A high school slacker who's rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.
Pivotal scenes that take place in the woods are tinted blue, same as the woods scenes in Heathers (1988). In one scene Wichita says, "If you ever find yourself turning into one of those, eat some Drano." In Heathers (1988), Heather Chandler died from drinking Drano. See more »
At the end of the movie when Wendy misses the bus, it switches to the inside of the other bus and in the top left corner when they show Witchita on the bus, you can see Wendy standing at the back of the bus before she gets on at it all. See more »
Most stories with a bunch of camp counselors have some serial psycho who systematically butchers everyone one by one.
I don't know, it's kind of funny. I mean who needs a serial psycho with a chainsaw when we have ourselves?
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What so many have tried, works only here. "Wet Hot American Summer" tried it and failed, "Scream", although scary and brilliantly referential, lost its emotions on the way, and Kevin Smiths "Mallrats" caught but a few glimpses of it. Only Daniel Waters managed to pull it off. Here it is ladies and gents, a heartfelt homage to something (seemingly) impossible to pay tribute to - late seventies/early eighties teen flicks (camp or slasher factor put aside).
Lacking a strong narrative, "Happy Campers" seems to be drifting along without a clear flow, but the way the movie changes gears from obvious dumb-founded Teen-Comedy to a rather insightful character study is just amazing. To direct something bad is easy, to direct something good is hard, but to take something that was once bad and elevate it to a meaningful and even touching movie about adolescence is next to impossible. Sure the odd bits and pieces sometimes don't fit together, but anything this loosely structured is bound to have a few things falling by the way side.
Nevertheless, I think only a handful of people could have been able to get away with a movie of this sort. Waters with the "Heathers" credit under his wings is definitely among the chosen ones. And after not having been connected with any kind of movie, at least credit wise, for almost a decade, this directorial debut contains all the trademarks that made him a cult hero for so many aspiring screenwriters (me being one of them).
The Verdict: The same that applies to "Heathers" - either you get it or you don't. If you do, I should agree with some of the other reviewers that this movie has cult potential. If it leaves you cold...it wasn't for you, but I hope it will some day.
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