Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)

... aka: Nightmare Vacation III
... aka: Sleepaway Camp 3

Directed by:
Michael A. Simpson

Let's first state the obvious: Part III is a silly, corny, juvenile and incredibly dumb comic slasher sequel, so if you're looking to be scared, look elsewhere. That said, if you've got a hankering for cheap gore, terrible one-liners and bare breasts, you should have no problem laughing along with this hokey hunk of late 80s junk. Say what you want about it, but it is entertaining. Shot back-to-back with Part II somewhere in the boonies of Georgia by the same director and crew, the delightful Pamela Springsteen returns as chirpy moralistic psycho Angela Baker. In the charming opening sequence, she runs over a frizzy-haired tramp (Kashina Kessler) with "Milk Shake" tattooed on her chest, then crushes the body in a garbage truck, steals the girl's id card, assumes her identity ("Maria Nicastro") and then uses it to go back to - Where else? - camp. The victim was one of a half dozen disadvantaged teenagers selected to go Camp New Horizons, where counselors Herman (Michael J. Pollard) and Lily (Sandra Dorsey) Miranda are conducting an "experiment in sharing" by mixing poor inner city teens with rich kids. Well actually, they're only really interested in the money but that is neither here nor there...

Angela is introduced to her fellow campers and soon realizes that nearly every one of them is obnoxious, perverted, a druggie, a "fornicator" or just incredibly annoying. She then decides to do society a favor by slaughtering them. Among the fodder are Cindy Hammersmith (Kim Wall), a perky cheerleader who's also a racist snob, rap-music-loving gang-banger Riff (Daryl Wilcher), who comes packing heat, Asian bitch Arab (Jill Terashita), who makes fun of Angela's industrial strength bra, brain-damaged spray-paint-obsessed punk Snowboy (Kyle Holman) and wanna-be politician and closet bondage enthusiast Bobby Stark (Haynes Brooke; who is best known these days as the guy in the sunshine suit from the Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich commercials). Herman and Lily prove to be every bit as bad as the teens. He's a pervert with a Playboy belt buckle who's intent on bedding the large-breasted Jan (Stacie Lambert) and she's incredibly lazy and eats steak while everyone else eats fish. The third counselor is Officer Barney Whitmore (Cliff Brand), whose son Sean was one of Angela's victims at the same camp back when it was still called Camp Rolling Hills. Tracy Griffith, sister of Melanie, co-stars as Marcia; the only nice girl at the camp.

The deaths are numerous and some of them are pretty creative; though the gore make-ups are strictly mediocre. Firecrackers are inserted into nostrils, a head is run over with a lawnmower, a girl is hiked up a flag pole then dropped on her head, someone snorts drain cleaner thinking it's cocaine, arms are ripped off with a jeep, several heads get lopped off and two die simultaneously when a contraption drops from the ceiling and sinks axes into their chests. The film's funniest moment however is when a topless girl streaks out of her tent screaming and immediately gets clubbed over the head with a tree branch. Springsteen even gets to do her own rap song at one point. High art this is not. Brainless entertainment it is.

In 1992, a fourth film (starring Carrie Chambers as Angela) was started but never finished. Scenes from it first ended up as an extra in a Sleepaway Camp "Survival Kit" box set released by Anchor Bay. In 2011, some bozo took the incomplete Part 4's footage, added numerous flashback sequences from the first three films and then released it to an unsuspecting public as Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor. The actual "official" fourth film was Return to Sleepaway Camp, which brought back original SC director Robert Hiltzik and stars Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten and Paul DeAngelo. Though it was filmed in 2003, it took five long years for it be released and wasn't worth the wait as the film is absolutely terrible. A sixth film (tentatively titled Sleepaway Camp Reunion) was announced but nothing has happened yet.


CavedogRob said...

Sequel? I'm surprised some genius hasn't decided to reboot the whole series yet! Lol! I've only seen the first two so I have some catching up to do!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Oh, it's probably coming at some point!

spookyx3 said...

i've little time for dead-teenager movies, least of all the (for me) ultra-bland summer camp subset, so it's a good thing that i _really_ like looking at pamela springsteen (i'd watch this woman hack up kids for hours). and michael simpson's comic approach is very welcome. don't know if it's partly my own anti-slasher outlook, or a combination of the subgenre's last gasp at the end of the '80s & wringing two movies out of the same shoot, but there's what feels like an all-pervading ho-hum weariness hanging over part III that i find oddly appealing. save for a few sparks of creativity (love her rap tape!) even angela herself is depressedly going through the motions. they won't stop pushing my buttons; the routine's always the same; things will never be how i want them to be...

am i imagining this? maybe. would i like the movie anywhere near as much if someone else was playing angela? hell no.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

"there's what feels like an all-pervading ho-hum weariness hanging over part III that i find oddly appealing."

There is something bizarre about the whole feel of this film. I think most of the cast seemed to be having fun but I bet after doing two films in a row Springsteen was probably like "Get me outta here!" Pollard seemed to be thinking "What am I doing here?" Probably didn't help that both were ALSO in the same director's "Fast Food" from the same year, which also featured Griffith and some other actors from this one (and Sleepaway #2). That would be three films for Pam and two for Pollard. Speaking of "Fast Food," too bad it has fallen off the radar because it's a pretty fun comedy with a great cast (Jim Varney, Kevin McCarthy, Traci Lords...)

spookyx3 said...

yeah, FAST FOOD was a good time, too. (kevin mccarthy as "judge reinholt".)

simpson's FUNLAND (1987) might rate a borderline inclusion for the increasingly unhinged clown and charles whitman finale, though it's more a jackie kong style comedy than anything else.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Never even heard of Funland before but if it involves a killer clown I'll add it to my never ending watch list.

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