It’s funny how the third installment for Sleepaway Camp just kind of drops off for me. It’s not that I dislike the movie. In fact I may like this more than the original (though not more than part II). There’s something off about it. There’s something missing. It has all the fun kills… but … wait… it only has half of each kill. After watching A Tale of Two Sequels and the deleted bits you suddenly realize the real villain in Sleepaway Camp III isn’t Angela Baker. It isn’t the shitty campers (the racists or bigots or rich snobs or careless counselors); the enemy number one is the goddamn MPAA! Those guys are those guys are the devil. Think of what they’ve done to My Bloody Valentine. Friday the 13th. Think of how they turned our horror movies into chop jobs and not in that pleasant, practically effected way.
What’s wrong with Sleepaway Camp III? Absolutely NOTHING! It’s actually a great movie once you add the scenes cut to obtain an R rated movie. The kills are perfect that way. Appropriate and not necessarily any more violent than the original or the sequel and certainly not realistic. This movie is as funny and campy (pun intended for a second time!) and contains as many bare breasts as one might need in a sequel to a semi meta slasher. If I had one true criticism of this movie it’s that it has way too much daylight. It’s difficult to get the proper horror mood with so much sunshine. That seemed to be an observation by the filmmakers as well. Change the camp name. Bring us some 80’s hotties with mommy/daddy issues and drug habits and then kill em. That works nine times out of ten as long as you have a creative effects team with vision and buckets of the red stuff.
The continuation of A tale of Two Sequels is a must watch and the commentary track is imperative to understanding this release even more so than part II. The real treat here though not necessarily the way you’d want it is the longer workprint of the film. The quality is low as it’s from VHS, but it’s the longer cut of the film so you can watch it with all the good bits included. If you do not want to sacrifice quality for full release, just enjoy the deleted scenes and/or the second half of the making of feature. You’ll get all the goodies, the back story and a look at what might have been if the MPAA could see fit to pass a silly, slasher with some splatter. This isn’t England circa 1984, right?
Of note, I adore the new cover art for this release. It’s in the same style as part II only I love the way Angela Baker looks with that stylish wig.
Watching Sleepaway Camp III with the knowledge afforded to you by the documentary that accompanies parts II and III is like watching a movie with new eyes. Watching part III with all the good bits is like watching completely different film; it’s a movie that would garner the love of a horror fan as opposed to the wishy washy response of a horror hound who wants MORE from their sequel. Scream Factory offers a real treat with this one; the chance for a movie to have new life. Michael J. Pollard is just fantastic. If you know who that is and you forgot he was in this, you're heart just skipped a beat and your wallet just got a little lighter as you bought the disc.
Audio Commentary With Director Michael A. Simpson And Writer Fritz Gordon
A Tale Of Two Sequels - Part Two Featuring New Interviews With Director Michael A. Simpson, Cinematographer Bill Mills, Actors Mark Oliver And Kim Wall And More…
Behind-The-Scenes Footage With Commentary By Michael A. Simpson
Workprint Of The Longer Cut (From VHS)
Deleted Scenes Featuring Additional Gore Footage (Taken From The Workprint)
Home Video Promotional Trailer
From Scream Factory:
Welcome to Camp New Horizons, where an autumn retreat brings together a group of obnoxious rich kids and surly city thugs for an "experiment in sharing." Under new inept management, this is the ideal setting for notorious psychopath Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers) to join the camp and do what she does best – eliminating "immoral" teenagers with everything from a knife to a lawnmower. Michael J. Pollard (House of 1000 Corpses, Bonnie & Clyde), Tracy Griffith (Fear City, The First Power) and Jill Terashita (Night of the Demons) co-star in this third installment of the cult series.
For this review we leave you with what I can only imagine is the origin of the subtitle of this film. If not, just enjoy The Who and get your summer groove on. Listen for the refrain.