Another film that is near and dear to my heart is 1983’s Sleepaway Camp. I remember back in, probably 1998, I used to go to Video World (are there any still out there, i miss you!), and rent 5 movies for $5.95! It was a nearly weekly ritual on Fridays, and I likely rented all the horror VHS’ that were there. I used to go to my grandma’s and stay over, because hey, she’s my grandma, and she loved movies too. I was, like, 11 years old, and we watched Sleepaway Camp. We laughed at the funny parts, didn’t really get scared, cuz hey, we’re gangster like that, and actually, really liked it. I kept thinking, how have I not seen this or heard of this before? Are you kidding me? It’s fucking genius. Who would have expected it? The ending, arguably one of the greatest scenes in horror, is brilliant and slaps you in the face (omg, pardon the pun, that was unintentional, but I’m leaving it cuz it’s funny).
This film tells the story of two young cousins, Angela and Ricky, getting ready to go to summer camp, and upon their arrival, mysterious deaths begin to occur. It is a guessing game of who the killer is, and your suspicions, upon first viewing, shift from one person to another. Angela starts to like a boy at camp, Ricky’s old pal, Paul, making Judy, Angela’s bunkmate and camp slut, very jealous. Naturally. Numerous teenage camp shenanigans ensue, such as a game of Capture the Flag, and Mind Over Matter, as well as a lot of baseball, and by the end of the film, you are left wondering what is going on at this camp?! The end makes sense, leaves virtually no stone unturned, and flips the typical horror film on its head. It is a terrific ending, and one that people are not likely to ever forget.
The slapstick comedy in this film is fantastic, with numerous quotable one-liners and curse words (namely from ‘Ricky’). Furthermore, the inventive and creative murders definitely give us a breath of fresh air in a decade of numerous slashings and predictable gore. The storyline itself is new and refreshing and makes it more psychological than splatter-film. Much like Last House on the Left, Sleepaway Camp has built a fantastic cult following, making it more popular today than it was when it was first released.