aka: Nightmare Vacation
Director: Robert Hiltzik
Starring: Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Karen Fields, Christopher Collet, Mike Kellin
…you won’t be coming home!
It is summertime and John Baker has taken his two kids Angela and Peter out for a holiday nearby a lake. A tragic boat accident occurs which leaves Angela witness the death of her father and her brother.
A few years go by and Angela is now a teenager. She is sent on a summer camp together with her cousin Ricky. The other kids and even some of the counsellors keep bugging Angela to try to get a reaction out of her, but Ricky tries his best to keep them away from her. Things get even more brutal at this camp when a serial killer appears to be slashing away several of the workers.
Sleepaway Camp was made during the best years of the slasher films and while it does play on the usual strings, it has some others added to the mix that makes it stand out from the crowd. For once a summer camp film actually has kids portraying kids. These are children that will make you never consider creating one though, they are vicious, mean and hateful. Even the adults are creepy and mean-spirited in this one, it is not exactly a movie that will make you want to visit the US.
The script and production are obviously low-budget and some of the acting is awful, yet it is a film that is done to entertain the horror crowd and makes sure that it doesn’t overstay its welcome by having a short running time. It is a fun watch with some nice kills, but it is really the ending that will give out any emotion from the audience and that is truly a reaction of shock.
While I of course can’t spoil it, the ending is really what’s worth taking about with this film. While there are some hints earlier on regarding what will be literally revealed, it is not something I would assume anyone would predict going in to it without having any earlier knowledge of the film. It is also strange in how that it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story of the film, it’s just something put out there to shock you and be different.
It might not be the perfect slasher film, but it is a good example of a slasher film from the first part of the 80’s that still feels a bit innocent even when it got so much depravity and cruelty going on. It’s technically not a great film, but it does serve its purpose for the horror crowd and it has an ending that every horror fan should experience.