As a Felissa Rose fan I wasn't disappointed...listen to the commentary!
I've followed Felissa Rose's career for quite some time now. "Sleepaway Camp" is about my favorite horror flick of all time. Over the years, she's done some no budget dreck. However, flicks like "Horror" and "Satan's Playground" show she's coming back.
In the middle of her slump, she starred in this low (almost no) budget feature. I assumed the worst, as it never seemed to be released. I finally found a copy at the Chiller con in New Jersey...dumped in the middle of a table with about five thousand other terrible-looking titles.
So, I popped it in - expecting the worst.
What I got was a surprise.
A movie with so many tone shifts - "scary" (which it never really is) to "funny" (yeah, I chuckled a few times) to "bizarre" back to "silly" and I guess to "scary" again.
Ummm. I'm not sure what the filmmakers were thinking - but, as a change of pace, it kind of worked on me. Unfortunately, Ms. Rose was left with a supporting role in the second segment (the film is an anthology of short stories), and doesn't have much to do. On the bright side, Joe Estevez is a hoot. The big chinned guy from Tango and Cash is also in this too, but like Felissa Rose, doesn't have much to do.
The acting ranges from bad to terrible to great. Joe Estevez is outstanding. The guy who played Longfellow hilarious. The other guy in the noisy suit really fantastic. Other performances don't fare too well...until I heard the commentary where I realized the actors thought they were in a scary film, but the directors new it was a joke. I guess this theory forces you to laugh at them - which is what the filmmakers intended (I hope). The "scariest" thing about these tales is the fact they're so clichéd - and done so on purpose, one would assume.
As for everything else... The score is decent. Effects surprisingly good. Sound excellent. Sets minimal. Wardrobe blah (did everyone in the first segment wear white, or was it my imagination?). The stories, well, so bizarre at times...they kind of work, despite their base core being overly recycled.
I guess, in conclusion, as far as low budget cinema is concerned, this is high up in terms of production values. It's fun, for sure. Never really slow. I can't say it's great - but I can say it's different, and better than most stuff collecting dust on the video store shelves. The movie really works because no one camps it up. The "Scary Tales" title is more like "Scary Movie", whereas the tales are only scary to the person in the film hearing them and a joke to the audience.
In the end, I guess I'm glad I bought this thing. I'd try to find the original, but that may take another 2 years (and there's no Felissa!).
As for Felissa, here's to Return to Sleepaway Camp!
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