Return to Sleepaway Camp (2008)

Well…We’ve done it! Season 7 is in the can and there isnt a damn thing any one of you can do to take that away from me! Seriously; this seasons been an absolute blast to work on and i’ve got to hang around with some super cool people and make some really nice things…It’s just a shame that this is the movie the seasons going out on.

Yes “Return to Sleepaway Camp” a movie so painful and irritating to sit through I liken it to repeatedly smacking yourself in the clitoris or balls with a housebrick. all the charm is gone, all the nice plot twists and one liners; gone. this is an irrideamable piece of trash in my opinion. EASILY the worst film of this season hands down by a country mile. I will NEVER watch this film again willingly. and if you guys have any sense, neither will you. such a sad way to end what was ultimately a pretty alright franchise. I really hope at some point it gets another crack at the whip to try and right this travesty…because at this point? I wouldnt even put this in the same leage as latter day full moon features…and their movies…holy shit.

Anyway! Im done! go get some sunshine, go eat ice cream, enjoy your summer! I’ll be back in september with some more fun and games (Plus there’ll be plenty of goodies going up in the interim…dont think im leaving my channel barren) and i’ll see all you hot dogs and cool cats in the autumn

Take Care!

Dan

(FUCKING AWFUL POSTER DO NOT WANT.)

“Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland” (1989) AND “Sleepaway Camp 4: The Survivor” (1992)

So! a bit or a rarity! this week we’re doing double bubble! it’s been a VERY long time since I covered 2 movies in one review. in fact the last time was way back in Season 2 when I covered both versions of the “Night of the Living Dead” movies.

And todays is extra special because we’re not only covering 2 movies in one review! we’re covering 2 movies, 1 of which has never had a proper “PROPER” official release. Yes yes; there has been a cobbled together fan edit that attempts to complete it…but honestly? it’s a bit limp. I have to tread extra carefully around movies that never got completed as copyright law is slightly different for “Unifinished” works than completed ones.

Even so; I really did feel a bit like I was short changing you guys with my review of Sleepaway Camp 3 with this one. “It’s basically Sleepaway camp 2 again” is hardly the most inspired take for this one. and I was left in a bit of a dilemma as to; A: whether there was enough material to even MAKE a full length review for Sleepaway Camp 4 and B: Whether a trunkated review for sleepaway camp 3 would fly. As such it became quite apparent that the best thing to do with 2 stubby reviews that dont quite meet the usual goals and standards would be to push them together into a not so stubby double feature and treat SC4 as a bit of an addendum and ending to the production company “Double Helix films”.

Honestly?; While theres nothing inherently wrong with sleepaway camp 3, the fact that it’s basically more of the same always makes it difficult for me to appreciate this movie in the same way I do the original or Sleepaway camp 2. and Sleepaway camp 4 is missing so much information, that quite honestly? I feel bad for even talking about it. im only really doing it for completionist sake and because next week?…well it’s the season finale…and…oh god….even thinking about it’s making the space behind my eyes itch.

(In the UK sleepaway camp 3’s poster is basically Sleepaway Camp 4’s poster but cropped in exclusively to the cleavage area and with a title change…I dont care much for the US poster of 3…and the full length poster for Sleepaway Camp 4 just looks like the weirdest glamour shoot I’ve ever seen…these are not great posters…)

Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (Nightmare Vacation 2) (1988)

I enjoy Sleepaway Camp 2 for almost the exact polar opposite reasons I enjoyed the first Sleepaway camp movie. Where that film relied on subtlety masked by some bombastic performances and a BIG TWIST ENDING that has come to pretty much define the movie altogether. This films loud, stupid, garish, blatant and critically; NOT to be taken seriously by any stretch of the imagination. It feels like a film that would exist inside another film, Like; I could see this movie easily playing in the background of a scene in Robocop or “The Last Action Hero” or something of that ilk. it doesnt feel like a real movie…and yet here we are.

Because of it’s total outlandishness I really warmed to this movie. It was the first sleepaway camp film I saw via “The Horror Channel” in the UK around the turn of the millenium and I’d honestly put this one joint first with the original for my most loved sleepaway camp movie. in the context of the slasher genre this is awful! but for a macarbre horror comedy with gore and gallows humour. I totally dig it!

With 2 weeks left to go now until the season finishes, I hope you’ll join us next week as we take a deep dive into “Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland” and “Sleepaway Camp 4: The Survivor”!

 

(This poster always confused me. Why have all the slasher references?, why shoot some random actress just because Pamela Springstein was unavaialble on the shoot day?…why continue to call it nightmare vacation in the UK?…its a messy poster…iconic…but messy)

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

So! It’s summertime and i’ve finally worked up the stones to pull the trigger on a series of films I’ve wanted to talk about LITERALLY FOR YEARS! Seriously I’d been planning on doing a series on the Sleepaway camp movies since season 2 at least! which is nearly 3 years ago! I love *Most* of these films and having done a few summer seasons now I thought it would be the perfect time to finally settle in and get these added to the vault.

The first “Sleepaway Camp” movie is notoriously hard to source in the UK…I believe it’s mainly down to licensing issues. But the long and short of it is; apart from the Pre-cert VHS release that came out in 1983/84 and a DVD release that was cut to shit and dumped on an overpriced boxset (Which is now EVEN MORE overpriced as it’s out of print) Short of importing; if your british. you aint seeing this movie. That astounded some of my American co-critics when I told them, as to them. This movies a pretty regular staple of TV broadcasting and is pretty easy to find via online streaming. the idea that it hasnt been released uncut over here yet made there jaws fall firmly to the floor.

It’s a real shame that thats the case honestly as I think the first film is a definite gold standard contender in the slasher genre. it’s a good solid summer camp slasher movie with twists and turns that are generally unexpected but become clearer on repeat watches and I love this film for that.

I had to import my bluray copy of this film from Spain where it’s known as “Campamento Sangriento” (Or literally translated “Bloody Camp”) my version has no extras, no commentaries, English and Spanish Languages only and English Subs only. The Picture quality is on par with the Scream factory release thats been out for years…but this is a totally barebones release. Nontheless; if the choice is spend £10 and own it in this format, Spend £200 on going Bluray multiregion and importing a copy, or not owning it…Well I think you can guess why I went the way I went.

Over the next 4 weeks I’ll be covering ALL of the other official Sleepaway Camp Movies as a big push to see the season out in style! so I hope you join us next week when we take a look at “Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers!”

(The poster for this movie is SO. FUCKING. GOOD. seriously; it says everything and nothing about this film in one iconic image. I’d LOVE to own an original theatre copy to hang in my house)

Antropophagus: The Beast (Savage Island) (1980)

After nearly 2 years; I finally decided to give the Nasties another go. It wasnt a concious choice to miss them out. Quite honestly i’ve wanted to talk about more of them for years at this point. It’s just with 2019’s season being a bit thrown together and 2018’s latter half of the year basically going to the wall . I just really couldnt fit any in anywhere.

And even now in 2020 Antropophagus only JUST managed to be included in this season. Originally it had been one I wanted to cover but I just couldnt fit it in anywhere. Then about 2 months before we launched Season 7 A collab I had planned dropped through and made a gap in April. So I pulled the trigger on covering this one (Particularly because around the time I had (What I thought) was a really neat little intro skit based off the UK travel series of the 80’s and 90’s “Wish you Were Here“.

All in all I have a soft spot for Antropophagus, it isnt to everyones taste, but it is a better Nasty than some of the stuff on the list. I enjoy digging it out now and then and if I could ever get my hands on a VHS copy then I’d be over the moon! It’s biggest problem as I mention in the review in passing is that some of the effects just dont hold up to the wonders of 1080p and 2k based Bluray technology. but watching this on a fuzzy, grimy video tape im sure brings a lot of the character of this picture back into focus! if you can go and check it out I definitely recommend you do as 88 Films is distributing this in the UK and Severin Films for the US.

While the Posters and many of the re-releases would show different more detailed artworks…I Personally Adore the artwork for the UK Pre-cert Release. It’s an Iconic “Nasty” Cover that was defining for the genre. If I could get it as I poster; I would.

Vampire Hookers (Twice Bitten) (1978)

So; Vampire Hookers, the 2nd part of our “Drive in movie” specials which started with “Death Force” a couple of weeks previously. This to me; is the weaker of the two ventures. While it is better in some regards (The Cine is a definite bump up in quality and the soundtracks about even with Death Forces…) it’s just so poor in terms of scripting, acting (Not to mention all the Homophobia, mild racism and mysoginy peppered throughout) it’s just a not particularly nice film to sit through.

As I mention in the review; I first picked this movie up independently of this set on VHS when it was under it’s UK title of “Twice Bitten” and the UK release manages to be somehow even worse than the US version as what little horror and eroticism IS in this movie is missing from the UK version. Twice bitten has a hell of a VHS cover though (As seen in the introduction to this video) and that was what initially sold me…had I known it was “Vampire Hookers” in disguise I wouldnt have bought it…

This one was planned as part of last years themed month on Vampires. But when I found out how awful the quality was, and how little Vampires actually even factored into the plot I decided to hold off on reviewing it. My thinking was to maybe include it in a “Vampires 2” themed month if I ever got round to it…but then I found out it’s US title, I realised it was already part of this drive in set and I figured it was too shit to showcase as a prime Halloween watch. And well; Here we are!

(The posters not bad for this…but it could be so much better…I mean; the whole thing could be so much better…but still…)

Dark Breed (1996)

Well; We’re back on the Prism Leisure movies and that can only mean one thing! Superphantasmacraporia! yes we’re back in the kind of tat that could barely sell more than 5 copies as a standalone release so they’ve been bundled onto a multi film/single disc release to try and squeeze as much cash from hard working punters as possible.

One thing that did dawn on  me most recently is just how weird the context of these multi disc sets really were when you think about them…I mean; here you have DVD a fully digital (and for the time) super sharp revolutionary way to watch your films that little bit closer to how the film makers originally intended. gone was the fuzz, gone was the degeneration, gone was the hissy soundtrack. And whats one of the first things they decide to bundle in with early DVD players as a way of shifting units? Why! 25-50 movies that were all shot on a shoe and made for a budget of £5 in a capark, bit crushed to within an inch of there lives and dumped on a single DVD. What astounding revolutionary leaps!

I mean; they dont even have the excuse of “well; it’s impressive that they could fit 2-4 movies on a single disc” because towards the end of VHS’s lifespan they too were able to do double…and sometimes even TRIPLE features on a single tape (I have a few of those tucked away)…I get that it was supposed to represent value for money. that you’d be in the shop and the salespersone could say “Well look! we’re selling it for £70 AND you get ALL THESE FREE MOVIES WITH THEM!!!” and in some of the earlier releases there were some pretty cool movies bundled in (One of the multi disc sets I have is full of crap but it does have Witchboard and Waxwork on it…which frankly are streets ahead of “Lets ruin Dads day” or “Final Scream” I dunno…It just seems weird to me that anyone would be incentivised to buy a cheap DVD player with a load of crappy films and it be the crappy films that sold it. but I imagine a fair few did fly off the shelves back in the day because of it.

(I have very fond memories of my grandad buying his first DVD player and it coming with a metric crap ton of multi film DVDs…that was how I was introduced to the “Robocop TV Movies” and the “Species” franchise…god that was a fun and terrible weekend!)

(This poster is just so cheap looking…im pretty sure it’s fan made…but that would imply this film had fans…)

Freakmaker (The Mutations) (1974)

There’s not really a whole lot more I can say about my experience with “The Mutations” that isnt already mentioned in my video review below. Quite honestly I found a very brief low quality clip of it on youtube and when it turned up in one of the VHS tape hauls I picked up I was over the moon quite honestly…I dont think it quite lived up to my expectations (But then again these things rarely do) But what I did enjoy about this one was just how B-movie(Ish) it could be at times. Seriously. there are moments in this movie that literally wouldnt have felt out of place in a movie 20 years this films senior. And I seriously cannot understate how fantastic Tom Baker and the supporting circus cast are in this movie.

It’s recently been released by DVDDiabolik (Available here) and I highly reccommend checking it out. it’s currently a limited edition but hopefully a standard edition release wont be that far away too!

 

(That poster is so badass. a design classic; it pretty much tell’s you everything you need to know about the movie without you even having to see it. I love it.)

Finishing the Complete Sixth Series (2019)

To say that it’s a miracle that this season even got made is an understatement in and of itself. When I first set out to make this I had no idea of the trials and tribulations that would unfold during this seasons run. It’s well documented at this point on this site but Season 6 was predominantly marred by the fact that my partner was taken seriously ill after literally writing the first 2 episodes of this season in September of 2018 (“One Dark Night” and “If Looks could kill“) We’re not talking (Bedridden) ill either; we’re talking full blown hospital level ill. and as a result writing for season 6 ground to a halt after episode 2 and Season 5’s Christmas specials (Which were in the midst of being edited) were put on the backburner to the point that I was literally finalising the edit for “Jack Frost” the day before it was actually set to upload. Which was just insane as I normally edit about 2 months ahead of the actual upload schedule as a rule.

By the end of 2018 all work had stopped on producing new episodes and I was solely caring for my partner and trying to cling onto my Job as a wave of redundencies had recently hit the company. Luckily there seemed to be a period of calm around the beginning of March and by the end of that month I’d actually found a brief window of time to sit down and actually start making notes for a new review (Alongside reworking the two I’d written the previous year to freshen them up a bit) From there my partners health improved, work stabilized and I was finally able to get back on the horse and ride for season 6. and I REALLY didnt want to let the momentum stop once it had gotten underway. pulling a few late nights and making some quite difficult decisions I steamrolled through the first half of season 6 (Up toSilent Running) with little to no trouble. As autumn rolled through things began to get a little more complex, Halloweens kind of a big deal for me and my partner so there was a lot of planning around september time. and then Christmas pretty much starts from November 1st these days so there were a lot of things to circumnavigate at this point.

Still; we battled on and other than 1 or 2 very brief moments of “Squeaky bum time” (Memories of editing “Vamp!” 2 weeks before it was set to go live spring to mind) it was otherwise one of the smoothest runs to the end of the year that i’ve experienced since starting this channel. Christmas was more or less all tied up by the last week of November and i’d started writing season 7 by mid November (which is very shortly due to finish writing and start recording/editing)

I cant honestly say I have fond memories of this period of time. But as I said at the top of the post. im grateful for everything that’s happened while we made this. It’s the longest season we’ve ever done clocking in at 26 episodes + a crossover special and this season introduced me to some ace people like the guys and gals over at the “Inside the Nutshell”. It’s let me watch and talk about some weird and wonerful movies and in hindsight I had fun with this season. even if personally I was suffering a bit.

(Everyone loves the longform stuff. and some of these are absolute classics! I hope you enjoy this marathon of sleaze and weirdness.)

The “Bloody New Year” Comedy Dining Experience (1987)

Well! Happy 2020 everybody! to celebrate both myself and my comedy dining “Partner in crime” Ben decided to take a dip into one of the few New years horror films that isnt absolute and total garbage! So here’s a feature length commentary for “Bloody New year” it’s easily the most entertaining movie I saw in 2019!