Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sleepaway Camp


On the surface, this looks like the usual (usually boring) slasher film with a campground setting. There's so many out there that it's kind of hard to tell one from the other, but this one really stands out for the people who give it some thought and don't just dismiss it for what it appears to be. Because a lot of thought was put into this story. It's not a clean cut plot and has a totally creepy underbelly story that requires actual thought to decipher the results. This movie also boasts one of the most shocking endings in cinematic history (I totally agree). Anyway, let's get on with the story. The movie opens on a terrible boating accident in which a father and one of his two kids (a boy and a girl) are killed. Not sure which child yet. Several years later, we discover that the remaining child has gone to live with crazy 'ol aunt Martha and her son Ricky (the orphaned kids cousin). Apparently it was the little girl that survived the boating accident because it's a girl named Angela that is Ricky's cousin and Martha's niece. Ricky and Angela are off to Camp Arawak for the summer when before leaving the (very eccentric) aunt gives Ricky the papers for their physicals that are required for attendance at camp and remarks that that should "take care of everything", Aunt Fruitcake (I mean Aunt Martha) is also a doctor/surgeon (with criminal dress sense). Anyway, the kids get to camp, Ricky is out going but Angela is painfully shy and says maybe 10 full sentences throughout the entire movie. She's a little weird in other ways too. She hates the water (why then go to camp?), almost never speaks even when violently shaken and has a tendency to blatantly stare at people with the most vacant look imaginable. Being weird, she stands out immediately and is soon picked on. Her cousin Ricky always comes to her aid with a vicious and violent retort towards the people picking on her. Eventually, all the people that picked on Angela start dropping like flies. For most of the movie, you're not really sure who the killer is, but it's made painfully obvious that it's either Ricky or Angela. Predictably speaking, it would be Ricky killing people to avenge his disturbed cousin. A twist (a very simple twist though) would be Angela doing the killing because she's a little weirdo. At the end we learn it was at least one of the two and it's made to look like that person did it alone. I don't think so, I think both Ricky and Angela did it together. There is a scene where after Angela is maliciously thrown into the water that she really hates, Ricky rescues her and says "Don't worry, we'll make them pay". There's also a murder in the movie where a kid is drowned by the killer under a canoe. Angela really hates water, so how can this be? And trust me she hates water for a legitimate reason. Anyway, there is one camper named Paul that actually penetrates Angela's shyness and they sorta become an item. Eventually, he makes the moves on her and she begrudgingly let's him kiss her. While she is in this situation we are shown a memory from Angela's past when she and her brother observe their father (that was killed at the beginning of the movie) in bed with another man. She quickly refuses his advances and runs off. He continues to pursue her even after being caught kissing some snotty bitch named Judy that's been harassing Angela all through the movie. Angela finally tells Paul to meet her by the waterfront (with a crazy freakin' look in her eye) with the assumption of messing around. At the end, we see a very different Angela as she is approached by a couple of camp counselors. She seems to be naked and is stroking a naked Paul's hair. When she stands and turns around Paul's head tumbles from her lap and she is seen frontally nude. Surprise, it's a guy! It sounds quite comical, but there's a really deep creepiness about the way Angela looks. All over hairy, a dangling peter and the creepiest panting, scream shaped face you could ever imagine. Has to be seen to be believed. Left me with chills for years. Right before the total reveal of Angela as a guy, we're taken on a flashback to when her father and sibling were killed. Apparently it was the sister that got killed in the boating accident. When the boy goes to live with his nutty aunt Martha (y'know, the surgeon) aunt Martha decides that since she's always wanted a girl, she's gonna change Peter into Angela. Not sure how far she got though. When nutty aunt Martha is telling Peter that he's to become a girl, the poor kids got bandages around his head. When I saw it as a kid, I always assumed that aunt Martha gave Peter his sisters brain, so he's think like a girl. No matter how it happened, Peter had a gay father and being a man forced to grow as a woman he had serious sexual issues and gender confusion. Hitting puberty and having a boy make sexual advances towards her/him obviously just sent Angela right over the top. Like I said, it seems really contrived at first but has a nice little unexpected twist at the end. This ending made it look like Angela was the killer, but upon further inspection it's totally obvious that Ricky helped her kill. After all, he also knew about her little secret, that's gotta twist a kids mind a little.

1 comment:

Yanouchka said...
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