Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988, Michael A. Simpson)

Picking up where the original left off, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers brings our original killer back to camp and eschews the young adults for more mature campers... Mostly.

Anyone who say this first Sleepaway Camp will immediately know who the killer is, and those who have not will immediately know the spoiler of the first film. I, sadly, watched this one first; so I knew all about Angela... or so I thought.

This time around, Angela (Pamela Springsteen) is an adult and new counselor at "Camp Rolling Hills", which is conveniently located near the now defunct Camp Arawak. She catches one of the girls from her cabin out with some boys, telling what she knew of the Camp Arawak killer. Angela takes the girl away and quickly disposes of her. Angela explains away the death by saying she had to send the girl home because of her behavior. Soon, a rash of campers are "sent home", which makes the camp owner and head counselor suspicious/upset.

Pamela Springsteen as Angela Baker

This movie is more parody of the original. The campers are all older, so the nudity is pretty prevalent, particularly from Valerie Hartman as "Ally Burgess". This one is also a tad more grizzly than its predecessor. More of the action is on-screen, rather than implied. The unavoidable decision to make the killer known makes this more of a necessity. Fans of the first film are there to see Angela, much like Jason Voorhees or Freddie Kruger. Angela is still a bit of a sympathetic character... a bit. You still feel for her, despite her being quite the prude, her insanity is plain. She does have that odd appeal that so many movie bad-guys have, and does inspire sympathy because she comes off as more out of her mind than simply evil.

Valerie Hartman as the delightfully trashy Ally Burgess

This one is not as good as the original, but is worth the watch for genre fans. The best part of it, as sequels go, is that is not a mere pastiche of the original. Angela is a very different, fully formed character this time, and is the underdog. It is a bit sick to cheer for her, but you almost will.

Taken on its own, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is a good '80s slasher pic, and can stand alone from the original. It is a bit campy (no pun intended) and at times silly, but is also rather guesome. Worth your time, if you dig the genre.

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