Monday, April 13, 2009

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers

When we last left “Sleepaway Camp,” a bunch of people were dead, and Angela was a dude.

Oh, how things have changed. Only they haven’t, really.

“Sleepaway Camp II: Big Money for a Small Investment,” was shot back-to-back with part III. They used the same camp location for both movies, to save a little money, and frankly that’s not where the cost-cutting stops.

They also forgot to buy a little thing I like to call “a plot.” Or rather, they replaced it with a long string of people getting killed.

Yes, I recognize that people love watching these films for what people like to call “creative kills,” but a just a touch of a storyline might have a been nice.

No matter.

“Sleepaway Camp II: We Hired Pamela Springsteen, Sister of Bruce” starts off with a couple of ghost stories told around a campfire, followed by a group of campers doing a quick recounting of what happened in part one. Because I’m sure that at least four or five people in the world have opted to skip part uno and jump to part dos.


At which point we realize that all the people around the campfire are dudes, except for one of the storytellers. Moments later, her camp counselor shows up and says she’s not supposed to be out with the boys at this late hour.

That counselor’s name? No, no. Guess. I’ll wait.

Yes, it’s Angela.

Naturally, the next question is, “Hey, is it THAT Angela?” Then Angela beats the girl to death with a tree branch, so you would assume that the answer is probably.

And that’s what passes for a plot for most of the movie. Someone makes Angela mad, and then Angela finds a way to kill them.

Oh, right. There are also naked people, which I guess constitutes the other part of the plot.

This starts right up in the next scene, wherein Angela goes to wake up her campers, while dutifully informing them that the girl who took a log to the head last night was “sent home.”

One of Angela’s charges sleeps in the nude. Because camp is, of course, a great place to do this. Angela notes that “Nice girls don’t have to show it off,” to which the shirtless camper retorts: “Who’s gonna see me?”

In a film like this, there are no rhetorical questions. The answer is the two guys standing by the cabin window with a camera. I’m sure they have names, but let’s just go ahead and call them “Third Act Meat.”

Everyone goes to breakfast, some exposition which isn’t remotely important to the plot occurs, and Angela is made counselor of the week. So she sings a song called “I’m a Happy Camper,” which features hand motions. And the secure knowledge that Pamela Springsteen does not have the song-delivery chops of her brother.

Then we zip over to an extended pool sequence, where we get to see Molly, the requisite good girl, flirt with Sean, who may or may not be a good boy. “Who’s Gonna See Me,” whose name is Ally, is wearing a white t-shirt, under which is a bikini top.

She removes the bikini top, and then warns a nearby teenaged boy not to throw her into the pool. Wet t-shirt-arity ensues, and Ally clambers out of the water near Sean.

Elsewhere, Angela heads out into the woods and finds a couple of sisters getting drunk and high. So in a plan that makes no sense whatsoever, she goes back to camp and asks another counselor if he’s seen the sisters. The other counselor says that, no, he hasn’t seen the sisters, and that he doesn’t know where one of his own campers is.

Good job, counselor-dude. Good job.

Angela goes back out to the woods, where she finds one passed-out sister, and anther sister making out with the aforementioned missing camper. So she makes him leave. Then we cut to a while later, when the passed-out sister wakes up, and discovers that she is tied to what appears to be a grill.

Tied to the other side of the grill are the charred skeletal remains of her sister. Angela then tosses something flammable over the top of the remaining sister and lights a match. All this happens in broad daylight in an area that someone in the movie later describes as “about a mile from the camp.”

We have a realism problem, people.

In the next exciting sequence, Angela confronts a little girl who doesn’t want to do arts and crafts – she wants to go home. So four seconds later, her parents are there, and Uncle John, who created a fine bathroom reader series and also runs the camp, laments that they’re down to 38 campers.

Angela notes that it’s 36, because she had to send the two sisters “home.”

To which Uncle John states that Angela really, really needs to talk to him before sending anyone home. Although, since no parents called to complain about it happening, and he therefore shouldn’t have to issue refunds, this should work out great for him financially.

That night, we get the stalker point of view outside of the girl’s cabin, which is meant to… what? Throw us off guard? Maybe just break up the shot list a little. Whatever.

Long story short, it’s a panty raid, which ends with Angela doing some chastising of all parties involved.

But she’s especially upset with Mary, who took the opportunity presented and flashed the guys.

Mary, it seems, is unhappy with being hassled. Also, she wants to be called Mare. Because being called a female horse is much better than having a slightly outdated name. Mare has determined that she’d rather die than stay at the camp.

Angela begins rooting in the back of her car, to which Mary spits: “What are you looking for, a gun?”

Angela replies, “No. A drill.” Then she pulls a drill on Mare(y).

I admit it. I smirked. And in that moment, I saw why people liked parts II and III – because they are insane.

(Er… the movies. Not the people who like the movies.)

The next morning, at breakfast, the mullet-clad counselor T.C. recounts a list of items that have gone missing, including 50 feet of rope and his car battery. These are important later.

Molly finds and talks to Angela, who is hanging around outside a boarded-up, abandoned cabin which, naturally, has all the bodies inside it. Molly laments that she’s worried Ally will steal Sean away from her.

Angel tells Molly not to worry, and that Ally is probably diseased.

Later, the kids all gather for a scary night of fun, as they design scary costumes and go through one of those “haunted houses” where they blindfold you, stick your hands in a bowl of peeled grapes and tell you it’s eyeballs. Only when you get to Angela’s table, she tells you that it’s, “Dead teenager’s brains.”

Worth noting: She is not kidding.

Following this is a pair of scenes wherein Angela finally locates the two kids taking naked photos of various campers, and confisticates their pictures. She shows the pictures to T.C., who says that he’ll handle it, only it’s 1988 and the whole boys-will-be-boys thing was still in full swing, so he doesn’t do anything.

Today, T.C. would probably put them in some sort of harassment counseling, which would have been much better for them than what happens to them later.

A couple of boys head out into the woods, dressed up as Freddy and Jason. They are planning on scaring Angela, but are mostly just causing legal hassles for the people releasing this movie.

Freddy discovers that his glove is missing, which leads to an ironic moment where he’s slashed by his own claws. Or maybe that’s not irony. Who cares? Certainly not the people who made this movie.

Then Angela, dressed as Leatherface, kills “Jason” with a chainsaw. And I ask you: These folks can make this movie, and definitively determine who would win a major fight between Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface, but New Line can’t get it together to make “Freddy Vs. Jason Part II?”

Angela locates her girl campers, who inform her that Ally has run off to the bathroom because she has cramps. But Ally, of course, does not have cramps. What she has is a gentleman caller. In the restroom. In the woods.


Angela shows up, and tries to fire up her chainsaw, but it doesn’t work. So she resorts to yelling, and complaining about the bathroom door being locked. To which Ally replies: “I didn’t want some crazy person to attack me…”

The next day, Molly goes seeking Angela’s advice again, which leads to further mocking of Ally’s, um… footloose ways. Or as Angela puts it, Ally is “probably fornicating.”

As it turns out, this is correct, though one pointless scene later, Ally has moved on and located a note from “Sean,” who wants to meet her up at Angela’s special place.

Of course, Angela was the person who sent the note, and Ally gets stabbed, then dunked in a latrine, and then is forced to get into a latrine that contains urine, feces, and leaches. Because this is a horror movie, where urine and feces just aren’t going to cut it. Ally dies of humiliation.

Angela goes back to the cabin, where a lone camper who is wondering just where all her cabin-sisters went starts recounting how she’s been calling up all the campers who “went home” and found none of them had actually gone home.

While this monologue rages on, Angela locks all the exits. Then she yanks a guitar string off her guitar and uses it to garrote the camper. Which, considering Pamela Springsteen’s lack of singing and playing ability, is probably for the best.

As Angela tries to get rid of the body, another camper shows up, and whines about the fact that the door was locked. So Angela stabs and kills her.

Once the bodies are gone, Molly shows up, and Angela notes that she had to send all the other campers home.

Angela goes to sleep, and has a dream sequence that helpfully recounts all the murders up to this point. If I had known it was in there, I probably would have just started the movie up at this point and saved myself 54 minutes of viewing time.

Angela awakens the next day and is fired by Uncle John for sending a bunch of kids home. T.C. backs him up, for some reason. Perhaps he sits in on all firings, stopping instances of violence with his mullet?

Angela is told to be gone by noon, so Angela heads back up to her special crying place. This is not a girl who colors insides the lines.

Molly asks Sean to help her comfort Angela, which to me indicates that Molly ate a lot of paint chips as a kid. When everyone from your cabin is missing except you and one other person, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE OTHER PERSON.

They head up to Angela’s secret spot, and Sean, who has a death wish, decides to break into the “abandoned” cabin on the hill, which of course contains several corpses. Angela beats him down with a stick. Molly freaks, and Angela gives her some hot stick action.

When Molly and Sean awaken, they are both tied up with the fifty feet of missing rope.

T.C. finally figures out that something must be very wrong with Angela, and heads up to Angela’s laughing place, only he gets a cup full of acid in the face for his troubles. Acid… from his own car battery! See that exposition up there? Totally important.

It’s at this point that Sean finally figures out that Angela was the girl who killed all those people a few years back. It turns out that his dad was the cop who arrested Angela. This will be important in part III. So make sure you’re taking careful notes.

Oh, and then Angela cuts off his head. And leaves the cabin to go kill someone else. So that the writer of this motion picture has a chance to let Molly escape. Only Angela sees her and gives chase, and Molly falls off a very small cliff and dies… or DOES SHE? (She doesn’t. Yet.)

Angela notes: “If it’s any consolation, you almost made it.” Because she is insane.

And because there are still a few dozen people to kill, the filmmakers get it over with as quickly as possible. We get a few random shots of the other female counselor, who was probably in the movie all along, but maybe not, as she discovers the photographers posed to take a photo through a window. Only they are dead.

So she runs to Uncle John’s office, where Uncle John is dead. It would be awesome if he was on the toilet at the time, but this is not the case.

The other female counselor is, more or less, the last one dead. At the camp. There’s a little bit more movie to go.

In which:

Molly wakes up.

We get to see Angela hitching a ride with a woman who enjoys smoking and swearing, and wearing a cowboy hat. So Angela kills her. It was probably the hat that pushed her over the edge.

And finally, Molly makes it to the road, and flags down a truck, being driven by Angela, who says, “Howdy partner!” And the movie ends. Except for the credits, which must be noted, contain the line, “Thank you for reading the credits.”

Plus after the credits, we get a “Coming Soon: Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland.” It’s up in the air as to whether that’s a promise, dare, or threat.

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