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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!

Importantly, 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.



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