Interview With Michael Simpson (2002)
In August 2002 I had an opportunity to chat with director Michael Simpson
via Instant Message about the DVD releases of the Sleepaway Camp Sequels
now that they're out in stores. I thought it'd be the perfect wrapup coverage,
to talk to the man himself.
"I am delighted
to know that a new generation of fans will be able to enjoy these camp
classics," Simpson said. The fans' enthusiastic interest in seeing
these films come out on DVD gave Anchor confidence to invest the money
necessary to bring them into the digital age in first-rate condition."
Simpson stated that the DVDs were created from low contrast prints struck
from the original negatives that were recently discovered in pristine
condition at CineFilm Lab in Atlanta, Georgia. This process allowed for
the best possible look for the movies. The DVD releases feature the original
versions of the movies approved by Simpson and not the unauthorized edits
made in some subsequent VHS releases of SC2&3 in international markets.
"Fans can be assured that the DVD releases of Sleepaway Camp 2&3
do not feature additional cuts like the first Sleepaway Camp DVD did,"
Simpson stated. "I want the fans to enjoy these movies in all their
rigor mortis glory the way they were intended to be seen."
Additionally, the soundtracks for SC2&3 were
transferred from the original analog masters and have been digitally enhanced.
A host of extras were gathered by the director. "I believe the behind-the-scenes
documentary will be of particular interest to fans," Simpson noted.
"It shows rehearsals for several key scenes including the infamous
Mac Truck sequence in the opening of SC3. It also gives you a real feel
for what it was like on the set during the production of the movies."
I have a bag full of questions from the campers visiting the site.
Campers has gotten some particularly good reviews with its release on
DVD. DVDManics gave the movie four stars, calling it a "cult classic."
The review said "there's no question that this is one of the better
horror movies from the 80s."
generally don't read reviews but I did read that one because someone sent
it to me.
appears that the critics finally caught on to what the fans knew all along.
Not only is Unhappy Campers the best of the SC trilogy but it's one of
the best horror films from the post-Golden Age era of slasher flicks.
are made for the people who watch them so in a way you could say that
the fans are always right.
called Pamela Springsteen's performance "wonderful and very memorable."
They also noted that your movie's use of self-referential pop humor was
an influence for movies like Scream and its sly humor makes Unhappy Campers
all the more fresh.
me, the Sleepaway Camp sequels are where horror and comedy meet in a dark
quote. It's also good to see Unhappy Campers get credit for its stylish
and imaginative deaths. DVDManiacs called them "among some of the
most memorable of any horror film." That's a helluva compliment.
amazing for a movie made 15 years ago for a buck fifty. Richly deserved
credit goes to Splat Johnson, his effects team and the rest of the crew
who did a lot with a very small budget.
gotta tell you the fans are really loving the gore footage that was cut
from the movies. It bloody rules. You just gotta love the brains splatter
in the flag pole scene.
they say -- a mind is a terrible thing to taste... or is it waste? J
know the DVD sales numbers from Anchor Bay are huge. They apparently completely
sold out of the first pressing and had to rush another pressing out before
Altherr and the other people at Anchor Bay and Crest National did a great
job of authoring the dvds. Their hard work shows in the finished product.
And Anchor's marketing team is top tier.
does it feel to be hailed as a "cult director" now? That moniker
is splattered above the title on both sequel dvd boxes.
feel I should be serving Kool-Aid or something - J
always have great Sleepaway Camp trivia for the fans. Anything new you'd
like to share?
read a great piece the other day on the origin of the mullet.
official hairstyle of the Sleepaway Sequels. I'd think it started with
all the big hair metal bands of the 80s.
the first golden age of the mullet was in medieval times.
Europe the peasants and noblemen cut their hair short in front so they
had clear vision while working in the fields. I think it had something
to do with being afraid of Viking raids.
kidding? Maybe that's why all the campers were wearing them. They were
afraid of Angela sneaking up on them.
like a great topic for the chat room. J. The style can be traced back
all the way to Egyptian hieroglyphics.
bet most of the fans don't know that.
the first use of the term in a movie was Cool Hand Luke.
Paul Newman flick.
it, George Kennedy's character refers to some dim wit con with long hair
as a "mullet head."
say you're on top of your mullet trivia!
want to thank you for joining Fritz and me on the commentary.
I had a great time, man!
It really was a big help to have a fan there who knew the movies so well.
Usually when a director does a movie commentary track it's recorded a
relatively short time after the movie is made. To try to remember something
you did 15 years ago was particularly hard. It's like discussing some
long forgotten ex-girlfriend or something. You don't even remember exactly
what she looked like.