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Sleepaway Camp (1983)
By Tina && hilarious things we don't think of
If ever there was a movie worth watching 85 minutes of pure crap for the last 3 seconds, this is it.
This movie is disturbing. And not because it's scary in a "The Ring", or even "A Clockwork Orange" kind of way.
It's not disturbing because the acting, writing, dialogue, and cinematography (like, three minutes of random outdoor shots in the beginning which have nothing to do with opening scene of the movie) are bad enough to be downright confusing.
It's disturbing for anyone with a background in school counseling, legal issues, or childcare in general. If you're like me, questions will run through your mind that will keep you awake at night. Questions like:
"Why were pedophiles running a children's camp? "
"Did places like this really exist in the '80s?"
"Why were children allowed to play on a slanted roof?"
"Why were 13-year-olds hanging out in a bar (canteen)?"
"Why are all the adults cursing in front of the children?"
"Why do all the adult characters have camel-toes and wedgies, even the men?"
"Why didn't anyone think it was weird the cook was zipping up his pants as he was coming out of the walk-in cooler?"
"Why is everyone so angry?"
"Is it legal for 11-year-olds to say the F word that much?"
"Was I just watching child pornography?"
Then are the "Why can't they...??" moments in the film. Like, "Why can't he just crawl out UNDER the bathroom door?" "Why can't the lifeguard hear her screaming from 10 feet away?" "Why can't they give him a more realistic-looking mustache?"
The dialogue further confounds. Who says "Oh, that's too bad," when they find a dead body? What teenager says, "What say you and I go for a walk later?" And why does Meg need to spell out her name ("M-E-G!") in introductions?
The casting, characters and tangential plot lines further serve to confound. How did John Waters miss out on Dr. Aunt for "Desperate Living"? What kind of doctor was she supposed to be anyway? Why are all the male counselors dressed for a Olivia Newton-John "Let's Get Physical" video casting call? Why does dead dad have a gay lover? The answers to all of these question remain unknown.
There are a few nuggets that make the first 84 minutes almost bearable: Death by curling iron, for instance. (No, she didn't use the cord.) And when ... well, there was that scene where ... I like the part ... OK, there is only one moment in the film that makes the first 84 minutes watchable.
Yet, there is a reason this director (who apparently never saw Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho") and this film has developed a cult following. There is a reason this movie has four sequels. Robot Chicken devoted 12 precious seconds to a parody. Bands have written lyrics ("Meet me at the waterfront after the social"), entire songs ("Angela," "Angela's Secret") and even named themselves (CKY-Camp Kill Yourself) after this movie. SocialTechPop lists Angela Baker as No. 2, just after the iconic Freddy Krueger, on its list of Top 10 Horror Movie Villains. Almost 30 years later, fans maintain several websites for this film.
It's for the last 3 seconds. Watch it and thank me later.
Better yet, thank Michelle Minervino.
(And no, you shouldn't just fast-forward to the end, for the same reason you don't open your gifts until Christmas morning, the corpse pose doesn't come until the the end of the yoga routine and Jesus waited three days to be resurrected. It gives meaning to all the waiting, pain and confusion. In fact, it makes it just precious. As precious as Angela's ... well, you'll see.)