Your Scary-Movie-a-Day Guide to October. Day 13: Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Yes, this is a bad film. It certainly falls into the “so bad it’s good” category, but it’s actually more than that. A seriously subversive film with blatant homosexual undertones, Sleepaway Camp is a bizarre take on the summer camp slasher. It’s also wildly entertaining.

It may be the shocking finale that gave the film its cult status, but it’s writer/director Robert Hilzik’s off-center approach to horror that makes it interesting. Dreamy flashbacks, weirdly gruesome murders, and a creepy (yet somehow refreshing) preoccupation with beefcake separate this one from the pack.

It’s not scary, certainly, but it is all manner of wrong. Aunt Martha – what kind of mad genius is this? The kill sequences are hugely imaginative, and the subversive approach to the entire film makes it hard to believe more people haven’t seen this gem.

There are sequels. They are worth skipping, although the first two boast the casting of Bruce Springsteen’s sister Pamela as the chipper sadist hatcheting her way through campers. So at least you have that.

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