It didn’t take long for “Sleepaway Camp” to mock its own premise, as after the shocking ending to “Sleepaway Camp,” “Unhappy Campers” doesn’t miss a beat in re-introducing Angela. In fact she’s a puritanical camp counselor devoted to stopping the hormonal teenagers running wild in her camp, many of whom want to outdo Angela and run her out of camp with pranks that go awry thanks to Angela’s own clever thinking.
“Unhappy Campers” is more of a self referential satire slasher film than a film that continues the story with a straight face. Angela is so committed to a safe and happy camp that she begins offing campers and dusting them off the premises with the most lethal methods she can imagine. And what’s funny about the deaths is that no one really draws any suspicion. Angela is just so trustworthy that when she leaves with a camper and kills them, people just assume the best. There are many baffling moments in “Unhappy Campers” that make it a surreal horror comedy. There’s a port o potty death, and one scene involves one of the female campers trying to molest the boys with her breasts during a good old fashioned game of horseplay.
Really, since the big surprise has been given away there isn’t much that can be done, except bask in the inherent mania of Angela’s antics. Pamela Springsteen’s performance ranges from self aware to maniacal quite often and she plays the perfect horror villainess that reflects the decade that injected seeds of homophobia and transphobia within its entertainment base. Where are the rest of the counselors? Why would the camp head allow Angela to bring campers home all alone without the parents? Why doesn’t anyone question Angela when people go missing? “Unhappy Campers” is so bad it’s quite good, and serves as a surprising turn in to a series that should logically have stopped after one film.
From Scream Factory comes “A Tale of Two Sequels – Part One” a very good thirty minute documentary about the “Sleepaway Camp” series. The documentary is peppered with in depth interviews, behind the scenes, and insight in to filming. It’s a fun retro visit to the age of VHS. “Abandoned – The Locations of Sleepaway Camp II and III” is a fifteen minute tour of filming locations for the two horror films, and what they look like today. There’s a thirteen minute Behind the Scenes segment of archival footage, and the Home Video Trailer. Finally, there’s a still gallery, and the short film “Whatever Happened to Molly?” And no release from Scream Factory would be complete without the audio commentary, this one featuring Director Michael A. Simpson and Writer Fritz Gordon.