Interview With Jim Markovic (2006)
Jim Markovic was the mastermind behind the unfinished Sleepaway Camp IV:
The Survivor in 1992. Mr. Markovic was kind enough to answer my questions
over the phone, and what was revealed is interesting.
Markovic was offered the job by Double Helix Films after already having
a secret hand in Sleepaway Camp 2 & 3: He engineered some of the sound
FX for the films and was the one that cut together the trailers for them. There was a budget allocated for filming
and special FX, so shooting began in October 1992 with a script by Tom
Clohessy (a writer of classical horror). Carrie Chambers, girlfriend of
the Double Helix Films chairman, was cast in the lead.
Footage was intentionally shot for the trailer (though would have winded up in the film). It was that
unedited footage and trailer that was released on the bonus disc, but
that was not all that exists - because after a few weeks, a few days of the actual film
was shot before the project was cut short due to the bankruptcy of Double
Helix films and crash of the market in general.
I asked him about the storyline, which
followed amnesic and nightmare-plagued Allison who travels to the remains
of the campgrounds in order to regain her missing memories. In the footage
there is a scene where Allison is on the dock in a bikini and the camera
pans up to the hills where a lone tent stands. Markovic said that the
scene was supposed to be the character thinking about how she’s
gotten over the horror and glad it’s all behind her when seeing
the tent suddenly triggers a flashback. I also asked about the characters
she meets. The hunter was meant to die by gunshot, but this and the ranger’s
death were not yet filmed.
He confirmed the story was designed with
a more erotic thriller slant than outright slasher gore because that’s
not what the foreign markets wanted to buy anymore. To that end, it was
more psychological with many twists and turns in store. Allison was meant
to make you wonder if she was Angela remembering her memories, or perhaps
it was all in her head. The mystery element worked because we’re
still wondering all these years later.
So who was the killer? The answer is,
there may not be a real answer. There was no ending set in stone. As of
the shooting, writer Clohessy was working on it and several ideas were
discussed (one involving the Ranger’s mutilated corpse which you
may have read about on this site in the past). But regardless of the killer’s
identity or resolution to the mystery, they were definitely going to bring
in Pamela Springsteen!
Markovic said there has been interest at several points in the past of
completing the film. He regularly passes Camp Tamarack in New Jersey where
the film was started - it still exists in a decayed state (as these pictures
show, but would work because the story called for an abandoned and forgotton
campground). He said the principle participants could be contacted, and
mentioned 16mm and digital as shooting possibilities.
More location images here.