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"Dear Mom and Dad, I've been at Sleepaway Camp for three weeks... and I'm getting very scared."—Opening line of the trailer.
The original Sleepaway Camp was directed by Robert Hiltzik and it was released in 1983 during the heyday of Slasher Movies.
The plot follows two cousins, Angela and Ricky, who are attending a summer camp. Shortly after their arrival, people start to die. Especially those who pick on Angela...
The film is notorious for its Twist Ending and it has amassed a cult following over the years.
Scroll down the page if you want to find about the sequels. But be warned, unmarked spoilers for the first film are abound!
The first film contains the examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Judy
- The Archer: Mel dies when an arrow is shot through his throat.
- Made more notable by the fact that it's a pretty good special effect shot...that the director won't tell anyone the details of HOW it was done.
- Asshole Victim: Most of the victims, but notably Artie the cook, who really likes children (yes, in that way). Ironically, he's also the only victim who doesn't die.
- Bee-Bee Gun: Billy is stung to death when a beehive is dropped into his bathroom stall.
- Big OMG
- Butt Monkey: Mozart
- Chekhov's Gun: Aunt Martha gives Ricky and Angela signed physical examination forms so they can go to camp. There's a reason she doesn't want another doctor taking a look at Angela...
- Cloudcuckoolander: Aunt Martha
- Cradling Your Kill
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Judy has...something done to her with a curling iron.
- Dedication: The director Robert Hiltzik dedicated the movie to his mother.
- Don't Go in The Woods
- Dropped a Bridget On Him: In the infamous twist ending.
- Eighties Hair: Mullets!
- Flipping the Bird
- Follow the Leader: So wait, an old summer camp is being reopened and a killer starts offing people. Sounds kinda familiar.
- Gosh Hornet
- Harmful to Minors: Angela witnessing the death of her well, his father and sister.
- Impending Doom POV: Both subverted and played straight.
- Infant Immortality: Averted.
- Knife Nut: Meg is killed with a knife pulled down through her spine.
- May-December Romance: Mel and Meg.
- My Beloved Smother: Aunt Martha to Angela.
- Nerd Glasses: Mozart
- Nothing Is Scarier: Judy's death is more disturbing because we're not shown what happens when she is killed with the curling iron.
- Off with His Head
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse
- Primal Scene
- Red Herring: Hints that Ricky is the killer.
- Very badly, though. It was pretty obvious throughout the movie that it wasn't him.
- Which just makes The Reveal so much more terrifying. There's a twist, just not of the nature you thought you were getting.
- Made more confusing by the fact that Ricky's actor did all the 'kill scenes'.
- Shadow Discretion Shot
- Shrinking Violet: Angela
- Soundtrack Dissonance: On the ending credits.
- Summer Campy
- Sympathy for the Devil: Angela. Rather than view "her" as aimless psycho killer, you can actually pity her. And that's pretty scary in itself.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Again, Angela.
- Twist Ending: One of the most infamous ones.
- Villainous Crossdresser
- The Voiceless: And once again, Angela.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot
Warning: Unmarked Spoilers!
First patch of sequels follow Angela, who is now fully grown up and is completely nuts. Unlike the first film, the sequels venture into more comedic side of things and have more winking approach on their subject.
First sequel, titled Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers, was released in 1988. Angela has been recently released from the mental institute and is working as a camp counselor. Unfortunately for the campers, she has high moral standards and kills anyone who she deems "a naughty camper".
Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland was released in 1989. Shot back-to-back with its predecessor, it follows Angela infiltrating a group of campers to exact her brand of "niceness".
Another sequel was in works in the early nineties with Jim Markovic as the director, but the company producing it, Double Helix, went bankrupt and the project was scrapped. The existing footage was put together for a short half-hour film Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor and was released as a bonus on the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit DVD box set in 2002. Ten years later a more cohesive cut was put together, which was then released on DVD. It follows Angela, who has lost her memories and goes to the original camping grounds to find answers to her past.
The series got sudden revival between 2005 and 2009, as the original director, Robert Hiltzik, started to make more sequels, which ignore the three previous films.
Return to Sleepaway Camp, which was released in 2008, follows yet another summer camp where people mysteriously start to turn up dead. Identity of the killer is kept as a mystery just as in the original film, but it still retains some comedic elements from previous films.
The next sequel, Sleepaway Camp Reunion, is waiting for release. Michael A. Simpson, director and producer of the second and third films, intended to create his own sequel, Sleepaway Camp: Berserk, but it appears to have fallen to the wayside. The film would have apparently tied up some loose ends, and, controversially, introduce supernatural elements to the series.
The sequels provide the examples of:
- An Axe to Grind
- Asshole Victim: Angela sees them like this, at any rate, in Unhappy Campers and Teenage Wasteland. Everyone in Return is one, but then again, who wasn't a jackass in that.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Unhappy Campers
- Bound and Gagged
- Bucket Booby Trap: Done to Angela in Unhappy Campers.
- Call Back: Return has several to the original (and even a few possible ones to the previous sequels).
- Canon Dis Continuity: Return to Sleepaway Camp ignored the preceding sequels.
- Car Fu
- Carry a Big Stick: Angela kills one naughty camper with a big stick in the opening of the Unhappy Campers. She repeats the deed in Teenage Wasteland.
- Catch Phrase: Alan has "Your ass stinks!" in Return.
- Chainsaw Good: Unhappy Campers
- Chase Scene
- Crapsack World: Return
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Four words: DROWNED IN AN OUTHOUSE.
- Cute and Psycho: Angela
- Dead Person Impersonation: Angela steals Maria's identity to infiltrate the New Horizons Camp in Teenage Wasteland.
- She does the same with the sheriff in Return.
- Death by Racism
- Death by Sex
- Decoy Protagonist: Teenage Wasteland opens with one.
- Dirty Old Man: Herman in Teenage Wasteland.
- Dolled-Up Installment: A presumably unnofficial release of the 1988 film Memorial Valley Massacre is titled Son of Sleepaway Camp.
- Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
- Evilly Affable: Angela
- Eye Scream: Charlie and Emilio's eyeless bodies in Unhappy Campers, a cop getting a syringe in the eye in Teenage Wasteland, and T.C. getting speared in the eye and through the head in Return.
- Fan Service: So very much.
- Farts on Fire: The opening of Return.
- Final Girl: Molly in Unhappy Campers and Marcia in Teenage Wasteland.
- Fishing for Sole: Angela manages to fish out a hockey mask from the water in Teenage Wasteland. Right afterward it's remarked that the date is Saturday the 14th.
- Though this does double as a Continuity Nod as one of the campers in Unhappy Campers had dressed as Jason Voorhees.
- Flaying Alive: Michael's death in Return.
- For the Evulz: Michael and Vinnie skin frogs in Return because its cool.
- Genki Girl: In the Sleepaway Camp sequels, Angela is very energetic and happy serial killer.
- Groin Attack: Randy getting his penis ripped off with fishing line and a jeep in Return.
- Kick the Frog: In Return, immediately after Alan tells him he considers the local frogs his friends, Michael boots one through the air. He and a friend later skin a bunch alive and dump them on Alan.
- Kill'Em All: Angela resorts to killing everyone in Camp Rolling Hills in Unhappy Campers, when she thinks that she has killed Molly.
- Kill It with Fire: Angela barbecues stoners in both Unhappy Campers and Return.
- Knife Nut: While Angela only used a knife twice in the first film, it became her default weapon in the sequels.
- Machete Mayhem
- Ms. Fanservice: Ally in Unhappy Campers, who is constantly showing off her boobs.
- Mummies At the Dinner Table: Angela keeps the bodies of her victims in an abandoned cabin in Unhappy Campers, and, seemingly in her less lucid moments, treats them like they're still alive.
- Name's the Same: Unhappy Campers and Return both feature victims named T.C.
- Nightmare Dreams: Angela in Unhappy Campers has nightmares from the things she caused, indicating some level of guilt. It's also an excuse to resort to Stock Footage.
- Numbered Sequels
- Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Snowboy in Teenage Wasteland, Weed and Pee-Pee in Return.
- Omniscient Morality License: Be a naughty camper, and Angela will kill you.
- The Pig Pen: Alan in Return.
- Pet the Dog: Angela decides to let Marcia and Tony live at the end of Teenage Wasteland. This comes back to bite her in the ass when Marcia attacks and possibly kills her.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: When Ally sees blood-covered Angela in Unhappy Campers, she comments that it looks like ketchup.
- Really Gets Around: Ally in Unhappy Campers.
- Red Herring: Alan and Petey in Return.
- Revenge of the Sequel
- Sarcastic Confession: Unhappy Campers:
Diane: "Angela, what's really in there?"
Angela: "Dead teenager's brains."
- Sassy Black Woman: Bella in Return.
- Serial Killer: Angela, though it doesn't take much to send her spiraling into spree killing.
- Shout-Out: Jordan and Anthony in Unhappy Campers dress as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger in an attempt to scare Angela. It backfires as she appears dressed as Leatherface and kills them.
- In Return, Randy, when Linda thinks someone is following them through the forest, cracks a joke about "the Cropsy maniac".
- Almost every character in Unhappy Campers is named after a 1970's brat pack members, while the characters in Teenage Wasteland are almost all named after somebody from West Side Story.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror
- The Stinger: Return. It shows Angela killing the real sheriff, explaining how she got all her cop stuff.
- The Stoner: The Schote Sisters in Unhappy Campers, and Weed and Stan in Return.
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: Due to the Canon Dis Continuity which was started after the fourth movie.
- Straight Edge Evil: Angela does not smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs and if she catches doing any of those things, look out!
- Stripperific: For some reason, Angela is wearing a pretty slutty looking getup in Return's post-credits scene.
- Symbolic Blood: Spilled red paint and syrup in Unhappy Campers.
- This Is a Drill: And it goes through the head.
- 3D Movie: The upcoming Sleepaway Camp Reunion.
- Title Drop
- Token Minority: Both boy and girl groups in Unhappy Campers include one African-American member.
- Each group of campers in Teenage Wasteland had at least one.
- Too Dumb to Live: T.C. and Spaz in the spear sequence in Return. Sure, lets keep looking down the hole someone just shoved a pointy stick through. What happens next is unsurprising.
- Unwilling Suspension: Angela does this to Cindy in Teenage Wasteland.
- Urban Legends: The campers are telling these in the opening of Unhappy Campers.
- Villain Protagonist
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Provided by Sean in Unhappy Campers.
- Wet Sari Scene: Provided by Ally in Unhappy Campers.