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Body Count | Trivia |
theatrically 1988, Video 1989, 80 mins, Rated R.
Pamela Springsteen, Michael J. Pollard, Tracy Griffith, Written
by Fritz Gordon, Produced by Jerry Silva, Produced & Directed
by Michael A Simpson.
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.’ But when notorious transsexual psychopath Angela Baker
joins the horny teens, she shares a lesson in butchery with axes,
trucks, firecrackers, lawnmowers and more.
the splatterpunk heights of Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers, screenwriter
Fritz Gordon and director Michael A. Simpson had their work cut out for
them, not to mention that everyone involved with the previous entry were
due to carry over the workload mere days after the last shoot. With back
to back films, the course usually taken is to create one long film to be
split into two. Not so in this case.
While the second film was a spoofy knowing
commentary on late 80's gore, the third chapter in the trilogy was immediately
self-aware, smartly not attempting to continue two's traditions but taking
another road altogether while keeping the base elements in place. The
story radically alters the norm from the get go, opening in an urban
setting where teen Maria Nicastro is chased by an Angela-manned truck
and quickly killed.
In Camp New Horizons, teen lite melodrama
is usurped by a very timely multicultural and class division angle, handled
of course, with laughs, but also with a surprising degree of seriousness,
evident in the misunderstandings characters have for one another based
on image... "spic" Tony and cop Barney to name some. And it's those who
turn out to be exactly as dense as their stereotypes suggest that receive
priority attention of Angela and her assortment of kill methods.
Teenage Wasteland flipped the plot points
of Unhappy Campers on its head in the name of narrative diversity. Whereas
2 had an abundance of nighttime scenes and deaths, 3 takes place mostly
in sunlight, also a commended deviation from the trappings of most horror
movies. 2 was at its core a love triangle but the central view this time
is squarely on Angela and her skewed world view. In place of 2's frenetic
pacing is again, the exact opposite... witness quiet introspective moments
such as Angela in the kitchen, reminiscing in silence of times gone by.
This chapter willingly slowed down to allow the characters and situations
a chance to breathe.
Pamela Springsteen gave it her all playing
a psycho who in turn played a deadpan teen (love the irony), veteran goofball
Michael J. Pollard mugged his way into another memorable turn as the lustful
Artie variant Herman, and forget Mellanie, Tracy Griffith hit her marks
as the girl-next-door Marcia. Even more minor roles from Jill Terashita
and Kim Wall are fondly remembered by most, even if simply for their exquisite
After the first two films populated with
such free falls of dizzying gruesomeness, gushing blood and cut up kiddy
carnage, there was no way the MPAA would let the third film hit a home
run with the blood buckets. And indeed their scissors excised several
"money shots" of gore. But it still works - the corpse cabin in part 2
showed all, yet here we see dark cabins full of victims, more suggestive
than last time.
In the sea of genre flicks and even within
the threesome of Camp visits, Teenage Wasteland has received the short
end of the stick. But operating from that place is what helps make it
what is is: an underrated underdog of a home video classic.