Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers
SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS
WRITER: Fritz Gordon
DIRECTOR: Michael A. Simpson
STARRING: Pamela Springsteen as Angela
Renee Estevez as Molly
Valerie Hartman as Ally
Tony Higgins as Sean
Brian Patrick Clarke as TC
Walter Gotell as Uncle John
QUICK CUT: Oh I'm a happy camper, I love movies that are bad. But when folks take to long to die, it makes me really sad. Oh I'm a happy camper, since Angela's back to kill. Let's go and see if this movie is a thrill.
Angela - She's back, and she's stabby! There's no mystery here, not after the first few minutes of the movie. Angela is our killer, and you better watch out if you break the camp rules.
Molly - The purest ray of sunshine, or at least that's how Angela feels. And we're not given much reason to doubt that assessment.
Sean - The guy Molly's into, and he's a bit of a big lug, but with more brains than that oversimplification implies.
Ally - The camp troublemaker, who survives surprisingly long on Angela's hitlist.
THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Summer is upon us, and we are heading back to camp! Not for another full on summer of summer camp slashers, but I would be remiss if we didn't revisit Angela and her adventures at camp, with Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers. So pack your things, hop in the van, and let's roll!
The movie opens up with your typical campfire story scene, which is becoming cliche at this point. In fact, it's VERY reminiscent of the Madman opening. There is less subtlety and quality with this version though. It just doesn't feel as menacing.
Phoebe brings the quality up though, as she tells a story that is all too familiar; the story of Angela and her killing spree in the first movie. It's a great recap, and works for the setting. Unfortunately, one of the other female counselors shows up to drag Pheebs back to the girls cabin.
On the walk back, Phoebe gets read the riot act from Angela and...oooh crap. Yep, the other girl is Angela. She is very protective of her new camp and its rules, and I like that aspect of it. In a lot of ways, camp has been her time to shine, and she's fixated on it. Unfortunately for Phoebe, that means she has to be sent home, which is the "sent into the cornfield" way of saying, she gets killed.
Angela wakes up her campers the next day, and tells them Phoebe had to go back home to San Francisco and her two sisters. What a charmed life she must live... We also meet the canon fodder, and it's a decent enough time to spend with the characters...including the two young peeping toms taking pics of them as they get dressed. Named Charlie and Emilio. And yes, that is a reference to Sheen and Estevez, both related to Renee Estevez, playing Molly.
Everyone piles into the mess for breakfast, and Angela leads everyone in the super cheesy morning song and uh...I don't think she's even playing the guitar. But that's a minor thing I guess.
TC tries to hit on Angela, but she rebukes him, and we move on to the pool. Which is pretty much just there for titillation, as we get a nod to the first movie; One of the girls gets tossed in the pool and oh look, wet t-shirt time!
On the nature hike, Angela runs into the constantly stoned Schote Sisters making fun of the Happy Campers song. Well, that's just gonna get you killed. Thou shalt not disparage camping! Which eventually leads to both of them getting immolated by the abandoned cabin, while Angela smiles at the flames. I should not relate so much to a character as I do right now...
That night, the movie tries to build some horror as someone stalks up on the girls cabin...but it's just the old camp trope of a panty raid. Angela shows up to shoo the boys away, and that should be the end of it until oh wait, the girls are going to return the favour and raid the boys cabin.
Angela shows up to break that up too, and hey, kids? This is why you don't make plans when your counselor is just on the other side of a flimsy wooden door.
She also runs in at the exact time one of the girls was flashing the whole crowd, which is unacceptable behaviour. Angela kicks the girl out of camp, and drives her home. Mare is just not getting it though, so Angela drills it through her head, and most literally.
Never say to a killer, "I would rather die first!" because they are more than willing to oblige you with that.
Angela keeps acting like a typical counselor, the voice of authority, and the kids rebel against that. I almost want a version where the kids try to get revenge on her, and never find out there's killings going on or that Angela is responsible for them.
We wander around the camp a bit, and Angela comes upon the young photographers and their stash. She somehow manages to not kill them, and instead reports them to TC. Who also warns Angela that some of the kids are getting ready to scare her.
And yes, as you can see, the kids are dressing up as some classic horror movie monsters from the 80s; Jason and Freddy.
While they lurk around the forest, Angela finds them, dressed up as Leatherface. And quicker than you can say "HEY KIDS WANNA CHECK OUT MY NEW CHAINSAW AND FLESH MASK?" Angels slices them up. On the one hand, the subtext of "Our killer is better than these guys!" is maybe a bit too on the nose and meta for my tastes, at least in this movie. On the other hand, it does make this feel like it exists in the real world, since kids would absolutely do this.
Angela shows up where the girls are hanging out, and they think it's one of the boys and tackler her...even though she's got a chainsaw, but I digress. When she tasks off her mask, Angela has the BIGGEST smile on her face. On the one hand, she's being included and accepted for who she is, and also, being grabbed by a bunch of girls she is clearly into.
She notices Ally is missing though, and she knows she's probably banging some guy in the bathroom...and that's exactly what's going on.
We watch the feet of the couple as they scramble to get undressed, and despite their being a killer with a chainsaw lurking outside the door? I am quite frankly more concerned with them knocking over toilet paper, kicking off clothes, and there's a pair of candles just waiting to burn it all down. I am cringing at the lack of fire safety.
They wisely locked the door, and Angela can't get in, which probably spares their lives for the moment. Also the chainsaw won't start, and I have to wonder if that's not a metaphor.
She finds another guy to bang the next day though, after yelling at Molly. Molly is comforted by Angela though, and decides it's long past time to deal with the Ally problem. She leaves a note to Ally from one of the guys to meet 'him' at the abandoned cabin...geeze, you JUST got done with one guy. Slow down!
Angela stabs the girl in the back, then somehow crams the whole girl down into the outhouse to be devoured by leeches. That seems like a long way to go, a slow agonizing death, and one you'd have to keep an eye on so she doesn't escape or call for help.
I love that every time someone goes missing - EVERY TIME - we get a scene of, "Hey, have any of you seen ____?" Someone should really have noticed something by now!
Eventually, one of the girls does finally wonder about one of the girls being sent home, and calls them. Their parents are clueless, and the girl tries to figure out what's up. And there's a great scene of Angela wandering around the cabin, not really listening, looking for something to kill her with before she squeals to the wrong person.
She finally settles on one of her guitar strings and uses it to strangle Demi. She tries to dispose of the body, but one of the girls shows up and well...long story short, Angela now has two bodies to dispose of. The stabbing and raising the knife into camera is also a good homage to a classic moment from the first flick.
That leaves the girls cabin with only Angela and Molly, who Angela is clearly into. That night though, Angela has nightmares, flashing back through all the kills so far. And the only reason Ozymandias isn't making an appearance here is, I'll allow replaying cool death scenes.
Later, Angela gets called in to talk to Uncle John and TC for all the girls she's 'sent home' over the last few days, including ones she legit just sent home! Uncle John decides she's overstepped her authority too many times, and fires her.
Molly is saddened by the news, and goes to find Sean so they can try and cheer up her friend before she kills mor....before she gets sent home.
They find her at the abandoned cabin, and Sean pushes open the supposedly locked up door, stumbling right into peak corpse territory as he finds all of Angela's dead bodies. She knocks him out, and ties up Molly before they can get away.
Meanwhile, TC has noticed his friends are missing, and before no one knows where they went, he finds the cabin. Unfortunately, Angela hears him screaming his way through the forest, and throws a mug of liquid in his face. This is battery acid, you slime!
She goes to feed her captives, and Sean finally puts it together, since his dad was one of the cops that arrested Angela from the first massacre.
And to keep his mouth shut, she beheads the kid, and places his severed head in the broken tv in the cabin.
She has a bit more work to do, she heads outside to drag Matt's body in, and I musta missed that death scene. Molly uses the alone time to undo her ropes and make an escape.
What follows is a chase scene that's pretty much just running through the woods until Molly slips and falls off a ledge. Say hey to Joe Montague while you're down there, kid. Surprisingly, that was actually set up by an offhand line of dialogue earlier. It's a nice touch that we see Angela cared about Molly, didn't want her to die, and is genuinely sad about this event.
Night falls at the camp, and someone discovers the two pervy kids are dead, and as she tries to find someone, all she finds is everyone else in the camp is dead too. Angela has been busy busy busy. The body count sure has been skyrocketing in the final minutes of the movie. Also, bonus points for having one of the counselors die in a way similar to how he said in the campfire story at the start of the film.
Surprisingly, Molly didn't die, wakes up, and tries to find some help, and we just saw how terribly that went for the last girl, kid.
Angela gets picked up by a kind lady who just might survive...until she lights up a cigarette, and again, I totally understand Angela in this moment.
Molly also finds the road and is about to be picked up, but it turns out to be Angela. I want to be an optimist and think the pair ride off into the sunrise like Thelma and Louise, but I doubt it.
I genuinely wish the movie had ended after the girl dies following her discovery of John and the counselor dead, Angela stabs her, and she leaves the main office with a smirk and, "Goodnight, campers!" That's an ending moment right there. The rest just drags it out to leave us on an ambiguous moment for a character whose fate we had already known.
That moment is such an appropriate ending in fact, the movie acknowledges it by replaying her exit after the end credits!!
Video: Since this is a fairly well known movie from the 80s, and put out by Scream! Factory, it looks pretty solid.
Audio: For a mono track, it sounds pretty great.
Sound Bite: "The doctors gave him a sex change! And our parents taxes PAID for it!" Always finding the important details.
Body Count: Sweet Christmas, this movies has one massive pile of bodies behind it, even if many of them come at the last 15 minutes.
1 - Five minutes in and Angela scores her first kill by clocking Phoebe in the head.
2 - One of the Schote sisters gets immolated off screen
3 - But we get to see the other one get set on fire by Angela.
4 - Mare gets drilled in the head.
5 - Kid dressed up as Freddy gets slashed in the neck.
6 - Leatherfangela chainsaws a kid dressed as Jason.
7 - Death by leeches and drowning is too good for Ally.
8 - Demi gets guitar garrotted
9 - Another girl gets knifed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
10 - TC gets his face melted off with battery acid.
11 - Sean gets beheaded
12 - ...When did she kill Matt?
13 and 14 - The photography kids get ganked off screen
15 - Uncle John is found dead with his hand cut off.
16 - TC is found hanging around
17 - Another girl gets stabbed
18 - Random person who picked Angela up dies for smoking.
19 - Implied Molly death
Best Corpse: I really kinda love that they went to the effort to give us not one, but two burnt skeletons, even if we didn't get to see one of them.
Peak Corpse: No one really puts it together until Sean stumbles into the cabin!
Blood Type - B+: Not too many good effects, but the movie is not shy about blood.
Sex Appeal: I feel like every girl save for Angela gets topless at one point or another in this movie, but most of the breasts are supplied by Ally.
Drink Up! every time someone wonders where someone is, or Angela says she sent someone home.
Video Nasties: Sticking with my love of fire, watch as Angela sets the Schote sister ablaze!
Movie Review: Very much a rock solid production. The acting is very good for a slasher movie. Angela is portrayed with layers and depth, even though they do focus on her killin' side. It's maybe a bit too silly at times, but at the same time, that somehow works in this movie. They said they were making more of a comedy, and the biggest signs of that are the meta moments with "Freddy" and "Jason" but otherwise, the humour works and doesn't take away from the horror at all. It's not goofy, or wacky, or jokey. Any comedic bits purely come from the camp setting and kids being kids. Four out of five mugs of battery acid.
Entertainment Value: This is every bit as fun as the first, and while they did recast Angela, I really liked Pam Springsteen's take on the character. You feel for her, you empathise with her, and you see how troubled she is, struggling with the duality of her, both the male and female sides, and her killer side and regular person side. She's clearly struggling with her identity on all fronts, even though they never draw attention to it. While it's a decent enough sequel, and there's actually some things I'd say are better here, I do feel like we lost something. There's less mystery, you know who the killer is, and it's just a question of who, if anyone, will survive, and if Angela makes it out. It's more of a straight up slasher movie, and it does that very well. Four out of five leeches.