Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)
SLEEPAWAY CAMP III: TEENAGE WASTELAND
WRITER: Fritz Gordon
DIRECTOR: Michael A. Simpson
STARRING: Pamela Springsteen as Angela
Tracy Griffith as Marcia
Mark Oliver as Tony
Kim Wall as Cindy
Kyle Holman as Snowboy
Daryl Wilcher as Riff
Haynes Brooke as Bobby
Michael J. Pollard as Herman
QUICK CUT: Oh, I'm a happy camper, and it's back into the woods. Oh I'm a happy camper, and I won't be doing good.
Angela - She's the same demented person, just looking for friends and a good time at summer camp.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! We are firmly in summer now, so it's naturally time for another return to a classic franchise, with the third Sleepaway Camp movie, Teenage Wasteland! There's not really much more intro this movie needs, so let's see what Angela is up to this time around!
Actually, the movie opens up on a girl, Maria, being woken up so she can go to camp. She's getting ready, being very naked at the time, asking of her parents will walk her to the bus stop. Which they refuse because they are unseen, but seem to be horrible people. Also, ah the joys of casting. Maria does not seem young enough to need walking to the bus.
Maria also has "milk" and "shake" tattooed just above her breasts, which the movie delights in showing us. I guess her milkshake does bring all the boys to the yard.
While she's on her way, a garbage truck sneaks up behind her, and GARBAGE TRUCKS DON'T SNEAK! In fact, she DOES notice the truck, runs down an alley, and gets mowed down.
First of all, running someone over this early into a movie with a garbage truck? SOLD. You have my attention, movie. Second, Angela climbs out of the truck, tossed the body into the back, and crushes Maria with all the garbage.
And I think I know the real reason Angela did this, they're both wearing the exact same outfit. How embarrassing would it have been if they both showed up to Camp Hacksalot or whatever it's called this time out, wearing the same outfit?? Angela can't have THAT now, can she?? This is exactly how you solve a problem like Maria.
We then arrive at camp after the credits, with a news team covering the opening of Camp New Horizons, the former camp from the last massacre, renamed and reopened.
The owners, Herman and Lily - I see what you did there, movie - are opening the camp for an Autumn retreat, bringing in two groups of kids, one of rich kids, and one from the poor, downtrodden side of the tracks, to mix them up, and show they can all get along! Yeah, let's see how well that works.
Oh, and next she shows off all the kids, letting them say their names and a little bit about each of themselves. Wow, that is one of the more hamfisted ways I've seen to intro your cast and dump exposition on you I have seen in a LONG LONG time. And there's so many names, they all just wash over me in a blur ANYways.
The reporter starts talking about Angela's murder sprees, while she's standing RIGHT THERE trying to look innocent. After she finishes, she asks "Maria" about drugs, and sure, she knows where to find some! So Angela quickly grabs some drain cleaner or something, to clean her nose right out.
She drives off, snorts her New Coke, and melts her face off on the side of the road, so she won't be able to put anything together if she ever recognised Angela.
We sit around the dining hall as everyone mingles, in very awkward ways, and a lot of character stuff happens that I'm just gonna breeze on by.
Eventually, the third counselor, Officer Barney Whitmore shows up, and uh oh, the fuzz. More than that, he's the father of one of the victims from the last movie. So this time, IT'S PERSONAL.
It's not long before the various racial tensions explode in a fight between two of the kids, stopped by the cop, and he confiscates all the weapons they have on them.
Everyone heads to the cabins to get changed into their camp shirts and instill conformity, and because they have to squeeze in as many boobs as possible. Also, we see Angela wearing an elaborate body shaper type garment, and I do appreciate them slipping in a nod to Angela not being an actual girl.
So now that we've met everyone, and spent some time with them, it's time to split up into the three groups, and get this murder train on the tracks.
Herman sits back with his group and sends them off to go fishing, saying he'll join them shortly. In the meantime, he takes some time to make some time with one of the other kids. Oh ew.
Angela, Snowboy, and Peter go fishing, and Angela is the first to catch something and PFFTT it's a hockey mask. AND THEN THEY SAY IT IS SATURDAY THE FOURTEENTH.
NotMaria seems to genuinely be having fun, before she finds out how rotten all these kids are. Such a shame. All Angela ever wanted was to have a good time at camp and make new friends. And things start to go awry when Peter blows up a fish with a firecraker in front of her.
Since she's run off, she visits the campsite and lures Herman out of the tent, beats him with a stick, and then chases down Jan to do the same.
That night, Cindy and Tony wander through the woods when they hear something. Tony gets ready to be a big tough guy, calls out whomever it is and...it's a raccoon. I love swapping out the cat jump scare for a raccoon. WHICH IS ARGUABLY MORE DANGEROUS!
Meanwhile, Angela's sneaking around, stuffs a firecracker in Pete's mouth and blows his face off. She then conks Snowboy in the face with a bat, shoves him into his tent, burns him alive, and uses the fire to dispose of the rest of the bodies. That's just being efficient.
With one camp completely wiped out, Angela heads over to Lily's camp, saying Herman said she should swap with Arab, and Lily's so lackadaisical, yeah sure.
So "Maria" leads Arab back to the camp, where Chekov's axe gets used to chop her head off. With that out of the way, Angela heads back to Lily's camp to settle in.
We get a bit more of the kids sharing stuff, like their favourite movies. Hilariously, Bobby says he likes "movies that make America look great, like Rambo 3!" Hoo. THERE is a line that has NOT aged well, huh?
And as happens, eventually one of the campers, Cindy, has to be racist, and tosses out the n-word at Riff. Oh good, racism. That's just what this movie needed.
I'll just be sitting here uncomfortably until Angela does the right thing and takes care of Cindy, because yeah, you know that's gonna happen eventually.
Lilly splits the group up into pairs, Angela with Cindy, for a trust game. Angela leads the racist rich girl off into the woods blindfolded, with more racism spewing out of her mouth. Eventually they come across a flagpole, and Angela asks her three questions confirming she deserves this.
Angela raises the Cindy flag, and drops her good on the ground, cracking her head open like a raw egg. Have I ever mentioned that I'm on Angela's side in these movies?
But now it's time for more trust exercises, as Lily ties Angela and Bobby together to go get more fish. While they're sitting on the dock of the bay, he starts badly flirting with her, and admits he likes being tied up.
Whoa, dude, too much info! But he proceeds, tries to kiss and grope Angela while in bondage, and she freaks out. And Bobby probably just ruined his chances to survive the movie.
And yep, she says now isn't the time, and invites him to meet her in the middle of the night for more fun.
They return with the fish, and Angela tries to convince Riff to do his part and clean them, since that's only fair. He responds by turning his music up louder and pointing a gun at her.
After a brief scene with Tony and Marcia making out in the woods, Angela talks Lilly into playing the blindfold game with her so she can lead her back to camp for reasons.
Once they arrive, Angela shoves the human sloth into a pit of garbage they were going to bury, and does exactly that, filling it up with dirt up to Lily's neck.
She then goes and grabs a lawn mower to finish up the job, and do a little trimming off the top, and taking care of another horrible person.
That night, as promised, Bobby finds Angela and she ties him to a tree. Or, more accurately, she ties him AROUND a tree, but TO a car. That she gets into, drives off, and removes his limbs.
After that, she heads back, finds Riff in his tent, and starts pulling up stakes. He tries to come out, but she stakes his hand to the ground, beats him with a stick a few times, and then stakes him through the heart, or head, or something.
With two groups down, she tries to make a swap into Barney's group, this time with Marcia. But on the way, she trips and sprains her ankle, so Barney, Marcia, and NotMaria head to the main camp to patch it up.
Angela tells them how horrible the other counselors are, trying to convince Barney to let her join their group, and Marcia just can't believe it! So she rushes out to see if Lily REALLY sits around all day, and sure enough! She's not moving! Because she's, y'know, DEAD.
She rushes in tells Barney, who rushes out to take his turn. Angela tells Marcia she reminds her of another girl she knew, who was nice, and this is another nice touch to who and what Angela REALLY is.
But, Barney calls Marcia out, because he's putting things together, and confronts Angela, who is armed with Riff's gun, and kills him.
Angela chases down Marcia, grabbing her and still kinda hoping they can be together. Meanwhile, the campers back in the woods realise they've been sitting around the fire for a few hours, and think they should go look for everyone.
But that's when Angela shows up to tell them Barney wants everyone at the main cabin for another trust game. When they get there, Angela ties them up under the auspices of "Barney said so".
Once they're all set, Angela tells them they have two minutes to search the three cabins for Marcia. With a few rules; if they run, they die. If they don't find Marcia, they die. And if they try to hurt Angela in any way, they get a cookie...no wait, they die.
They rush around the first two cabins, finding all their dead friends, because Angela sure does love setting up her tableaus, and eventually find Marcia safe and sound in the third. But when they enter the room, axes fall from the ceiling and get Anita and Greg in the chest, on either side of Tony. Which is one heck of a lucky shot
Angela decides to let the two survivors go, because they're sweet kids, and actually did nothing wrong. So she skips off with a smile and a goodbye!
But that's not good enough for Marcia, who comes barreling out of the cabin and pounces on Angela. They each get in a few good shots, until Angela gets stabbed a few times in the gut, and the two run off to call the cops.
And that's pretty much it, except for the cops showing up, putting Angela into an ambulance, and as the EMT and cop escort with her discuss maybe just, oh, letting her die...she wakes up enough to stab them both and kill them. Because what's two more, as she rides off into the sunrise?
Video: Like anything from a big studio, with a decent budget, and being put out today from Shout! Factory, this looks pretty solid.
Audio: Same with the sound, it's all good.
Sound Bite: "How do you know all this?" "I have eyes!"
Body Count: WOW, props to Angela, for bringing in one of THE largest body counts yet to a Trisk review this year.
1 - Just short of the two minute mark, and a girl gets hit with an 18 wheeler.
2 - News reporter snorts some Draino.
3 - Herman gets beaten with a stick.
4 - And Jan follows suit shortly afterwards.
5 - Peter's face gets firecrackered
6 - Snowboy gets batted in the face and then torched.
7 - Arab gets axed
8 - Angela makes Cindy go splat.
9 - Lily gets buried and then lawnmowered in the face.
10 - Bobby gets disarmed.
11 - Riff gets tented and beaten and staked.
12 - Barney gets shot
13 - Anita gets axed in the chest
14 - And so does Greg next to her.
15 - EMT gets stabbed with a needle
16 - Cop gets the needle in the eye next
Best Corpse: It's hard to pick, since a lot of the fun stuff was edited out to reach an R rating, but just for the flair of it all, Lily's lawnmower death.
Blood Type - D+: It has some blood, but SO much of the effects and gore were removed, the movie is really neutered by it.
Sex Appeal: I think every female camper goes topless, save for Angela who doesn't quite go that far.
Drink Up! Every time Maria kills someone.
Video Nasties: This was a toughy, but I went with Cindy's flagpole sitting.
Movie Review: I know this movie, and the others, but especially the sequels, get a bad rap from horror fans at times, but I really enjoyed this one. The kills are fun and inventive, Angela is a fun character, and very few other horror movies get the whole 'punished for bad behaviour' stick that horror movies are SUPPOSED to have, as much as the Sleepaway Camp series. I actually root and empathise with Angela more than I should. It's well made enough, I like that the filming of this and #2 back to back made this take place in the Autumn for something different, and the sense of humour, which again some don't like, really works with me. Yes, the hockey mask may have been a bit TOO much, but I cracked up. Four out of five firecrackers.
Entertainment Value: Like I said, the humour works for me. All the characters have their own personalities and are generally fun and likable when they're not being little shits. It's campy yes, but fun, and solid, and better than it should be. Four out of five lawnmowers.