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Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland

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Release Date: 
Anchor Bay
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Directed by: 
Michael A. Simpson
Pamela Springsteen
Tracy Griffith
Michael J. Pollard
Bottom Line: 

You’re shouting. You’re topless. You’re chased by a Mack trash truck and a drum machine and dead before the opening credits. Where are you? You’re in Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland.
The idea behind this is the doomed debacle where kids from the nice neighborhoods are paired up with the low-lifes of the world. It’s the Brady kids meets the Sweathogs, with a murderer in their midst. Camp New Horizons breaks ground on the same site of the murders in the past camps when little miss Angela (Springsteen) shows up to wreak havoc on the campers.
Readers who haven’t seen the original Sleepaway Camp are missing out on three big things; the curling iron, the arrow through the throat, and the payoff pitch. The later installments work just fine without seeing the first, but it’s the best of the bunch. There is a Sleepaway Camp box set featuring all three films, the unfinished fourth, and more.
After the trash truck, Angela dishes out the Ajax to a coke fiend, with results much more drastic than when Cheech and Chong did the same ten years before. From there, it’s a cornucopia of creative kills, when Angela turns a number of the campers’ hobbies into their deaths. It’s heartwarming to see Angela keeping up her old favorites as well, as the axe makes an appearance after only a brief delay.
One interesting aspect of the script is how Angela changes through the series. This time around, as with the majority of 80’s horror franchises, the one-liners are amped way up. Long gone is the silent, mysterious introvert that was her crazy aunt’s little angel. Instead, our girl has graduated fully from the Freddy Krueger school of slaughter and satire.
This third installment of the series goes completely metal, a feat attempted later by the Turbulence series. After that franchise began with Ray Liotta going insane on a plane (no typecasting there), it soon divebombed into the ridiculous Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal, featuring a pizza delivering FBI agent supermodel, a crazy death metal concert on a plane, and the use of Flight Simulator by a metal singer and a geek to land the would-be crashing plane. And Rutger Hauer.
Overall, Sleepaway 3 is a good time, but too many deaths are off-camera, and the majority of characters are so stereotyped that they’re boring. With a little extra corn syrup and fake guts, this movie could have overachieved. As it is, it gets by on the performance of Springsteen and Pollard.
Extras include a commentary track with director Simpson and writer Fritz Gordon. Also on the disc are deleted scenes extending most of the kills, and behind the scenes footage.
The menu is backed by an annoyingly shrill metal-ish song titled Sleepaway by John Altyn, which is a perfect fit for this package. The movie itself contains music from John Oliverio, who worshipped nightly at the throne of Ronnie James Dio.


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