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( Images | Body Count | Trivia | Credits )

Details: Released theatrically 1988, Video 1989, 80 mins, Rated R.

Credits: Starring Pamela Springsteen, Michael J. Pollard, Tracy Griffith, Written by Fritz Gordon, Produced by Jerry Silva, Produced & Directed by Michael A Simpson.

Plot: 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.’ But when notorious transsexual psychopath Angela Baker joins the horny teens, she shares a lesson in butchery with axes, trucks, firecrackers, lawnmowers and more.

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Notes: After 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 bodies.

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.



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