SLEEPAWAY CAMP III: TEENAGE WASTELAND
“She’s back to slash last year’s record.”
A.k.a. Nightmare Vacation III
Director: Michael A. Simpson / Writer: Fritz Gordon / Cast: Pamela Springsteen, Tracy Griffith, Cliff Brand, Mark Oliver, Michael J. Pollard, Sandra Dorsey, Haynes Brooke, Kim Wall, Daryl Wilcher, Kyle Holman, Jill Terashita, Kashina Kessler, Randi Layne, Chung Yen Tsay, Jarrett Beal, Sonya Maddox, Stacie Lambert.
Body Count: 16
Laughter Lines: “Seems like every time I go to camp, somebody loses their head.”
Shot back-to-back with Unhappy Campers and then released a year after, there’s a distinct change in tone, even from the same six-week filming window, as if everyone was so tired they’d started to give up caring and just wanted to be sent home.
One year after her massacre at Camp Rolling Hills, puritanical transsexual (surely a paradox!?) summer camp enthusiast Angela Baker kills and replaces a girl headed to Camp New Horizons, an ‘experiment in sharing’, which puts six inner city kids with six suburbanites – all at the same campsite.
Naturally, before long these stereotypes begin getting on Angela’s wick and she resolves to ‘weed out the bad’ once again. This time around, there’s a nasty racist girl, gang members, a vandal, a bondage-loving wannabe politician, plus the usual parade of girls willing to take their tops off on film – one of whom we are supposed to believe is interested in having it away with Michael J. Pollard’s camp leader. Weirdaway Camp.
The spanner in Angela’s plan is the cop father of one of her earlier victims has stepped up as counsellor. Split into three groups, Angela rapidly does away with her comrades before moving on to the next team, claiming she’s been asked to trade places with somebody else.
While Springsteen is her usual appealing self (albeit with a sorrowful blow-out), it looks as if Unhappy Campers took the lion’s share of the budget, and FX work this time has borne the brunt of the cutbacks: Several victims are killed with a stick, and large parts of the grislier murders were either cut or occurred off camera, leaving the film barren of its predecessor’s gory humour.
Melanie Griffith’s sister Tracy plays the nominal final girl, but even she has little to do. In a film the same length as the last one with as many characters, there’s precious little time on screen for a lot of them, this time all named after The Brady Bunch kids (if you’re rich) or West Side Story (if you’re poor). Jill Terashita stands out as wasted-too-soon goth Arab.
Entertaining at its best, shitty and badly acted at its worst, at 76 minutes (PAL) at least it’s short.
Blurb-of-interest: Pollard was also in American Gothic.