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Sequels that no one asked for tend to be a common occurrence in the realm of horror…but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a fair bit of fun. Sleepaway Camp II & III have been reissued on Blu-Ray for the very first time in brand spanking new editions as the movies have never looked better with a plethora of special features having been produced that would make any fan blush.
Sleepaway Camp II takes place years after the events of the first film as roll into Camp Rolling Hills with the new strict camp councillor Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen). She’s all better now and has carved out a brand new identity for herself so she can teach “bad campers” her own special brand of discipline.
Sleepaway Camp III finds Angela on the lamb and back at camp as Rolling Hills gets rechristened as Camp New Horizons in an autumn retreat that brings together well to do, obnoxious rich kids with surly street kids in what they call an “experiment in sharing”. It is the perfect setting for Angela to reek her unique brand of terror as she assumes a camper’s identity to come back to the one place she’s always belonged.
No one can with a straight face ever call either of these movies “good” in the traditional sense of the word, but I would be lying a blue streak if I didn’t admit that these were a hell of a lot of fun. Shot in rural Georgia back to back over six weeks on a shoe string budget these movies were down and dirty and to be honest borderline corny, but it all works because rather than try to take it all seriously, it actually embraces the comedy. Director Michael A Simpson and screenwriter Fritz Gordon had enough sense to play inside the conventions of the genre in order to make a highly entertaining experience from top to bottom. Rather than force any legit tension or fear, we get a goofy ride that embraces the macabre nature of Angela and the teens that she lashes out against, in equipped against the standard nature of adolescence. Both films are lean and mean and work thanks to the natural charisma of the franchises leading lady.
Pamela Springsteen carries both of these movies with ease, despite only ever having had a hand full of credits to her name. As Angela Baker she comes off as quiet and unassuming while still having a wry sense of timing to be able to gleefully pull off the kills as she slowly but surely gets rid of the immoral campers that surround her and have driven her to this point. There is admittedly no one else of note in the rest of these films, it is simply about winding Angela up and watching wreak havoc everywhere that she can.
Ultimately, the only legit complaint that I have about Sleepaway Camp II & III is that rather than being reissued in two separate releases, this should have been in one big package because let’s be honest, no one out there is buying one of these releases without the other.
The new hi-def transfers on both features are first rate and the special features include director commentaries on both features, behind the scenes footage, a retrospective documentary on both films, behind the scenes interviews, classic trailers and so much more.