Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is the type of movie I want to snuggle up with and just hug all night long. It makes me feel so happy inside, in spite of all its flaws, which the movie has plenty of. It’s your lovable cheap 80s slasher, with a heart of gold and a killer with a smile on her face. Departing from the more serious tone of the original Sleepaway Camp and bringing in a fresh new face for our gender-confused Angela, played by the wonderful Pamela Springsteen, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is a funny, cheesy and adorable little slasher and thanks to Scream Factory, we all can sing the happy camper song together on glorious high definition Blu-ray, with their wonderful Collector’s Edition release. Let’s pack our bags, put on our hiking boots and grab the chainsaw, as we hack through this review together after the jump…
DISCS: 1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD
RUN-TIME: 80 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1988
RELEASE DATE: June 9th, 2015
Welcome to Camp Rolling Hills! Meet your camp counselor, Angela Baker! She’s the kind of counselor who enjoys camp songs, nature walks, board games and… murder.
Five years after the horrific slaughter at Camp Arawak, Angela (Pamela Springsteen, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) has created a new position for herself as a counselor at Camp Rolling Hills. Angela is about to teach “bad campers” a brutal lesson in survival when they are sliced, stabbed, drilled… and much worse. Renée Estevez (Heathers, Intruder) and Walter Gotell (The Spy Who Loved Me) co-star in this outrageous sequel to the original cult classic.
Taking place six years after the original Sleepaway Camp, Unhappy Campers has us following Angela as a new counsellor at the new campground Camp Rolling Hills. Personally, I think they should have a more stringent background check in place, but that’s just me being silly I suppose. Anyway, back on topic. Angela is out to make sure all the teenagers stay in line and have a good time, which means if you flash your boobs, which thank the heavens happens a ton in this movie (thanks Valerie Hartman for sleeping topless,) or mouth off, you are going to end up dead at the hands of Angela, or as she likes to put it, “sent home.” Thankfully for us the viewer, all the teenagers are a bunch of rowdy, dirty-minded, sex-crazed bundles of joy, so we get to see Angela dispatch a whopping amount of people. All the kills are wonderful, much in thanks to Pamela Springsteen’s performance. She always has a happy, demented look on her face and takes joy in dispatching these “bad teenagers,” be it with a chainsaw, electric drill or the string of her guitar. Of course, I would be stupid not to mention the best damn kill in the movie, involving an outhouse, copious amounts of leeches and a smattering of feces and urine. A disgustingly memorable kill if there ever was one.
If I had any complaints about Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers, it would only be that the gore is super light. This is one movie that begs to go over the top with the gore, but most of the kills are fairly dry. This very well could be due to the fact that the censors back in the day were a bunch of butt-holes and a lot of good stuff probably got dropped on the cutting room floor. Either way, the version here is as uncut as you can get it, with no trimming involved, so that’s a big plus. Any other complaints, such as bad acting, continuity issues and story, are all moot when you realize this is freaking Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers we are talking about. A movie about a transgender killer dispatching kids in hilarious ways. Lighten up, it’s a blast.
In my opinion, Scream Factory has done an outstanding job with this Blu-ray release. The picture quality is looking phenomenal compared to pretty much every other release out there. I may be biased, as the only other time I’ve seen this movie, was on a cheap DVD copy that looked worse than VHS and was heavily cut. I find the picture fairly clean, with film grain left intact and no noticeable issues popping up. The same can be said for the audio, as the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 sounds loud and clear. Honestly, nothing negative really jumps out at me with this release.
The first thing you’re going to notice with the special features is the lack of Pamela Springsteen. Sadly, the folks at Scream Factory couldn’t get her available for interview, so we have to just live with that. Other than that small issue, the features are plentiful and highly informative. First up, you have a commentary with Director Michael A. Simpson and Writer Fritz Gordon. Next, you have Part One of the feature titled A Tale Of Two Sequels, which runs a nice 28 minutes long. Featuring interviews with Director Michael A. Simpson, Cinematographer Bill Mills, Editor John David Allen and few others, this feature is enjoyable to watch, as we get a lot of background information on the shooting, working with the actors and the special effects. Next up is a roughly 15-minute tour of the original shooting locations for Part II and III, which have become pretty dilapidated and hardly anything is left. It was fun to watch and see the state the place is in now. Fair warning, this feature spoils a few things from Part III, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, you’ve been warned.
Next on the features list is a 13 minute behind the scenes feature with Director Michael A. Simpson commentating. It was great to watch and see original footage of all the crew hard at work. A lot of heart and soul went into making this movie and it looks like everyone had a blast doing it. Rounding out the rest of the features is a fun Home Video Trailer (shipping from warehouses in November!) for the movie, a short film about what happened to the main character Molly, which to me was weird and hard to follow, but it’s a quick animation of what was originally supposed to happen to Molly, based on an unused script page. Finally, we have a Still Gallery of about 84 photos or so.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- Audio Commentary With Director Michael A. Simpson And Writer Fritz Gordon
- A Tale Of Two Sequels – Part One Featuring New Interviews With Director Michael A. Simpson, Cinematographer Bill Mills, Editor John David Allen And More…
- Abandoned – The Filming Locations Of SLEEPAWAY CAMP II & III – A Tour Of The Shooting Locales
- Behind-The-Scenes Footage With Commentary By Michael A. Simpson
- Home Video Promotional Trailer
- Short Film: Whatever Happened to Molly?
- Still Gallery
As you can probably tell I love both the movie Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and the fantastic Blu-ray from Scream Factory. The movie is a blast to watch and is so much fun. It’s cheesy for sure, but it has its bloody heart on its sleeve and doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Pamela Springsteen does a wonderful job as Angela and it’s a shame she couldn’t be interviewed for the Blu, but that’s a tiny issue when you compare it to everything else that’s so damn good on this disc. I highly recommend picking this release up! You’ll be a very unhappy camper if you don’t.