Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Before slasher exploitation movies were all corny and bad, there were a couple of them produced that weren’t run of the mill. Sleepaway Camp, directed by Robert Hiltzik, is one of those. It’s a fresh and original slasher from the 80s, so there are colorful and hairy murders all around.

In the summer of 1975, young brother and sister Angela and Peter are out on the lake with their dad John. It’s all fun and games while their boat flips over, but it isn’t when a motorboat accidentally runs them over at full speed. John and Peter die, Angela survives. Eight years later, Angela (Felissa Rose) is living with her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and crazy aunt Martha (Desiree Gould, overacting to the max). During the summer, Ricky and Angela are going to sunny Camp Arawak, to hang out with dozens of other kids of the same age. Angela gets picked on by the other girls for her introverted nature.

There are horror cliché’s all around, like the person who splits from the group getting killed or the almost dumb comic relief, but the 80s vibe with the theatrical acting and directing (the point of view shots and trippy flashbacks especially are worth seeing) and extremely bad outfits and hairdos are so wonderful to see that it kind of adds a layer of indifference regarding those cliché’s, like it’s alright.

Sleepaway Camp is distinctive enough to stand out among the many other slasher movies. Fans will absolutely adore it, and will look past the thin (yet entertaining) plot. The celebrated ending, much talked and written about, is climatic and pretty awesome, but wildly unsupported.



Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Slightly disturbed and painfully shy Angela Baker is sent away to summer camp with her cousin. Not long after Angela’s arrival, things start to go horribly wrong for anyone with sinister or less than honorable intentions.

Director & Writer: Robert Hiltzik

Stars: Felissa RoseJonathan TierstenKaren FieldsChristopher ColletMike KellinKatherine KamhiDesiree Gould & Paul DeAngelo