Review Date: August 14, 2002
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 8/20/2002
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
Well campers, Angela is back, AGAIN! Once again Anchor Bay has done right by Sleepaway Camp fans, releasing both Sleepaway Camp III: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland onto DVD. Each is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer and comes with good amount of supplements. Now, anyone that read my review to the first Sleepaway Camp DVD knows that I wasn't a big fan of the movie. Is there any chance of Sleepaway Camp III and III changing my opinion? I have my doubts, but as always I'm going in with an open mind and hoping for the best. Lets get the ball rolling by taking a look at Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland.
Also, a word of warning before you read on. If you don't know who Angela is, you better skip The Story section of this review. It contains potential spoilers to the first Sleepaway Camp movie.
Everyone knows that you just can't keep a happy camper like Angela (Pamela Springsteen) down. A year has gone by since Angela's last murderous rampage; now she is ready to return to camp once again. Camp Rolling Hills, renamed to Camp New Horizons to draw attention away from the prior massacres, is under new management. The new owners, Herman (Michael J. Pollard) and Lily Miranda (Sandra Dorsey), are reopening the camp in a most unusual way. They're calling it "an experiment in sharing"; half of the campers are from rich families in the suburbs, and the other half are from poor, inner city families. Angela, being her usual resourceful self, kills off one of the city kids and heads off to camp her in place.
The mix of both rich and poor kids means a lot of bad campers. And we all know what Angela does to bad campers. Not only are the campers bad, but so are the counselors. Herman fornicates with a camper, and Lily proves to be both lazy and cheap - at the campers' expense! There is one good counselor, however. His name is Barney Whitmore (Cliff Brand). He's a police officer who wanted to be a counselor this year because his son was killed the previous year by Angela. He swears that if he ever finds Angela he will kill her. He'll get his change much sooner then he expects. One by one Angela begins killing off the campers and counselors. As the number of those living decrease, Angela faces final confrontations between Barney and the remaining campers.
Sleepaway Camp III is my second favorite in the trilogy, even though I found it to be lacking compared to part 2. Still, anything is better than the original. Part 3, when compared to part 2, has much less gore and special effects. The few gore shots that are present look amateur and rushed. Acting is subpar all around, with the exception of Pamela Springsteen. Even in this lackluster sequel she manages to play Angela, the homicidal maniac with a sense of humor, to perfection. The story is also lacking. Throwing together the rich and poor kids just didn't work. The characters are all dull and easily forgettable. There's no sense of a camp environment here. Where are the children? Where are the goofy counselors? Where are the teenagers having sex and play practical jokes? If it doesn't FEEL like a sleepaway camp, how can we possibly be satisfied with the results?
I'm guessing part of the faults with Sleepaway Camp III lie in the fact that both part 2 and 3 were filmed back to back. It's clear the budget shrank with part 3, and I'm certainly the crew was exhausted by the back to back filming schedules. The runtime is once again 80 minutes, but it feels much longer. There are once again the time filler scenes, like when Angela is having flashbacks to her counseling days in part 2. But the main drag of this movie is watching the campers roam around in the woods while we wait for Angela to kill them. It's unfortunate, too; I was so impressed with part 2, only to be letdown by part 3. The potential was there, but in the end I found Sleepaway Camp III to be a big disappointment.
Anchor Bay presents Sleepaway Camp III in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. While the movie itself is inferior to part 2, the transfer is definitely superior. There is less grain and the image is sharper and more detailed. Colors are definitely more vibrant here as well. I'm rating Sleepaway Camp III with a B+, whereas Sleepaway Camp II scored a B-.
Sleepaway Camp III is presented in Dolby Mono sound. Like part 2, both dialogue and soundtrack were crisp and clear. No distortion or other problems were detected.
The supplements are on this disc are nearly identical to the ones found on the Sleepaway Camp II DVD. First up is a commentary with director Michael A. Simpson, writer Fritz Gordon, and John Klyza of the Sleepaway Camp Films web site. Fortunately, I found this commentary to be a bit more enjoyable than the one on part 2. This time around Fritz and Michael do a better job of actually commenting! They discuss their experiences creating the movie, various facts about cast and crew, point out the various shots that had to have footage cut in order to avoid an X rating (more on that in a bit), and more. As with the commentary on part 2, John does a great job as moderator. He throws out various questions and facts about the movie, all of which helps keep the discussion going.
Next is 8 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and outtakes with commentary by director Michael Simpson. This footage is of the opening sequence where Angela is driving a big mack truck and trying to run down a city girl. Nothing spectacular here, but I did enjoy seeing some of the crew in action.
The true highlight of this disc is about 20 minutes worth of scenes featuring additional gore footage that had to be cut from the movie in order to avoid an X rating. In retrospect I have to admit my earlier comment about the lack of gore being a result of a lower budget and a tired crew to be wrong. The gore footage was there, they just had to cut it to get the R rating. It's too bad because the movie is definitely a bit more enjoyable with the extra gore. Lets just be thanks we're now having a chance to see it on the DVD.
Rounding out the supplements is a teaser trailer for Sleepaway Camp III, a trailer for Sleepaway Camp II, and three still galleries titled 'Behind the Scenes & Artwork', 'Abandoned Cabin Scene', and 'Make-Up Effects.' In total there are about 3 or 4 dozen photos in the galleries, all of which are enjoyable and of high quality. I particularly enjoyed the 'Behind the Scenes & Artwork' gallery. It was nice seeing the various cast and crew members posting for photos with one another, as well as seeing some of the artwork for various video releases.
Rounding out the supplements is a trailer for Sleepaway Camp III and still galleries titled 'Behind the Scenes & Artwork', 'Garbage Truck Scene', and 'Make-Up & Gore Effects.' In total there are about 3 or 4 dozen photos in the galleries, all of which are enjoyable and of high quality. I particularly enjoyed the 'Behind the Scenes & Artwork' gallery. It was nice seeing the various cast and crew members posting for photos with one another, as well as seeing some of the artwork for various video releases.
Sleepaway Camp III was a disappointment to me, especially just having watched the enjoyable part 2. Part of the reason for the disappointment is due to lack of gore which, as we find out in both the commentary and deleted scenes section, was a result of several key gore scenes being cut to avoid an X rating. Sleepaway Camp fans have no worries! Anchor Bay has provided a superb transfer and some great supplements on this DVD. It's well worth the $20 price tag.
Movie - C-
Image Quality - B+
Sound - B+
Supplements - B+
- Running time - 1 hour 20 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Dolby Digital Mono
- Commentary with director Michael A. Simpson, writer Fritz Gordon, and John Klyza of the Sleepaway Camp Films web site
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Deleted scenes
- Photo galleries