100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Fifty-One - "Sleepaway Camp!"

Usually, I like to get my weekend posts up nice and early and even watch the film early too. But today was filled with rain and work, so I slept in and took my time doing everything else. Including this thing.

But here I am, coffee (almost) in hand and ready to dispense my creamy wisdom all over your eager, upturned faces. Aw yeah bitch.

Today's film is a return to the 80s slasher genre with the utterly disturbing "Sleepaway Camp." I hope you all have this one to play along, because it almost defies description. And if you haven't seen it, I guess I should say that a spoiler alert lies somewhere ahead. READ ON RAVERS!

Sleepaway Camp (1983): Directed by Robert Hiltzik. Starring Felissa Rose, Michael Kellin, Katherine Kamhi, Paul DiAngelo and Karen Fields.

The Skinny: Released in the heyday of the slasher film genre, "Camp" follows the mold of the unseen killer picking off victims one by one until the final brutal showdown. In this case, however, the victims are kids at the titular sleepaway summer camp, and the ending is perhaps one of the most shocking you will ever see.

What's Good: This is definitely one of those horror movies that you should only see if you understand the whole 80s movie thing; you know, that thing where you have to appreciate it for its utter awfulness. If you grasp this concept, then this can be an enjoyable experience. Like anything that is formulaic - from an episode of "House" to the "Star Wars" movies - there are things you expect from slasher films and "Sleepaway Camp" delivers them all - the violence from the killer's perspective, the cycle of vengeance, the absurdity of the deaths, the notion that anyone left alive could be the killer - and in spades. There is nothing particularly redeemable about the performances - it's packed with unknowns who went on to remain unknown - although Felissa Rose carried her role as Angela for a number of sequels and right into the horror movie festival circuit. And while the script is so routine it's painful at times, there is a disturbing sexual undercurrent that is essential to the impact of the ending. It deals with homosexuality and sexual imprinting and some other ideas that are far too much for a formulaic slasher flick to EVER get into.

What's Bad: As I have said many times before, this is an early 80s independent horror film and it shows. Bad lighting, no cinematography to speak of, shitty actors spouting shittier dialogue and an absurd premise that we're supposed to swallow from Frame One. That said, it also can be charming for those very reasons. So for the record, this entry into the slasher genre is no better or no worse than any other.

Why We Like It: See above.

Memorable Stuff: Shall I spoil the ending? Maybe I shouldn't. Maybe it's better if you don't know. But let me tell you, it is a kicker. Add to that some homoerotic skinny dipping and a few gay dreams and you have yourself some damn kind of a movie or another.