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( Images | Body Count | Trivia | Credits )

Details: Released theatrically 1988, Video 1988, 79 mins, Rated R.

Credits: Starring Pamela Springsteen, Renee Estevez, Written by Fritz Gordon, Produced by Jerry Silva, Produced & Directed by Michael A Simpson.

Plot: Five years after the horrific slaughter at Camp Arawak, transgendered lunatic Angela Baker has become a counselor at Camp Rolling Hills. But Angela is about to teach ‘bad campers’ a brutal lesson in survival when these horny teens are sliced, stabbed, drilled, barbecued, chain sawed and worse.

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Notes: Making a gutsy entry into the dwindling dead teen market, 1988's Unhappy Campers was a breath of fresh air. It opens with a double whammy of chilling tales told by light of a campfire, first of a girl's trek into a mausoleum, then a vivid re-telling of the first film's events. Not a film to get too steeped in suspense, minutes later a teenager has her brains beaten in and tongue sliced off, her only epitaph a witty wisecrack. And then the blaring rock music begins...

Director Michael A. Simpson, in collaboration with screenwriter Fritz Gordon under backing of enterprising Double Helix Films, crafted a fine mix of blood, sex, and big hair. Nowadays we champion Scream as the be-all, end-all of self-referential horror movies. And rightly so, but Sleepaway Camp 2 did it 8 years earlier. And one could argue to more literal effect. Gore and breasts flying about with almost equal screentime, oozing pop culture consciousness and even impersonators of horror icons Jason, Freddy and Leatherface running around at one point. Who needs Freddy Vs Jason? It already happened, and to excellent effect!

Whether it was talent or publicity that was the main attractor, it can't be denied that the cast is an eclectic group. Renee Estevez, the virginal heroine Molly, sister to Emilio. Pamela Springsteen, the petite but deadly Angela Johnson, sister to The Boss. Walter Gotell, fatherly Uncle John, former James Bond villain. Virtual newcomers Tony Higgins, Valerie Hartman and Carol Chambers, as well as seasoned performers such as Brian Patrick Clarke help round out the solid line-up. An equal star in the film is Bill "Splat" Johnson's Special FX. Not spared as if precious fuel, but not of the splash-a-bucket-of-blood-on-the-wall variety either, the assortment of burnt bodies, detatched limbs, leech-blotched faces and slit throats are of the professional and entertaining type.

In the days of old, Unhappy Campers may have been a guilty pleasure for some. But today, plenty of eyes see it for what it is. A memorable slice of an era gone by. Get a copy... watch it more than once, as therein lies the fun: around the upteenth viewing, if not immediately, you'll realize that late 80's horror doesn't get much better than this.



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