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What an ending!
Leofwine_draca6 February 2015
Let's face it, SLEEPAWAY CAMP isn't a great slasher movie. Despite being heavily indebted to the likes of Friday THE 13TH and THE BURNING, it's not half as good: the production values are pretty poor, the script is pretty lunk-headed, and the characters just don't grip you like in some other movies.

In addition, the movie is cheesy in the extreme, with the kill scenes involving such improbable methods as somebody getting a bee's nest thrown into their cubicle while they're on the toilet. It's all frankly rather laughable, although not without merit for those with a soft spot for '80s nostalgia. Certainly the fashions and the style of film-making readily date this to the early '80s.

However, things do turn around for an infamous twist ending which, I have to say, is one of the most simple and yet effective that I've ever seen. I thought Argento did similar twists well in the likes of PHENOMENA but the twist in SLEEPAWAY CAMP is superlative, closing on one of the most chilling freeze-frames I've ever witnessed. It really is that good; a shame that the rest of the film couldn't rise to the same level.
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One of the Most Memorable Slashers
Michael_Elliott15 February 2015
Sleepaway Camp (1983)

*** (out of 4)

Angela (Felissa Rose) goes with her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) to a summer camp where she's constantly picked on and harassed by the most popular girl in camp (Karen Fields). Over and over again Angela is picked on due to her shyness, which causes Ricky to have to defend her and before long dead bodies begin to pile up.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a pretty notorious entry in the 80's slasher genre due in large part to a terrific twist at the end, which I obviously won't spoil here. If you want to play a uptight critic it's easy to really cream this film because there are some pretty bad things throughout including some at times hideous acting. However, if you're a fan of the genre, which I am, there's no question that this film has a lot going for it and it fits nicely into the genre, which at times delivered one cliché after another. There's no doubt that SLEEPAWAY CAMP has some clichéd moments but there's still no doubting it's impact on the genre and the all around good time you can have with it.

I think the best thing about the film is that it just feels so much like the 80's. The movie has the basic set-up taking place in a camp with a psycho running around but there's a lot of other stuff thrown in including a bizarre subplot dealing with a pedophile and there's even some stranger stuff that I won't go into so that I avoid any spoilers. The film also shows how bullying was handled in the 80's, which was usually with a big fat nothing. The film manages to really make you feel the time that it was set in and I think writer- director Robert Hiltzik deserves some credit for putting some of the more bizarre things in here.

It also doesn't hurt that you've got a group of characters that you can root for and against. One can't help but feel sympathy for Angela and you also can't help but like Ricky and Paul. The villains in the film are so over-the-top cruel that you also don't mind seeing them get knocked off one at a time. Then there's Judy who's certainly one of the most memorable villains in the history of the slasher period. Fields performance is just so spot-on that you can't help see the glee in her as she torments Angela. Rose is also quite charming in her role and there's certainly not a better slasher actor than Tiersten when it comes to saying profanity.

The murder scenes are mostly off-camera, I'm sure due to budget reasons but they're still quite memorable and especially the aftermath when we see what actually happened. The make-up effects are quite simple but effective enough. I also liked how the main goal of the film wasn't the gore and violence but instead the characters and especially the mystery. I'm sure some will guess what's going on but if you go through the film without knowing and just guessing who's doing the killing, it certainly adds to the entertainment level. SLEEPAWAY CAMP has a lot of nostalgia going for it but it's also one of the more entertaining films in the 80's slasher cycle.
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creepy and weird
SnoopyStyle4 January 2020
It's Camp Arawak. Little Angela loses her family in a boating accident. Eight years later, Angela is living with her quirky aunt Dr. Martha Thomas and her son Ricky. She sends Angela and Ricky to Camp Arawak. Angela is quiet and tends to stare. The popular girls don't like her. She's almost molested by the creepy cook when she's saved by Ricky. The cook is attacked in a corny way. The camp owner keeps the incident quiet. Ricky gets into a fight with the jocks. Paul is taken with Angela.

The acting is strictly amateurish. There are no A-listers in waiting. It's really campy at times. Some of acting is very broad. The creepy cook is super creepy. The wacky aunt is super wacky. I do like the camp owner's deteriorating craziness. Angela is weird in an unreal way. This is camp. It's pure camp in that everybody is trying but they are failing slightly. Sometimes they're trying too hard. It's fitting that the first attack happens with a lot of corn. As for the killer's identity, it seems obvious as soon as the girl commented on the shower issue. It's a matter of whether the movie was willing to go there. It goes there.
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Surprising Ending
claudio_carvalho24 June 2020
A family is destroyed by a speedboat in a lake nearby a camp. Eight years later, the outcast teenager Angela (Felissa Rose), who survived the accident and was raised by her nutty Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould), travels with her protective cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tierston) to spend vacation in the Arawak Camp owned by Mel (Mike Kellin). Soon the pervert cook of the camp has a tragic accident in the kitchen that is followed by the death of several teenagers and kids. Who might be the killer?

"Sleepaway Camp" is a campy American slasher that is worthwhile watching because of the surprising ending. The plot is silly and the acting is terrible (Aunt Martha is laughable so bad it is) and becomes funny for the viewer. But the last scene turns the movie into a cult for horror fans. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Acampamento Sinistro" ("Sinister Camp")
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there's a lot to be said about movies with "sleep" in the title
lee_eisenberg29 May 2006
Contrary to how it may appear, "Sleepaway Camp" is not just another litany of guts getting torn out. For starters, there's the ending; I sure as hell didn't see that coming! But beyond that, you do actually get a feel for the characters throughout the movie - particularly after what happens at the beginning - and there are some creative murders (does it make me an awful person for saying that?). As main character Angela, Felissa Rose creates a girl with whom we can all identify. The rest of the characters gravitate between bitchy and'll know what I mean if you see the movie. A pretty cool flick.

Also, I wonder: what is it about movies with "sleep" in the title? There's this one, but many different kinds accompany it: "Sleeping Beauty", "Sleeper" and "Sleepers", to name a few. It's just something to think about the next time that you go to sleep. But will you be able to after watching this movie?
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One of the Very Best Slashers of the Early 1980s
gavin694220 October 2010
Slightly disturbed and painfully shy Angela Baker (Felissa Rose) is sent away to summer camp with her foul-mouthed cousin Ricky Thomas (Jonathan Tiersten). Not long after Angela's arrival, things start to go horribly wrong for anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions.

This film is either loved or hated, and with good reason, but it has been embraced more and more as the years go on by fans of the horror genre. The acting is excessively cheesy, especially from Desiree Gould, but purposely so. The kills are grisly and nasty, even if not always shown on screen. When that curling iron strikes, you know the situation. And the pedophile cook? Oh man... that is pushing boundaries that even horror films dare not cross (Freddy Krueger can be a child killer, but not a child molester).

One cannot vouch for the next two sequels, which have little connection to this film, but the original stands as a true modern classic, and if you have not seen it, you are really missing out on an important piece of horror history. What could have been a ripoff of other horror slashers that take place at camp (notably "Friday the 13th") turns out to be far different from any other title out there. And keep in mind the whole crew, more or less, had just come from "Creepshow", so these were folks who knew what they were doing.

Writer-director Robert Hiltzik (who graduated NYU with Ang Lee) mysteriously went decades without directing again. Many of the actors also never acted again, at least for a long time. And then you have Christopher Collet, going on to make such things as "Prayer of the Rollerboys"... does that make him the biggest success from this film?

Not only does the film get better with repeated viewings (which make the humor and camp more fun), but there are actually some clever subplots that will likely be missed on the first time or two. Mel Kostic (portrayed wonderfully by the late Mike Kellin) not only is one of the best characters, but has his own story and relationship with the campers and counselors that may not be immediately evident.

The Scream Factory Blu-ray is ridiculously good and worth owning. Beyond the excellent presentation, it has three different audio commentaries, where you learn odd trivia like Felissa Rose's husband Deron Miller meeting her as a fan, and much more. There is even a short film showing whatever happened to Judy (although it is not very good).
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A deliciously sick and deviant early 80's summer camp slasher flick
Woodyanders3 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Shy, repressed teenage girl Angela (winningly played by Felissa Rose) makes her first trip to Camp Arawak with her nephew Ricky (the solid Jonathan Tiersten). Several mean teens at the camp start to mercilessly pick on Angela. Before you can say "here we go again," the body count starts to mount, with a handful of folks getting bumped off in assorted gruesome ways. Could it be Angela or someone else who's committing these horrible murders? While the basic plot is obviously derived both "Carrie" and "Friday the 13th" alike, this satisfyingly grim early 80's low-budget slice'n'dice item still cuts it as good'n'ghoulish slasher fun thanks to Robert Hiltzik's strong direction and a suitably sick, perverse and twisted script. Moreover, this movie plausibly depicts adolescents as cruel, selfish and fiercely competitive little monsters. The make-up f/x by Ed French are top-notch and each grisly murder is creative in its own macabre way: A portly, repulsive pedophile cook has his face severely burned with scalding hot water, a jerk drowns under a boat, another dork is stung to death by wasps, a bimbo gets knifed in the shower, a vicious floozy's face gets roasted by an electric curling iron, three kids are hacked up with a hatchet, and the same hatchet is used for a decapitation. WARNING: Major *SPOILER* ahead. Plus there's one startling doozy of a shock surprise ending: Angela turns out to be a boy who was raised by his wacko aunt (delightfully overplayed to the campy wacko hilt by Desiree Gould) to believe that he's a girl instead. This conclusion was later shamelessly copied in "The Crying Game." Craggy-faced character actor Mike Kellin turns in a fine performance as Mel, the irate, cigar-chomping camp owner who tries to cover up the murders and ultimately winds up having an arrow shot through his neck. This nasty nugget was followed by two entertaining tongue-in-cheek sequels, but the original remains the best of the bunch.
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Yes, it has a memorable ending... but what about the rest of the film?
BA_Harrison9 February 2007
Having watched what I have now discovered to be a cut release of Sleepaway Camp, I wasn't entirely sure that it was fair to write a comment based on an 'incomplete' movie. However, after checking the exact contents of the cuts (a little nudity, some swearing and a tiny bit of gore) I am pretty sure that my opinion of the film would remain the same: it's undoubtedly a memorable movie, thanks to its its lurid plot and shock ending, but it still failed to impress me as much as I had hoped.

Felissa Rose plays Angela, the only survivor of a boating accident, who goes to live with crazy Aunt Martha and cousin Ricky. Angela grows up shy and quiet, and, when sent to summer camp with Ricky, refuses to join in with the fun and games. The victim of bullying, Angela refuses to speak, until a young lad, Paul, makes the effort to communicate. But with a homicidal maniac on the loose, does Angela's new relationship really stand a chance?

Director and writer, Robert Hiltzik, has the basic ingredients for a good shocker—an unusual set of characters, some reasonable effects, and a handful of particularly repellent moments (which include a paedophile trying his luck with Angela, a gay sex scene witnessed by young children, a death scene featuring curling tongs put to use in a very nasty manner, and THAT ending), but with a pretty poor cast spouting some lousy dialogue, and rather lacklustre direction, the movie struggles to maintain momentum between the 'good' bits.

Sleepaway Camp is worth watching if you're a horror completist, or if you wish to see one of the most bizarre end scenes of all time, but it really amounts to nothing more than a fairly enjoyable entry in the stalk 'n' slash sub-genre.
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sure it's not very well acted or written, but... it's got something
Quinoa198423 August 2009
Sleepaway Camp, we see before the credits roll, is dedicated to the director's mother. I wonder if she had already passed on before the making of little Robert Hiltzik's grand opus of cruelty. This is kind of a sadistic movie when it comes down to it, even as it's also a cheap and so-so acted slasher movie (I say so-so since some performances stand out as AWESOME camp, while others... well, wait till you see the Aunt early on). It's simply about a camp of the title, where young Angela and her cousin are sent away for the summer, and poor Angela, who is meek and not well adjusted around most people and keeps her mouth shut if she doesn't have something to say to someone positive to her, is picked on mercilessly. There's a guy who does take an interest in her, but is that even for real? And what's with all of these murders that just so happen to all be connected to her, and why doesn't she seem to blink much at all, and...

OK, it might sound like I gave away a big spoiler, but it's not like the director tries to hide it either. Hiltzik goes to lengths to give a couple of grisly-cum-creative scenes, such as a pedophile cook (that is one nasty SOB by the way) who gets his just dessert with a giant pot of boiling water on his body and face, or the head of the camp himself getting an arrow right through the neck. Other deaths are more just ho-hum like a slash through a shower or a little trick with a hair iron. If you're watching the film just for that, it delivers decently. And if you're looking for lame-o early 80s slasher dialog there's some of that too. But more than likely if you're just watching the movie for the twist, it'll seem like a longer wait, and a strange one.

It's one of those rare slasher flicks where its actually up-front with us about what's going on, and makes it a (if I can say such for this movie) study of the horror of a tragedy on a young person and constant bullying from kids. But this up-front quality, after some thought once the movie ends, is also a cover too. We're literally thrown into that last "MONEY" shot, so to speak, that has had fans of the movie talking for years, and it ultimately builds up to something that is far more traumatic and psychologically terrifying than anything the movie has (mostly) come to grips with for most of its running time. Instead Sleepaway Camp is a deranged mix of campy comedy and really screwed up chick-flick-gone-sour movie. Which, sometimes, isn't totally uncalled for on a Sunday afternoon or with friends and some beers.
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BandSAboutMovies31 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Let's take a trip back to 1975, when John Baker and his boyfriend Lenny took John's kids on a boating trip. Those kids are madcap scamps that capsize their dad's boat for fun. But on the swim back to shore, a waterskier kills John and his son Peter, leaving Angela traumatized.

Eight years later, Angela is living with her weird aunt Dr. Martha Thomas (who would be able to unite Superman and Batman, based on her first name), along with her cousin Ricky. They go to Camp Arawak for the summer. As someone who has never been to summer camp, nor ever wanted to go, I fail to see the fun that places like this promise.

Angela gets bullied at every turn, even when the counselors try to help her. And to top it off, the head cook even tries to rape her. Sure, he's soon scalded by hot water. But it seems odd how many people have it in for this little girl. I guess the good news is that everyone that screws with her dies horribly - if that can be good news. Like Kenny, a kid that mocks her. She also finally gets a friend, Paul, who has the hots for her.

As Paul and Angela attend a movie at the camp, two of the boys throw water balloons at them. Billy, one of the throwers, is soon killed by bees. At this point, Mel, the owner, starts to realize that maybe there's a killer in the camp.

Paul tries to kiss Angela, but she has a flashback to catching her father in bed with Lenny. Oh no! And it gets worse, as Judy - one of the worst behaved girls - kisses Paul and then throws Angela into the water. Ricky saves her, only for a bunch of kids to throw sand in her face! Will the torment ever end?

The film then descends into slasher film madness. Meg, a counselor who is sleeping with the owner of the camp, a man nearly fifty years or more her senior, is killed in the shower. The kids who threw sand at Angela? Nearly all of them are dispensed of with a hatchet. And the evil Judy? She's raped with a hot curling iron (!) and smothered with a pillow, which feels like the roughest and softest kill ever. And finally, the owner of the camp blames Ricky and attacks him, only for the real killer to shoot him with an arrow.

The police come to investigate the murders while Paul and Angela decide to go skinny dipping. Two of the counselors find them and we learn that she has decapitated Paul and jumps up, fully nude and fully a dude, making a hissing sound and looking like a complete maniac. The truth? Angela is really Peter, the boy we thought died in the opening. Dr. Martha had raised him as the daughter she never got to have..

It's funny. In the early 80's, so many people bemoaned how many slashers were playing in theaters and drive-ins. But today, we're lucky to get a horror film into theaters. And truly odd films, like Sleepaway Camp, go direct to streaming or DVD. Let's face it - none of today's films are as goofy as this either. And by goofy, I don't mean the SyFy or Troma movies that are made to be dumb. No, this is a film that appears to be an attempt at a legitimate, serious film that ends up being something wonderful crazy. It's filled with ridiculous dialogue, over the top murders and that ending!
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Too young to slash?
Coventry21 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I'll definitely be the first to admit that this "Sleepaway Camp" contains some really ingenious plot ideas and several very grisly images but, regretfully, NONE of these promising elements were processed the way they should have. This might very well be one of the most successful "Friday the 13th"-clones of the early 80's (maybe even better than F13 itself…) but still all that remains is a poorly produced and clumsily shot horror movie with more bad aspects than good ones. Many fans of the horror genre put "Sleepaway Camp" among their favorites because of the exceptional plot twist at the end of the film. Granted, the notorious climax is rather inventive and sick, but also very predictable, especially if you anticipate some kind of out-of-the-ordinary plot twist (and we all know there will be a twist, don't we?). Moreover, this "terrific" denouement is preceded by 80 long minutes of clichéd situations, imbecile dialogs and absolutely awful acting performances! Several years after a traumatizing boating accident, young and silent Angela is sent to summer camp where she's the victim of bullying and vicious laughingstock. Strangely enough, everyone who messes with Angela ends up sadistically murdered. As you can see, the subject matter is very routine and not even the most shocking climax can possibly turn "Sleepaway Camp" into a good film.

Still, there are some unique and hugely disturbing aspects about "Sleepaway Camp" that are rarely ever mentioned but stand as the only reason why this 80's slasher is memorable, in my humble opinion. The murder victims in this film are the youngest ever! They hardly even hit puberty if you ask me! The boy who loses his head, for example, is just a child and even the irritating Judy character is way too young to be killed off like this (even though she proudly shows off with her perky pubertal breasts). There also are serious insinuations towards pedophilia and a sexual relationship between the camp owner and a female teenager that are way too controversial for a film like this. Odd little horror movie, to say the least
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You're just what I've been looking for...
Hey_Sweden31 May 2014
It's not surprising that "Sleepaway Camp" would have the reputation that it has. It's decidedly more twisted than most slashers, and is more than simply a "Friday the 13th" ripoff. It manages to combine some potent mean-spiritedness with some highly amusing bits. Its kills result in some effectively graphic mayhem, but display some ingenuity, particularly the bit with the wasps' nest. Its characters are quite memorable, and you certainly don't ever forget the imagery of that big revelation at the end.

After tragedy befalls her family, Angela Baker (Felissa Rose) comes to live with her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and whack job aunt Martha (Desiree Gould). Eight years after the incident, Ricky and the reserved, tight-lipped Angela go to Camp Arawak for the summer. Soon after they get there, nasty fates are in store for staff and campers alike. Antagonists Judy (Karen Fields) and Meg (Katherine Kamhi) make life miserable for Angela while Ricky goes about earning the title of most foul mouthed kid in attendance.

This is the kind of movie about which it's best not to say too much so newcomers can fully appreciate the creepiness that writer / director / executive producer Robert Hiltzik has in store for them. Even the little kids attending the camp are fair game for our killer, whose nastiness is impressive, especially in the cringe inducing curling iron murder. Edward Frenchs' makeup effects are very good (get a load of that convincing arrow through the throat gag), and the music by Edward Bilous is pretty damn scary. The acting is actually solid from much of the cast; even minor characters like Martha and sicko cook Artie (Owen Hughes) leave an impression with minimal screen time. Fields and Kamhi, two very nice women in real life, are amazing as the two bitches of the piece. Rose is good in the central role, and the late, great character actor Mike Kellin, as camp director Mel, is wonderful as always; Mel turned out to be his final film role.

This is pretty much essential viewing for new fans of the late 1970s and 1980s slasher craze.

Eight out of 10.
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The ending I expected and yet didn't suspect
Calicodreamin25 October 2021
The 80s fashion in this movie is unmatched, sweeping side ponies and buff men in cutoffs. The storyline was typical, but damn that ending, freaky. Most of the kills were actually pretty clever.
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OK but way too grim
preppy-324 June 2008
Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and quiet cousin Angela (Felissa Rose) attend summer camp together. Angela won't talk until nice handsome Paul (Christopher Collet) talks to her and makes her feel welcome. However there are also somebody murdering people in the camp. Who is it and why are they doing it?

This has a HUGE cult following. It bombed on its initial release but developed a strong following on video and led to multiple sequels. It's not a bad movie but I can't see why it's such a big hit. It's VERY grim in tone (the teasing of Angela borders on sadistic) and has very few murders. The acting is pretty bad too with the sole exceptions of Rose, Tiersten and especially Collet. The murders themselves are bloody but cut down to nothing (the MPAA really went after this one). I also saw the "twist" at the end coming a mile away. It does end on a very disturbing shot also. But, all in all, I found this too unpleasant and badly acted to like. I give it a 6.
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Must Forget ASAP
view_and_review28 October 2019
It must be a scary movie because:

Summer camp in the woods

A nearby lake

Horny kids

Skinny dipping

This movie was of the homoerotic nature as the skinny dipping was a horde of guys without any female participants. Of course, that wasn't the only indicator.

In any case this movie was bad. Angela, the spaz, had a crazy eyed look most of the movie which drove me to want to slap her myself. The rest of the scrap heap actors did nothing to enhance the movie. Then, there was the killing. Lousy. I can wade through a poor script and bad acting for some gnarly slasher scenes, but I got none.

The twist at the end was interesting but did nothing to save this movie. I'm filing this under forget as soon as possible.
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Real camp B-horror.
Boba_Fett11388 May 2009
This movie is kind of slow and it's also really a B-type of movie but yet the manages to be not completely horrible. It's a pretty maintaining movie that features all of the right required ingredients and also throws in some originality of its own.

Even though it is of course a quite formulaic movie they still did a pretty good job with its story. This is mostly because it picks a pretty nice approach with its killer. Problem is perhaps that the movie has too many slow and pointless moments in it and it also starts to repeat itself a bit at times. It also doesn't always handle its character well enough. Sometimes a character gets put down as a carrying main character but then he or she will suddenly disappear out of the movie again for quite some time. The movie has some difficulties finding its right balance at times.

It's a movie that has B-movie written all over it. It has a campy look and its silly '80's atmosphere and look of course also don't help much. But foremost the movie is a real B-movie with its acting. The movie has some real bad acting in it, also due to the fact that most characters are being played by inexperienced teenagers. But somehow it also really seems to fit the movie and it hardly becomes a big complaint while watching the movie. It helps to make the movie a more light and entertaining one to watch.

The movie still takes itself serious though, so the movie is no ridicules one to watch. It has swearing and gore in it but nothing that will impress the most hardened horror movie watcher too much, though it's all still good looking.

The movie tends to become a real slasher toward the end and perhaps also feels a bit rushed, since it's in contrast with its more slower first halve. It's not really a problem though, since it actually provides the movie with some good genre moments and a great ending.

Certainly watchable, especially of course if you know how to appreciate an '80's B-movie.

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"Friday the 13th" Meets "Lord of the Flies"
evanston_dad28 October 2014
Welcome to camp Arawak, the surliest summer camp in history.

We're in "Lord of the Flies" territory here, where it's every man for himself and the atmosphere always feels like it's one step away from boiling over into outright gang warfare. A homoerotic softball game nearly becomes a rumble, while a world-weary female counselor named Meg ("M.E.G." she specifies when she's introduced, as if there is any other way to spell "Meg") and her evil, ubiquitous henchman, a camper called Judy, make life hell for the girls. Though to be honest it's hard to tell the campers from the counselors, since most everyone looks like they're thirty years old, and all of them look like actors who didn't get cast in "Fame," except for the male counselors, who all look like they COULD be cast in a gay porno.

"Sleepaway Camp" is a bad movie lover's delight, a film that can be fully enjoyed both as a bad movie and as a cult classic that relative to other movies in its genre displays a moderate amount of creativity. It's got a reputation as having one of the most shocking twist endings in horror movie history, and I will say I did not see the twist coming at all. It's not a scary movie at all, and I'm not even sure it was really trying to be. For that reason, though it's clearly modeled after "Friday the 13th," it's not really a rival to that movie, as it has a completely different tone and sensibility. It also happens to be a much better film than any of the "Friday the 13th" movies.

Grade: B-
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"Uh Oh! Here Comes The Wicked Witch Of The West!"...
azathothpwiggins15 October 2018
After some VERY dramatic, ominous music during a panning shot of the titular camp Arawak, SLEEPAWAY CAMP begins.

Right off the bat, tragedy strikes on the lake. We know this mostly because of the water-skier who won't stop screeching like a pint-sized tornado siren.

Several years later, the scene switches to the soon-to-be camper, Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten). He and his shy cousin, Angela (Felissa Rose) are getting ready to leave. Angela survived the aforementioned tragedy, and was taken in by her Aunt, Ricky's -extremely odd- mum. Next stop, the camp.

It's probably not a good sign, when one of the first adults to be introduced, obviously likes kids a bit TOO much! He's Artie (Owen Hughes) the cook, and he's one of the most vile characters since the gargantuan neighbor in ALICE SWEET ALICE! Yecch! Don't worry though, he quickly becomes... overheated.

As it turns out, there's no shortage of creeps and jerks at Camp Arawak, which means there are lots of victims for whoever starts bumping them off in grisly ways. Most are vindictive idiots like Judy (Karen Fields) and Meg (Katherine Kamhi), who simply must torment Angela as LOUDLY! AS! POSSIBLE! This could be a long summer, if anyone lives through it!

Though everyone remembers this movie's "shock" finale, the rest of it is interesting in that it contains so many hateful, unbalanced characters. EXHIBIT A): Mel (Mike Kellin), who's unwarranted paranoia verges on the maniacal! This is especially disturbing, since he runs the camp!

EXTRA POINTS FOR: #1- The fake mustache on the cop at the end! #2- The cheap, cheeezey, yet somehow creepy song during the end credits!...
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A real carpenters delight...
FlashCallahan8 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
After a horrible boating accident kills her family, Angela, a shy and sullen young girl, moves in with her eccentric aunt Martha, alongside her protective cousin Ricky.

One summer, Martha sends the kids to Camp Arawak.

Soon after their arrival, a series of bizarre and increasingly violent accidents begins to claim the lives of various campers.

Who is the twisted individual behind these murders? First off, after the initial flashback at the start of the movie, has to be the worst five minutes of acting by anyone i have seen on screen. The woman who plays Martha is either an absolute genius, a relative of the director, or someone off the street. It's not even laugh inducing, it's pretty hideous.

The rest of the film is your predictable, horrible people on the camp getting killed, in pretty boring ways to be fair, whilst an old man appears every now and again with a really big cigar laying down the law.

Poor old Angela, she gets marched around for a lot of the film by some man who wears really tight trousers promising her ice cream.

The plot and story is incoherent, and the script is dire at best.

So why five stars? The freaky totally unexpected ending. Wow. if you haven't seen this and thought you'd seen the best twist movie ever, see this.

It's probably the most freaky thing you will ever, ever see.

This final shot makes the rest of the film passable.
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Adolescents at a summer camp in upstate New York... with a killer on the loose
Wuchakk23 July 2019
On the surface "Sleepaway Camp" (1983) is a clone of the first two "Friday the 13th" movies (1980/1981) mixed with elements of "Meatballs" (1979), but with more edge. Like the first "Friday the 13th," the killer is a mystery until the end. Like "Meatballs," the youths at the camp are adolescents, including pubescents. Kids of this ilk didn't manifest in the Friday the 13th franchise until Part VI (1986) and, even then, they weren't the focus.

Unfortunately, the production values are subpar compared to the above films. If you take out the cussing and slayings, this is of the TV movie variety; and I'm being nice. There's also some overt camp (no pun intended), like Ricky's mother.

Still, you can't beat the early 80's ambiance and the styles are amusing, especially the short shorts worn by guys. Unlike most of the "Friday" flicks or "The Burning" (1981), the killer doesn't wear a mask; and "Sleepaway Camp" gets extra points for a shockingly perverse revelation at the climax. There are several other gems, like Judy's full black mane (Karen Fields), Meg's curious attraction to the older curmudgeonly camp owner and Paul DeAngelo's impressive fitness & laughable shorts.

The film runs 1 hour, 24 minutes; and was shot in in Argyle, New York, near Summit Lake at a camp formerly named Camp Algonquin.

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movieman_kev27 October 2005
After a boating accident kills one of Angela's two dads and her sibling. She goes to live with her crazy Aunt who proceeds to send her cousin and her to Camp Arawak. But soon enough grisly murders start to befall the crew and other campers in this low budget early '80's flick which is pretty hamily acted and is notable mainly for the ending, which granted IS a tad bit disturbing. That's the only real surprise of the film as the identity of the killer is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Not awful for an 80's slasher flick, but not particularly a classic either. Followed by two "unofficial" but much better sequels and an as yet still unreleased "official" one.

My Grade: C+

DVD Extras: Commentary with Director Robert Hiltzik, Actress Felissa Rosa, & moderated by Jeff Hayes; and Theatrical Trailer
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Friday the 13th clone.
Aaron137510 February 2004
This movie is about a killer in a summer camp, so yes this is a bit of a clone of Friday the 13th. This movie is also not very good, if you like it fine, but it just is not my thing. For one I did not find the ending all that shocking as I saw it coming even as a kid (let's face it, the movie shows you clearly who survived the crash). This movie is the typical slasher for the most part, with a person being killed here and there. If you like slashers it would probably be worth checking out. As for me, I just can not believe how high the ranking of this is here. This site is notorious for being hard on horror films yet this one has a somewhat good score. I don't know, to me it just wasn't anything all that special, even if you couldn't figure out the ending and it was a surprise, there was more to the movie than that. This one also tries to be funny here and there and it fails, I absolutely hated the mother's performance and she isn't even in the movie much. I am betting the sequels were not much better. So check it out if you are a slasher fan you may enjoy it. I just didn't.
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One of the better 'lower-key' slashers
The_Void28 December 2005
Sleepaway Camp is one of the most clear-cut cases of Friday the 13th mimicry in all of horror cinema. It's so clear cut because it's so shameless - we have a holiday camp, a murderer on the rampage because of something that happened at the start of the film, a completely unlikely killer etc etc; yet despite all this, Sleepaway Camp does manage to put all of these elements together to form a fairly decent slasher flick. The first half of the film won't lead you to believe this, however; as it's really quite boring, but once the film gets going, Sleepaway camp starts to justify it's reputation as one of the best of the non-Friday/Elm Street slasher films. The plot is a simple excuse for lots of butchery, and sees a camping holiday turn to tragedy as a father and child are killed in a boating accident. We then fast-forward eight years, and it's time for Ricky and his cousin; the survivor of the accident at the film's opening, to partake in the all-American tradition of spending the summer at camp. Unfortunately, a ruthless killer has decided to do the same thing...

This film has been described as an essential film for horror fans; but that really isn't true. Sleepaway Camp is merely another entry in the eighties slasher tradition; and I would say that it's only worth seeing once you've run out of actual classics to watch. I do have to admit, however, that I've never been a big fan of this sort of film; so slasher fans are welcome to disagree with me. The murders here aren't all that bloodthirsty, but they are quite vicious, despite the vast majority of them happening off-screen. I do have to give credit to this film, however, for the fact that it doesn't merely go with the boring knife killings that many of its peers adhere to. Modes of dispatch include scolding, beheading, drowning and my personal favourite - the beehive! There is a knife sequence, but it's actually quite well done. This leads me to the film's ending. The ending is here is often touted as being one of the most shocking in American horror cinema history, and it's easy to see why. However, it isn't that shocking when it comes to mystery - as the twist becomes all too easy to guess at about the halfway point. Still, this certainly isn't a bad film - and while it's not essential, it's a decent way to spend eighty-odd minutes.
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Never make a film like this again!
mm-394 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Never make a film like this again! Well for today's crowd too many stereotypes, but hey sometimes art reflects reality. The murder at the camp is predictable and formulates script, but hey the character development reminds me of growing up in the ethnic blue collar part of town which reflect what I've seen growing up. Many of the Sleepaway Camp kids, trash talked, swore, talk about sex, bullied, and the usually stupid pranks which reflect the too cool growing up in the 80's decade. The boy's where behaving like there blue color dad's from the brewery, meat packing plant, steel mill etc which we all see on a Friday night. Sleepaway Camp has a real blue color feel, the accurate version of the movie mean girls crown vs the un cool gals. Things get jazzed up of course, but there is a killer with a secret, which is the plot twist of someone having an inflected personality disorder. The ending and the trash behavior make Sleepaway Camp I say better than average slasher movie. 6 stars.
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I was left with a rather sour taste
christopher-underwood6 November 2008
Just caught this on the three film box-set. Never seen it before and I think I have always been put off by the UK 15 certificate suggesting a distinct lack of sex and violence. And I suppose it is peculiarly lacking in this department for an eighties slasher movie, but it disturbs nonetheless. The film is rather uneven with some very good bits and then some unbelievable bad moments, it seems for a second that neither you nor the cast can believe. And yet or perhaps because of the erratic direction we are never 100% comfortable that we know where this is going. The opening with the boating accident and the later leaving for camp 8 years later are both eerie moments and then when the film settles down we get so much bitching and bullying it is as if we have a WIP film. I do think Angela's silent staring and the constant need for her to be asked if she is OK is irritating but then, I guess, without it the film wouldn't work at all. The killings if not full and in your face are ingenious and effective. It is just that I was left with a rather sour taste in my mouth and I think that had to do with the unresolved trauma that proves to be essential to the plot.
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