Written by: John Edward Betancourt
Often times multiple horror films will share either a similar setting or a general theme. There always seems to be a rush of zombie films, or vampire flicks, ghost stories, the list goes on and on.
But there is one particular setting that seems to have disappeared from the genre, one that dominated the field in the early 1980's, the horror flick set at summer camp. Friday the 13th and its subsequent sequels dominated the decade, but there were other films that tried to muscle in on the action. Knockoffs like The Burning weren't exactly a rousing success, but there was one film that managed to separate itself from the pack and stun us all, I'm of course talking about Sleepaway Camp.
Young Ricky and his introverted cousin Angela head to Camp Arawak for a summer of fun in the sun. But Angela's anti social skills don't go over well with the other kids at camp and she quickly becomes an easy target. Ricky of course comes to her defense, but someone is watching over Angela in a more horrible fashion as those who cross her, quickly face a horrible death. One by one the bullies fall and the counselors rush to figure out who is killing all the campers, but the shocking truth they discover will haunt them forever.
Released in 1983, Sleepaway Camp is anything but standard fare. While on the outside it looks like your usual slasher flick, the film does an excellent job of playing with your mind as you try to guess the killer. Is it Ricky doing the "honorable" thing for his cousin or has she taken matters into her own hands? For the gore hounds out there, there is no shortage of over the top effects. We get everything from the obligatory hunting knife, to more creative deaths involving steaming hot water.
But let's face it, while we can discuss the simple scares in the film, I cannot stress enough that this movie has one goal in mind, to completely slap you upside your head with a surprise shock ending that still holds strong to this day. Obviously, I don't plan on ruining it for you if you haven't seen this flick, but put your trust in the fact that the last five minutes of this motion picture change everything about what you have just seen.
That is the beauty of Sleepaway Camp. This is a cult classic that knows how tough the competition is around it, and the chances of bringing down King Jason are next to impossible. So rather than be a simple clone, it instead goes for broke and holy cow is the end result something that will leave you talking for days to come.