“You pissed away your good looks and God-given talent your whole life and turned into nothing but a cynical, dirty-mouthed waste of flesh!”
If the Angel of Death had no trouble finding fault with the horny, pot-smoking teenagers of the Reagan era, can you imagine how she’d react to the crazy kids of today? The thought evokes a streamline of gore-soaked images; possibilities of how the notorious Angela Baker would “handle” 21st Century post-adolescents. With their iPhone obsessions, sexting, bath salts, and this odd new Pokémon Go craze, we’ve got bad campers coming out of the woodwork, not mention falling into open manholes, leaving a mountain of easy prey for the predatory counselor.
In the sequel to Robert Hiltzik’s 1983 cult classic, everyone’s favorite transgender (transgendered? Anyone?) psycho returns, this time as a Camp Rolling Hills counselor, and within the first five minutes of the film, we come to find she has even less tolerance for those who don’t play by the rules. All you have to do is give Angie the ol’ side-eye and you’re doused with Jack Daniel’s and set ablaze atop a barbecue pit.
For a time, Unhappy Campers was not only my favorite installment in the Sleepaway Camp franchise, but it was easily one of the most viewed and most quotable movies in my extensive collection. I vividly remember sitting cross-legged on my basement floor, reciting every line in the script (without the aid of a VCR, thank you very much) just to impress the few friends able to tolerate my questuinable eccentricities. So enamored with the demented sequel, I could even recite the synopsis printed on the back of the old Nelson Entertainment VHS, word for word, without so much as glancing at the box. What can I say? I was quite smitten with Fritz Gordon’s (a.k.a. Michael Hitchcock’s) quirky writing style, this brand new incarnation of the Angela character, and, most of all, with Pamela Springsteen’s portrayal of the murderous camp counselor who can’t stand the idea of anyone having any fun.
For those of you who’ve been listening to my silly little fanboy commentaries from the beginning, you basically know how I operate and what to expect from an episode of B-Movie Bonanza. This is not an excuse to rip an ‘80s cult classic to shreds, but to show both my appreciation and undying love for a movie that has brought me so many years of twisted entertainment.
I used Scream Factory’s Blu ray/DVD combo as my film source, so for those of you who want to watch along, this would obviously be the best option. The running time is 1:20:22, including the MGM intro prior to the opening titles. After recording this episode, I popped in Anchor Bay’s 2002 Survival Kit edition, just for the sake of comparing lengths (good grief, that sounds filthy) and their version runs, sans MGM intro, 1:19:53, which would leave you about 30 seconds off. So, join me as I revisit Sleepaway Camp II, but please, pack only the essentials and remember, “nice girls don’t have to show it off.”