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Boy, this new Internet sure is fascinating. You just type in a word or phrase and you get back info. You like, have a hobby, share can your interests with others who do the same things. You like a band, or book, or God forbid, a movie and you can dedicate a web site to it. Low and behold, that is what more than one shut-in has done in the case of my favorite movie (this week). Sleepaway Camp. But what drives me crazy is NOT ONE OF THESE DAMN SITES DEDICATED TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP TALKS ABOUT THE FRICKING MOVIE. Sorry. So anyway, I will.

The films goes something like this: a brother and sister are out on a lake with their dad, on a sailboat. There is some horseplay on said sailboat which is bound to end up in tragedy and it does, thank you Robert Hiltzik for cementing my notions on water safety on celluloid forever, because from these monkeyshines the kids and dad (ogled by an omnipresent flaming poofter) wind up in the lake swimming around and having fun. Bullshit, they do too! What they don't see, until it's too late, is a very slow speedboat with some of those crazy, irresponsible teenagers coming right at them. The boat kills the father and one of the children. I think, it is hard to tell, but take my word for it. The omnipresent homosexual (great band name, you can have that Fred Durst side project) looks on upset about the fact that horseplay has once again proven fatal.

Now it is eight years later. Angela (Felissa Rose), who survived the boat accident, (once again, I think I am right here) and her camp-wise bad-ass cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) are headed off to Camp Arawak in upper state New York, why do I give you that detail? Well, if you are from the South, like me, for a few minutes, you think this is some sort of foreign film with that damn accent, but eventually you get over it. Ricky's mom, Angela's Aunt Martha (Desiree Gould), ponders her decision on lunch, reminds herself of something with a string on her finger, looks like a walking ad for Papagallo (look it is '83, if you don't know Papagallo, fuck it) and turns in one of the more bizarro performances ever. I mean, ever, she is awesome, I am not sure why but she is, kinda, well, I talking myself out it. Shit she is okay, I guess.

Upon arriving at the camp, Ricky and Angela meet up with Paul (Christopher Collet, from the shit burger The Langoliers), Ricky's ex-girlfriend Judy (Karen Fields), who truly is the type of little bitch who needs punched, and a host of other incredible characters. And I mean incredible. I'll say something for our man Hiltzik, he wrote this story originally as a thesis in college and the fellow has a bent take on characters. Here are just a few of the "characters" in Sleepaway Camp, not including Aunt Martha and the aforementioned omnipresent homosexual (damn, that is good. Fred, I'm waiting for my e-mail).

Ben (Robert Earl Jones -- yes, James Earl Jones' father), a well-spoken total fucking step-and-fetch it. Ben reacts with all the charm of that Black conductor from all the B & W Saturday Matinees I remember from my childhood. Good stuff.

Artie, the demented pedophile chef with the largest roasting ear pot I have ever laid eyes on and I'm from goddamned Georgetown, Kentucky where there is more outhouses full of shit-ladden corn than you can shake a whole kernel at. Artie delivers a few gems like ("Just look all this young, fresh chicken... where I come from, they call 'em 'baldies'!") He ain't talking poultry there, listeners.

Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo), the buff Italian counselor with a heart of gold and the tightest shorts I think I have ever seen on a grown man. I doubt Paul reproduced, I'll check one of the 7,000 fan sites dedicated only to his character within the Sleepaway Camp web community.

Meg (Katherine Kamhi, All My Children) Judy's equally bitchy friend and Camp Counselor who seems to have a problem with Angela's "keep-to-herself, quiet, sweet personality. Sure. Why not? Everyone hates sweet, innocent, quiet kids at Summer Camp, the gall of Angela!

Mozart (Willy Kuskin), the brainiac, butt-of-all-practical-joke, hero. No, not really, but he does get an ass in the face, shaving cream in his hand that ends up on his face and carries around a huge hunting knife. In 2001, the kid would get the electric chair for packing that sucker in his duffle bag. Ah, the 80's.

Another element Hiltzik captures quite effectively is the use of the minor characters in the film to capture the total asshole-like nature of high school kids who are really just too old to be at summer camp. Angela's choice to come to summer camp seems not a wise one, since she never talks, she's especially shy and quiet, and spends most of the film getting picked on, since she sits out most activities and doesn't shower with the rest of the girls. She gets called a lesbo because she won't shower with other girls? Huh? I guess I am a lesbo too, but I would love to change that. I am tired of all the carpet munching.

Cousin Ricky frequently comes to her aid. And it begs the question was Ricky's parents on the set during the filming? His character cuts loose with expletives that would make a butt-fucking, cock-sucking sea captain blush. Soon, people start dying. One guy has an unfortunate pants-around-his-ankles encounter with a beehive. Not American Pie like but taking a shit like. We got a drowning, a knifing and a bow and arrowing but the be all end all is the curling ironing which takes place in shadows but involves a cooter and curls and gives new meaning to the cliché' "hot sex"

Who's responsible for all these murders? Well the old fish faced, cigar-chomping Jewish camp owner thinks he knows and out of the blue tries to beat Ricky to death, seriously, to death. Not just a ass-kicking... he tries, and thinks he does, to kill him. Weird and definitely left-fieldish. Though the identity of the killer isn't exactly hard to figure out, it comes with the kind of BIG-TIME payoff ending we areound here at Brains On Film relish, which includes a homo flashback, incesterly touching, wacko adult/kid interaction and well...aw hell, I can't spoil it, even though you can go to the Sleepaway Camp portal and visit 31,352 chats on the subject. Okay get your spoiler right here, you can see the killer, in full screaming color. Damn I am weak, sometimes, most of the time, okay, always.

Well shit, here is some shit I found out about this sucka...

Robert Hiltzik attended Camp Algonquin as a boy and came back years later to direct his first movie about kids going away to a summer camp. He then disappeared as far as film making goes, but has been tracked down by a zealous (or overzealous) web geek fanguy who may have resurrected his career. Talk of a fourth installment is all over the web, there are 2 sequels which revive the characters only in name and are thought to be "funny" by most Sleepaway Camp aficionados.

The actress who played Angela is still acting in off-off-Broadway crap with her hubby and just completed a short horror titled called Birds of a Feather. Ricky is rocking in a band.

Given the genre of stalk and kill slasher, Sleepaway camp elevates to a different level In fact, Hiltzik combined a slew of strange and deviant characters, sexual subtexts, disturbing flashbacks, one hell of an ending and a cast of virtual unknowns to create a movie that is different in a group of movies largely though of as "the same." Hiltzik tried something a little different, unaware of what he was creating to some extent, his story was unique. That is a different notion than most who toyed with slasherdom. Gore them out, boogeyman to death but Hiltzik's is a better story than that so he didn't pull the cheap shit (much). The unfortunate part is it was made in the early 80s. The fashions are plastic, the hairstyles even more plastic and unfortunately one cannot sit through the first 30 minutes and not think thoughts of Velveeta. We got tight, camel-toe inducing, jogging shorts, tight, midriff bearing, half T-shirts and beautiful pre-mullet, large, feathered hair and all of that is just on the boyz. Not to mention the ManBeef and plenty of it. There are are couple realing "in-shape" fellas who look like they could fight or fuck with the best of 'em. Much has been made of Hiltzik gay references in the film, but rumor has it he likes women. Wow. Who knew?

Nonetheless, Sleepaway Camp rises above it all with the kewl ending and the feeling the viewer is left having. Like Nightmare, Mother's Day and other gems that survived this period in filmaking, sometimes it is the idea of a film that makes it a classic. Sleepaway Camp is that. Ask any of the godawful webmasters and their handful of minions and they will back me up. You can buy Sleepaway Camp on DVD now, with commentary from Hiltzik and Felissa Rose (Angela) and including super-fanboy and webmaster over at sleepawaycampmovies.com. (and dot org and dot net) Seriously, I ain't lying, he even got Fangoria to do a Reunion of the whole cast back in April of this year. So remember kids, your stupid obsessions can pay big dividends, by getting you autographs of people who were lucky enough to make one movie. So keep up the banter and keep looking for that version of Sleepaway Camp where the gay dad comes back and kills them all. Me, I am happy with this one. Bro. George fetch me those scissors, I'm making me a half shirt out of my new BOF T. WoooHooo!

Acting and shit.

Water balloon goes pop on Angela

Ricky uses words like cocksucker, mother-fucker and pussy + more. Nice

These are the cocksucker, motherfucker and pussy + more.

Spoiler Alert Cick here for photos that give the ending away!

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Are you scared yet? I am still pondering why it is called Sleepaway Camp....

Ah, the timelessness of the painters cap. I'm wearing one as I type this.


Now I remember, smell my finger. Aunt Martha's special sauce.

Bitch. Judy. Judy. Bitch. That is today's lesson.

Ah, the timelessness of the cowboy hat. I'm wearing one as I type this.

Young weird love. Angela and Paul.

The goddamnedest pot of boiling corn water I have ever seen.

Angela, have I showed you my roasting ear?

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I told you that was a big old pot of boiling corn water.

Yessir Missa Professa Treb, you right, dat was a big'en.

Okay the racist jokes were in another review...how about a joke about this movie smelling like ass or something?

ManBeef I tells ya! ManBeef! Smell it.

Dead, this guy is. Nice work.

She dead too. All stabbed down her back.

He is fucking tired of all this deadness. He's gonna kill somebody.

Is that right. Take that Ricky, and that and....

Curling irons, good on hair bad as marital aids remember that.

Pull my finger, go 'head, pull it. Dare ya! Double dog dare ya.


I think this is your color, sweetie.
Brains On Film 2003