13 Slashers Through the Ages: ‘Sleepaway Camp’ Review
Between October 19th and Halloween, we at Full Circle will be celebrating 13 days of slasher movies. Tonight’s program recognizes… well, perhaps I should not say. I would be giving away one of the most controversial twists ever written for a horror movie. Let’s pack ourselves a tent and bug spray because we are going on a camping trip with Sleepaway Camp.
Sleepaway Camp is a classic slasher movie about a young girl named Angela who goes to Camp Arawak with her cousin Ricky. Once the two arrive at camp, a series of events/killings leads the campers to discover that there is a killer on the loose.
Sleepaway Camp is not in any way intense or fast paced. I was originally turned off by its relatively slow pace. However, what many might look at as a “rip off” slasher film, the movie does get creative when it comes to the brutal killings and certain aspects to the film that no one saw coming. I am, of course, referring to the “twist”.
The biggest thing about Sleepaway Camp is that it is only concerned with the killings and the killer. Everything else feels irrelevant. It’s a shame because for me, it would have worked better to have a story that kept you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire run time.
It is surprising that this movie took place in 1983. It acknowledges and represents gay men and women. And to think as I am watching this movie in 2019 how far many filmmakers have brought the LGBTQ community is relieving. All I wanted to know was more about these individuals. Further, I wish that the filmmakers would have approached the subject differently. It just makes me happy when I came to the realization of how many movies since its original release that have given many individuals within the LGBTQ community a voice and platform to be their authentic selves.
Despite its slow pace, the last few minutes made it worth the wait. The audience learns who the killer is with a surprise twist ending. The image itself is disturbing, it’s wrong and it is hard to look away. It is extremely controversial in the way it chooses to represent a certain group of people. However, it is truly horrifying. It is so upsetting and yet so fitting once we learn who the killer is. This short scene wraps up every lingering question in the movie.
Overall, Sleepaway Camp is not my cup of tea. I am not a huge fan of slasher movies or horror movies but this one definitely took me by surprise. It was not a film for me to watch but its infamous twist and unexpected ending made it interesting. I am still in shock of that ending. However, the twist ending does send a mixed message. It’s disturbing to think that the killer is not exactly the same person you watched previously in the film. The killer is part of a marginalized group of individuals. And to make the killer belong to that particular group, is controversial. As much as I liked the twist, the message it sends is one up for debate. However, there’s no doubt that Sleepaway Camp is a classic and one that will still leave movie lovers discussing for years to come. –Jacqueline Lainez
Sleepaway Camp is available on Blu-Ray and Digital HD.
The film stars Felissa Rose, Katherine Kamhi, Paul DeAngelo and Mike Kellin.