Dear Mom and Dad,

I know this seems to go against my claims that we will no longer be on speaking terms if you sent me here, but I am only writing this because one of the counselors chewed me out over it. I’m glad something got chewed around here because the food surely isn’t. Really parents? Do you not watch the news? When I watch the news, they’re filled with stories of children being abducted and their bodies being found in the middle of the woods. SO WHY ARE YOU CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN! I hope my child doesn’t end up being found like this, I know I’ll leave them in a remote part of the woods with limited adult supervision! I get that you think I’m “anti-social” and need to make more friends but this was a horrible way to achieve that. I don’t know anyone here, if you’re always saying “why don’t make some neighborhood friends” why would you make sure I’m as far away from the neighborhood as possible during the summer.

Here’s the thing, I’m not completely sure I got on the right bus, they say this is summer camp, but it feels more like anger management camp or a retreat for the local psyche ward. I noticed I wasn’t like the other kids when everyone stampeded off the bus. Maybe everyone else had a long bus ride, I was one of the last pick-up points but, I was like no thanks I’ll walk. It turns out everyone here’s a bunch of: hot-headed, petty, immature psychos and one of them might be killing people. I don’t know, some strange things have happened here, but I’ve been busy keeping my head down to really get into these rumors. However if you ask me, I’m sure it’d be harder to pick who isn’t capable of murder out of a police line-up. Well I have to go watch this cheesy slasher film (Sleepaway Camp at Sleepaway Camp how original) maybe I’ll write you a review that is if I can survive being here another minute.

Wish me luck – K

When I sat down to watch this one, I was only hoping to have a fun time, whether that be because this film can provide a decent slasher flick or because of ironic amusement of how absurd it could be. Sleepaway Camp is oddly enough somehow perfectly balanced in delivering on both fronts. It is the kind of film I kind of miss, they really don’t make them like they used to. I appreciate the unintended Cinéma verité aesthetic achieved through minimal cinematography, lightning, and sound design.

I don’t think there was a Foley capturing or ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement) sessions for this movie, so the movie has a genuine atmosphere to it. A bunch of kids stampeding around? It’s going to be hard to hear; same goes for lighting when it’s night time in the middle of the woods. You bet it’s going to be dark as all hell. It’s kind of refreshing as I feel we tend to overproduce things now. For example in a horror movie when it’s the middle of the night all the lights are off but you can still see a detailed profile of the characters face and all the furniture because the moon is an equivalent of a light source to dimmed studio lights with blue filters on them. Or when a comedy is set at the Prom, you know the place where you go to the super quiet gym where the music is loud only when your dancing but gives you no problems to hold a normal conversation at room volume. I get it, hard to hear and see are reasonable problems you want to avoid or correct, but they can be used to create atmosphere when used appropriately.

Willy Kuskin, Frank Trent Saladino, and Jonathan Tiersten in Sleepaway Camp (1983)

The same goes for the screenplay, it’s a film that benefits from having a loose script. I think it’s generous to say that Sleepaway Camp follows a three-act structure. I’d sum up this movie as: A cold open that feels largely irrelevant but actual does a lot of heavy lifting in retrospect, 70% of the run time being dickin’ around at summer camp occasionally interrupted by slasher horror kills and wraps up in quite possibly the greatest WTF ending in movie history.

It’s actually a great whodunit as there are so many wacky and crazy things being said or off-kilter character traits that it’s difficult to identify what’s a Chekhov’s gun moment and what’s a red herring. It uses the utter stupidity of this film, the fact that you don’t expect the guy who wrote dialogue such as “eat shit and live, Bill” is capable of delivering such a premeditated and calculated mystery but yet it feels so shocking and yet in hindsight makes sense.

Everyone turned their acting up to 11 and these characters are almost self-satirizing but gosh darn was it just fun to watch them. Everyone was so immoral to a cartoon-ish fashion; it was so much fun rooting for the killer. The make-up artist did amazing effect work that might come across as over-kill, but I blame editing. Half of the gruesome effects are shown off a little too long and appear in continuity that would make more sense if this is what they discovered no so abruptly to the killings happening.

All I really have to say towards recommending this film is that if you don’t take it too seriously, I think it’s a lot of fun to laugh with and laugh at. It’s a delightful thrill of a slasher that both shocked and unnerved me by the end of it. With this film it feels appropriate to have a spoiler discussion so I’m going to encourage you all to go watch this completely bonkers film before proceeding any further, I do recommend it.

Spoiler Discussion

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

I still think the craziest thing about this movie is that it’s dedicated to someone’s mother…..why? It’s phrased frighteningly ambiguous to, what does it mean she was a “doer” what did she do to you exactly? A lot of what the characters “do” in this movie are not things I hope remind people of me and there is a mom in this movie and she’s probably the most cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs character in all of cinematic history. I do highly recommend anyone who’s watched this to watch a podcast hosted by a few comedians named “How Did This Get Made” as hearing them trying to grasp the happenings of the opening and how it relates to the rest of the film is a riot to listen to and much more funnier than I can make it sound.

How did this get made is maybe the best description of this film because I just can’t believe some of the creative decisions that went into this film. I like to imagine everyone on the crew had an inside joke to see who could get away with the dumbest fast one on the director. I heard that they fell behind schedule and threw the storyboards away, they might have done the same with the script. It almost seems like actors are ad-libbing the most insane comments they can think of and the director’s just rolling with. Whoever was in charge of wardrobe is a comedic legend from the: Judy shirt, to the cowboy hat, to this man’s fake mustache it all feels just too good to be true.

Allen Breton in Sleepaway Camp (1983)

At first I thought that this ending wouldn’t fly in today’s time, would be cancelled immediately. Why is it a marginalized group have to be the villain, what kind of problematic statement is it to use gender as a disguise? First this movie is very equal opportunist in that no one is shown as a very nice person and second this movie doesn’t have any ambitions of touting an agenda. So can’t we just let it be a dumb thing. Speaking of dumb, I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t figure it out before the reveal and had actually removed suspicion of Angela almost immediately. She acted like a crazy person from the beginning, it would be too obvious if the person who has no emotions was the remorseless killer it has to be one of the normal-ish main characters. This is the greatest reveal shot ever: from the weird feral noise, to the weird pose, to the uncanny facial expression and the fact that it just abruptly ends. I watched this alone and sober but if there is one film that is begging for a drunk movie night with some friends this is guaranteed to be a hit.

This isn’t related to the review, but I had this thought and for some reason I feel inclined to share it. I was not convinced to follow this thought but the idea of it bothers me and it was essentially to give everyone the good old Irish Goodbye. That I looked at some of how my recent posts displayed that I had sort of one big project for each branch of content I’ve promised; film reviews – Avengers Endgame review, anime reviews – Clannad posts, and for the creative writing aspect I did my last post Paint Broad Strokes. I began to wonder if these should mark a beautiful beginning or a satisfying end… should I just let my last post be sort of my unspoken finale.

I don’t know why I was thinking this way. Maybe I’m admittedly insecure about my place in everything and my ability to be producing worth-while content. I do a lot of things wrong from offering varied content to producing larger reads and not posting on an acceptable schedule or frequency. I’m nervous about potentially continuing and getting repetitive and stale; keep it going and failing to deliver content that you wanted, or you find interesting and ultimately disappointing the people who deserve better. I’ll never be satisfied: should add more personality, add more critical analysis, should have made a better graphics, should have edited more, should post more of certain topics, should post more in general, should do this, that and everything. Gosh darn is nothing here perfect, far from it but what ever is. So I’ve had a decent string of work lately, should I have quit while I’m ahead… I don’t know but releasing this certainly ruins it.

I’m not leaving anytime soon, but I appreciate those who have and will be part of this journey, and equally letting me be apart of yours. If I do eventually go on and disappoint; I’m sorry, but I’ll always try to produce the best I’m capable of.


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