gas as well.  The filmmaking just isn’t as energetic on the second jaunt with Michael A Simpson and company.  Sleepaway Camp III isn’t some mess or anything, its just something that’s out of steam.

An unfortunate turn for the movie also came because of when it was coming out.  It was released in 1989.  If you’re a horror fan, you know the MPAA was gunning for horror films and giving them roadblocks any way they could.  Teenage Wasteland kept getting an X-rating.  It then wound up being hacked up to bits and losing some of its greatest violent moments and practical effects work.  Luckily there’s a workprint on here that you can check out this lost material for the very first time in as close to as complete a form as there was.

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland isn’t my favorite Sleepaway Camp film or even sequel.  However, I still find plenty of fun with it and think its a nice extension of the second one.  Its FAR better than the “Return” film that came out seven years ago.  These second two films, while connected with the first, really sort of set themselves apart and distance themselves from it.  Michael A Simpson crafted a world all its own, based upon a film prior.  I really do enjoy the heck out of both of them and am very glad they exist.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Sleepaway Camp III features a pretty much identical transfer to Sleepaway Camp II, so I’ll say what I said there –  It should be noted that the original materials for this film have been lost, as has been made apparent by Scream Factory.  I know that, but I don’t know what the source was they were using for this transfer.  For what it is, it looks pretty good.  Its not a massive step up from the DVD, but its a significant one.  Detail on hair looks impressive, as well as table top gloss and smudges.  The closer up and static the shots are, the more detail is able to seep through.  The nature stuff like trees and the like all look pretty nice as well.  This isn’t going to blow people away, but for fans like myself, it should impress as this is probably the best Sleepaway Camp III is ever going to look.

Depth:  As to be expected without the original materials, its a little more flat.  However, movement is solid and background stuff looks pretty decent.

Black Levels: Blacks look pretty dark and some detail can be lost in lesser lit scenes.  I didn’t really spot too much crushing at all though.

Color Reproduction:  Coloring takes on a very nice accurate approach.  The gray uniforms looks really nice, as down the green of the forest.  There are some moments of crushing with the colors thought too.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones go for a natural look, proving consistent throughout.  Skin detail is merely okay.  Close ups provide the best detail, as the further out shots look a bit smooth and there’s not much to go off of.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is a nice layer of grain throughout to go along with some dirt and specs.  The film does feature some noise, crushing and compression instances.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This track is a bit lighter on the low end details, but it does the trick.  Its definitely a nice step up from the DVD as it features a bit more loose and free feel.  The score, dialogue and effects all get there own sort of space to shine in this balanced mix.  The dream sequence sounds nice and wicked here too.  There are some moments that feature some analog sounding recording, but that’s more source based than anything.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, clean and clear.

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Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland comes with a reversible cover featuring the original VHS box art.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Michael A. Simpson and Writer Fritz Gordon – This is ported over from the previous Survival Kit DVD release of the film.

A Tale of Two Sequels: Part Two (HD, 26:12) – The continuation of the previous documentary from the Sleepaway Camp II disc.  Michael A. Simpson and crew are joined by a few actors as they reminisce about this quickly started and rushed film, the MPAA and the fans and legacy of the two Pamela Springsteen sequels.

Behind The Scenes Footage (HD, 8:28) – Ported over from the Anchor Bay DVD set, this behind the scenes on set footage features a commentary by Michael A. Simpson as it plays.

Workprint Of the Longer Cut – From VHS (HD, 1:24:48) – This version of the film features all the effects before they were cut.  However, its far from a finished cut of the film as its missing audio in sections, has no music and you can here the director giving commands during shots.  The VHS quality is pretty good (Still poor, because its VHS) and very watchable.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 18:46) 

Home Video Trailer (HD, 2:38) 

Short Film: Tony Lives! (HD, 1:10) – The actor who played Tony does a little TMZ-type bit where he’s being hounded by a paparazzi as he exits his hotel room.  Its something, totally fanfiction, and not much.

Still Gallery – 47 images of promotional photos, behind the scenes photos, special effects testing, posters and magazine inserts.

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Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is more of the same, continuing the splatstick comedy tone set with the second one.  If you enjoyed that, then you really have to find some fun here.  Unfortunately, this one got hammered by the MPAA so the gore is much weaker.  LUCKY YOU though, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray Collector’s Edition features the entire workprint of the film with all the gore effects in place.  If you don’t want to watch that whole thing, they provide a deleted scenes real with 18 minutes worth.  This release has some good audio and video and the extras are to die for.  I can’t imagine people buying JUST Sleepaway Camp II or JUST III.  I think of these two as a tandem release.  Alone these releases are fantastic, but together as a pair they are spectacular!



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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