Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) / Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)
Director: Michael A. Simpson
Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Renée Estevez, Brian Patrick Clarke & Walter Gotell / Pamela Springsteen, Tracy Griffith & Michael J. Pollard
Released by: Scream Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Scream Factory, the horror/cult offshoot of Shout! Factory, invites campers back for a double dose of teenage terror! Following the events of the original film, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers finds Angela (Pamela Springsteen, Modern Girls) taking a counselor position at Camp Rolling Hills. Overwhelmed with a siege of “bad campers”, it doesn’t take long for Angela to revert back to her homicidal tendencies. Next up, Pamela Springsteen returns in Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland. Continuing her deadly wrath at Camp New Horizons where an experimental retreat bringing stuck-up rich kids and inner city juveniles together is taking place, Angela finds a new stomping ground to weed out more naughty campers.
Unafraid to poke fun at its very own genre, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers makes comedy a valued component as much as its bloody carnage. Taking the role over from Felissa Rosa, Pamela Springsteen gives new dimension to the role of sex-changed murderer Angela Baker. Overly bubbly with a permanent grin on her face, Angela takes a position at Camp Rolling Hills to share her obsessive love of camp songs and wilderness activities with her fellow campers. Unfortunately, those found fornicating and dabbling with drugs quickly fall prey to Angela’s deadly tendencies. With its tongue firmly planted in cheek, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers allows viewers to revel in the hilarity of its over the top performances and ridiculous murder set pieces that include tongue removal, battery acid burning and death by outhouse leeches. Co-starring Renée Estevez (Heathers) as camp goody girl Molly, this slasher sequel also makes light of other modern day monsters like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface while, two prepubescent boys, better known as “the tit patrol”, take pleasure in secretly photographing the naked side of the camp’s female population. Bursting with a heavy dose of metal and punk tunes from Anvil, Obsession and The Dead Milkmen, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is deliciously cheesy and wickedly funny with its blending of genres proving to be one of the best cocktails slasher fans will sip from.
Shot back to back with its predecessor, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland kicks off with everyone’s favorite camp murderer Angela (Springsteen) knocking off an inner city youth with a garbage truck. In order to take her spot in an experimental program hosted by Camp New Horizons, Angela cons her way in as a disadvantaged teen brought together with various kids from different tracks of life. Hoping to once again capture more harmonious times, Angela is quickly disappointed with her fellow campers and wastes no time taking the trash out yet again. Joined by fellow genre stars including, Tracy Griffith (The First Power) as final girl Marcia, the quirky Michael J. Pollard (House of 1,000 Corpses) as a horny counselor with a weakness for younger women and Jill Terashita (Night of the Demons) as a rebel rouser, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland slightly suffers from a bloated cast and a runtime that doesn’t support its size. Still capable of presenting memorable characters such as racist richie Cindy (Kim Wall), Director Michael A. Simpson’s second outing with the franchise delivers the goods in the gore department with Wall’s character being hoisted up a flagpole before Angela drops her to her death. In addition, a firecracker explosion to a camper’s mouth, an axe decapitation and a lawnmower to a counselor’s face round out the film’s grizzly highlights. Still hamming it up, Springsteen delivers cheesy one-liners following her deathly accomplishments that would make the wisecracking dream demon Freddy Krueger proud. Admittedly not as strong as Unhappy Campers, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland manages to inject genuine moments of fun during the final days of the slasher genre.
Scream Factory presents both Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland with 1080p transfers, sporting 1.78:1 aspect ratios. With only minimal instances of flakes and speckles on display, both films shine magnificently in high-definition with natural skin tones, rich detail and lively colors highlighting campers‘ t-shirts and bloody decadence. In addition, black levels are handled admirably with no anomalies and visibility easily relayed. Equipped with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mixes, both films deliver dialogue with clarity and ease while, their rock soundtracks, wilderness ambiance and screams of terror are balanced accordingly and efficiently. Treating fans to an abundance of features, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers arrives with an Audio Commentary with Director Michael A. Simpson and Writer Fritz Gordon, Red Shirt Pictures‘ A Tale of Two Sequels – Part One: Back to Camp (28:06) featuring new interviews with Director Michael A. Simpson, Cinematographer Bill Mills, Editor John David Allen and many more. Also included, Abandoned – The Filming Locations of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (15:28) featuring a tour of the shooting locations, Behind the Scenes Footage with Commentary from Director Michael A. Simpson (13:21), a Home Video Trailer (2:24), Whatever Happened to Molly Short Film (0:50), Still Gallery (82 in total), DVD edition of the release and Reversible Cover Art round the impressive supplements. Equally as packed, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland delivers an Audio Commentary with Director Michael A. Simpson and Writer Fritz Gordon, Red Shirt Pictures‘ concluding featurette A Tale of Two Sequels – Part Two: New Victims & New Horizons (26:12) featuring new interviews with Director Michael A. Simpson, Cinematographer Bill Mills, Editor John David Allen, Actors Mark Oliver, Kim Wall and more. Furthermore, Behind the Scenes Footage with Commentary from Director Michael A. Simpson (8:28), the Workprint of the film’s Longer Cut (culled from VHS) (1:24:48), Deleted Scenes (18:46), the Home Video Trailer (2:38), Tony Lives! Short Film (1:10), Still Gallery (47 in total), DVD edition of the release and Reversible Cover Art round out the film’s plentiful features.
Taking a sharp left turn for the franchise, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland inject a heavy dose of humor into their DNA as they playfully make fun of their oversaturated genre while, still delivering the gory goods slashers fans have come to expect. Absurdly entertaining and oozing of retro atmosphere, Unhappy Campers may be the more favored sequel although, Teenage Wasteland proves you may not be able to keep a transgendered killer down but, still have a hell of a time. Scream Factory affectionately rolls out the blood red carpet for both films with gorgeous technical achievements and a plethora of rich bonus content, courtesy of the always reliable Red Shirt Pictures, that will leave fans the happiest of campers just in time for the ideal slasher season.
Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers RATING: 4.5/5
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland RATING: 4/5
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