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)

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…)

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 Horror Of Dracula (1958)

I couldnt quite believe I’d gone as long as I had done without covering another Hammer Horror movie. quite honestly every season I decide I want to do a hammer film…but then like all things I work on I get easily distracted and before you know it im working on “Sharknado 77” or “Lets Ruin Dads day 2” or some other similar bollocks. In fact I havent covered a Hammer movie since season 2 when I covered “The Nanny” which was stonkingly good and terrifically underrated!

So when it came to doing a season on Vampires this halloween I put my foot down and said “No More!, Im doing a hammer movie!” and quite honestly 1958’s “Horror of Dracula” is probably one of my favourite hammer movies. I first watched it in Film studies many MANY years ago in college on a ropey VHS “Off Air” recording and was blown away…and the bluray only went further still to solidify just how totally badass this movie really is. not only is it one of my favourite portayals of Vampires. It’s one of my favourite Horror movies full stop. I just love it. I also welcome to the fold here Christopher Lee. One of my favouirte Horror actors giving in my opinion one of his finest roles. He would only really come to terms with this character in his later years (He famously dismissed the count for literal decades) but I think he’s probably my favourite portrayal.

So! without further ado! enjoy!

 

(Also; theres a surprising shortage of “Portrait” style posters for this movie…this was one of the rare ones I could find…and I think it’s arguably the coolest one. why this wasnt used across the board i’ll never know!)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)

Another Halloween’s upon us ladies and gents and once again I get to dig out some of the archives most terrifying creations to display for your entertainment and viewing pleasure. I’ve been trying to decide on a format for these halloween specials and I think for the time being at least that im going to do a year on a theme and a year on a series of halloween-esq movies…mainly because there are a lot of good halloween movies that dont necissarily fit into a theme. But also; there are loads of films that i’d love to talk about which I think if I link them while discussing their themes it creates a bit of “a history of” vibe…which I always encourage because it allows me to go deeper into the movies than I probably would…

naturally just doing 5 random halloween films every year would be a bit boring and wouldnt quite cover the depth I would like to cover. Equally if I did 5 themed films every year. I’d probably grow quite bored of the format. So this is a good happy medium…at least for the time being. by this logic next year will be a random assortment again.

Nosferatu isnt a film that i’d pick up regularly. it’s a good movie. But as I mention in the review I just dont really get on with Silent cinema all that much…I can appreciate it’s form and acknowlege that it is a item of it’s time. But I do struggle with quite a few of them and I find that finding good silent movies is quite a challenge. Because of this; It was a bit of a struggle to get this years theme well and truely under way. But Im glad I rewatched this movie as it really allowed me to get to the origins of the Vampire Mythology quickly and gloriously.

This is the start of a 5 part series on the history of Vampire movies from 1922 to 1986. You might wonder why it’s such an oddly specific timeframe. but those 64 years really do define such a massive evolutionary leap. that I think it should prove quite an interesting trip. I’ve already decided that a 2nd part will need to happen at some point (If nothing else just to cover the movies from 1987 to whenever I decide to go through all this again)

In the mean time I hope you enjoy the start of this series and I look forward to seeing it develop over the next few weeks!

(I love this poster…Im about 99% sure this isnt the original theatrical poster…if it even had an original theatrical poster…but there’s just something so unsettling about this one.)

The Intruder Within (1981)

Im on Vacation! it’s only for a few days mind…but i’ve popped my flippers on, donned my factor 5000 sun tan lotion and Im striding out to enjoy the benefits of the british summertime!

With this in mind Im going to leave you with this stinker of a movie till I return! This was one of the first “Big Box” Tapes I picked up when I first started re-collecting VHS tapes. I saw the cover and just knew it would be a film that I’d need to watch/cover on this show. I was looking for tat. and I absolutely found tat here! it stinks!

It never had a cinema release and this movie basically was shown on US television once or twice before it was dumped onto tape and swiftly forgotten for a couple of decades…I wanted to like this one, I really did…but it’s so drab and such a clear knockoff of the Alien and Predator franchise that I just couldnt get anywhere near liking it as much as I could have.

Still that’s just my opinion…watch this weeks review and let me know what you think! In the meantime im off to fill a coconut with rum and to put my feet up in a shady glade! have a great week guys and gals!

(I can see teeth…and a mound of flesh…I still cant exactly decide where this things eyes are…never a good sign when it comes to a poster…It also looks a bit too close to “The Deadly Spawn”…)

Fade to Black (1980)

This entire review came about entirely by chance and I was very grateful for it. I love old TV ad’s not even english adverts strictly, US ones were my thing for the longest time. theres a youtube channel called “80’scommercialvault” and from about 2011 to 2017 I’d spend most evenings or lunch breaks just cycling through dozens of there videos, having them run in the background or just playing for laughs really…its amazing to see how a different country was handling things from a commercial perspective in the 80’s and 90’s.

It was on this channel that I first saw a trailer for “Fade to Black” and until that point i’d never heard of this film. it took nearly 5 years for me to finally get round to watching it but I’ll tell you this. I didnt half enjoy it!

The films effectively “Scream” before “Scream” was “Scream” its well written, eloquent and quite well put together…apart from 1 or 2 overly padded shots and a random masturbation scene this movies got a very broad and impressive knowlege about it.

Now it’s by no means a perfect movie. but it’s a fun little film that im very glad I’d had the privilage of landing upon. While I dont tend to watch US ad’s as often as I used to  (It’s all about 80’s and 90’s Itallian Adverts these days Home boy!) Its one of the few gems I’ve found during my trecks through the swamps of bad movies. it’s most definately shelf worthy 🙂

(His Dracula sequence is my personal favourite of this movie…though I also liked his “White heat” finale)