Directed By: Michael A Simpson
“Good thing you’re dead ’cause in a couple of years your breasts would have been sagging something terrible!”
Well, I thought I might as well round off the set with this one. True, there is a Sleepaway Camp IV but it was never finished and only exists in some bastardised form so I don’t think that one really counts. Instead, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland sees Angela cutting, beating and blowing up a swathe through a whole other group of supposed teens again and to save costs, we’re back at the exact same camp we were in the last movie.
This was actually shot back to back with the previous one, which is all the rage these days with your Lord Of The Rings and Avatar, so you can see how these movies were really trendsetters in that regard. The story, such as it is, is that one year later Angela returns to the same camp from the last flick but not after running over one of the counsellors in a garbage truck and taking her place. Really. Anyway, this camp has the idea to hire one group of rich kids and one group of poor kids to run it or something, I’m not quite sure what’s going on.
Is third time the charm? Not really. Angela’s happy camper act stops working this time around and she’s a bit of a bore. It’s as if Tracy Flick from Election decided to start taking a knife to the people she didn’t like and this time the cheapness really comes through. As I said, the two movies were shot back to back but honestly, it looks more like they shot the second movie and then shot this one on a weekend. The whole thing seems to take place in the same patch of woodland and without any kids around (even in the background) there’s an anaemic, desolate feeling to the movie. Even the script, such as it is, is lacking. At least the second had some funny lines in it but this time there’s one groan-inducing joke where they find a hockey mask that’s washed up on a lake and a character off-handedly mentions that today is Saturday the 14th. Har har. There’s also an incredibly awkward love scene between a young actress and an older man where he is clearly trying to grope her breasts and she’s having none of it.
Thinking about it now, this series strikes me as one of those fake slasher movies you see in The Simpsons or something. It’s actually fairly impressive how little attempt there is at creating anything suspenseful or…well anything really. Angela decides someone has annoyed her and she kills them. That’s it. All in a very perfunctory way. There are no big chase scenes, no one ever fights back, they just die. Sometimes they die in fun ways but most of the time they die by being beaten with a big stick, which is pretty underwhelming.
Something has struck as kind of strange though, which is that the main driving point of the first Sleepaway Camp – that Angela was born a male – is discarded for the sequels. Clearly they don’t know what to do with the idea other than paying it the briefest of lip service and the movie hints that she got that problem ‘fixed’, but it’s odd that they would take the most interesting aspect of that first movie and then completely disregard it. It’s not that I’m asking for a transphobic horror movie, which is certainly would’ve been as these were less enlightened times, but it’s like making a Batman movie and pretending that Bruce Wayne’s parents are just on holiday.
Sadly this one was a bit of a waste of time. It has a script written on a napkin and a stunning lack of directorial flair. It doesn’t even have any camp value to it, pun not intended, so it’s hard to really see what there is to recommend. Unless you’re doing one of these things yourself through October and you somehow manage to run out of movies completely, there’s no reason to watch this.