Monday, June 30, 2014

Sleepaway Camp: Survival Kit

Sleepaway Camp: Survival Kit (1983, 88)
Movie rating: 6/10
DVD rating: 8/10
Release Date: August 20, 2002
Running Time: 4 hours 3 minutes
Rating: R
Distributor: Anchor Bay
List Price: $39.98
Disc Details
Special Features: Widescreen anamorphic format
Chapter selection.
Three disc boxed set
16 page Collector's booklet
Commentary track by director Robert Hiltzik, star Felissa Rose and moderator Jeff Hayes
Theatrical trailer
Commentary track by Director Michael Simpson, writer Fritz Gordon and moderator John Klyza
Behind the scenes footage and outtakes
Teaser trailer
Theatrical trailer
Three stills galleries
Commentary track by Director Michael Simpson, writer Fritz Gordon and moderator John Klyza
Behind the scenes footage and outtakes
Deleted scenes featuring additional "gore" footage Theatrical trailer
Three still galleries.
Video Format: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Languages: English (Dolby Digital 2.0) mono
Subtitles: None.
Captions: No
Casing: 3-Disc Boxed Set

I never saw any of the "Sleepaway Camp" movies when they were released in the theaters. I assumed they were grade-z rip-offs of the "Friday the 13th" series. I had also seen enough of the "Friday the 13th" films to get my fill. With one exception, the "Sleepaway Camp" films are inferior to any of the "Friday the 13th" films. I know that the series has a cult following, and I expect to get some hate mail over this, but there should never have been a series of films. The producers should have stopped after the first.

"Sleepaway Camp" (1983) is a routine, crazed killer lose in the summer camp movie. That is, until the film's final scene. I must admit that I had goose bumps for 15 minutes after the final scene played. The final scene of "Sleepaway Camp" is one of the most original and innovative scenes ever to appear in a horror film. That final scene puts such an incredible spin on everything that came before it, that you have to watch the movie a second time in order to catch all of the macabre twists that only seemed routine before. The revelation at the end of "Sleepaway Camp" is the stuff nightmares are made of.

The problem with doing a sequel to "Sleepaway Camp" is that you know who and what the killer is. There is no way to build on suspense. For this reason, the sequels are nothing more than an excuse to show people, usually women, being killed. The filmmakers seemed to realize this, so they spiced up the two sequels with loads of sex and violence. I appreciated the beautiful bodies on display, but other than that, there isn't much to recommend either the second or third film.

There are some funny lines. That isn't reason enough to see the sequels. The special effects are lame when compared to the works of Tom Savini or Lucio Fulci. The sequels reason for existence is to show beautiful naked girls having sex and then kill them. In all fairness, the killer in these movies is an equal opportunity sociopath. Guys are graphically murdered as well!

The first film boasts Mike Kellin in his next to last film. He's the guy with the arrow in his throat in the accompanying photo. Michael J. Pollard (Bonnie and Clyde) appears in the 3rd film. Cult film actress Felissa Rose appears in the original film, while the sexy Pamela Springsteen, sister of "The Boss" Bruce Sprinsteen, plays Angela in the two sequels. If you are interested in seeing truly original and terrifying horror, catch Dante Tomaselli's upcoming "Horror." That film features Felissa Rose in a cool cameo!

The Disc
One great horror film, two mediocre horror films. Good picture, fair sound, Good extras.

Picture Quality: 8/10
There are some delineation problems during the nighttime scenes in all three films. That is probably due to the source material. I didn't notice any artifacts or pixilation. The flesh tones (ample amounts in the 2nd and 3rd film) are excellent. Cheap looking blood.

Sound Quality: 7/10
The mono sound track is flat. The screams are piercing, but overall, the sound is flat. The track makes little use of the surround sound feature.

Menu: 7/10
The menu on the first film is kinda cool, but the other two are uninspired. Easy to navigate. My usual complaint about Anchor Bay using text titles instead of pictures on the chapter selection menu.

Extra Features: 8/10

The commentary tracks were moderated by true fans of the series. The directors and Ms. Rose seem to be enjoying themselves. I liked the first commentary track, because the first film was so much better than the others. The other commentary tracks will be enjoyable to fans of the series. I didn't like the other films and so, didn't care for the commentary tracks.

There are trailers on all three discs. The second and third films have ample still galleries covering publicity, make-up, behind the scenes and artwork.

The second and third DVDs also include behind the scenes footage and outtakes. Fans will enjoy them. The third DVD also includes deleted scenes including additional gore. The murders in the 3rd film are the tamest of the series. However, the director obviously didn't mean for it to be that way. The deleted gore scenes are very graphic. They are also disturbing. In one scene, a topless, silicon enhanced woman is beaten with a log. The camera lingers on her breasts as each blow impacts her. Loads of fun for impressionable kids!

The Final Word:
Fans will eat up this boxed set. I recommend the first film, but can't find anything remotely entertaining or redeeming about the sequels.

No comments: