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Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland (Blu-ray

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Scream Factory
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Directed by: 
Michael A. Simpson
Pamela Springsteen
Jill Terashita
Mark Oliver
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.

Scream Factory presents Sleepaway Camp 3 on Blu-ray in a solid 1.85:1 transfer that, despite evidence of print damage here and there, actually looks pretty darned good. Colors are fairly rich and vibrant, contrast issues are kept to a minimum, and the fine cinematic grain is never really much of a hindrance save for the darkest of scenes where things can be a bit noisy. The DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio track’s paired with the transfer isn’t a sonic marvel, but it is crisp and clear and boasts decent separation and fairly robust bass.

Being a Collector’s Edition release, Scream loads up the disc with a nice assortment of bonus goodies, including a feature-length commentary track with Director Michael A. Simpson and Writer Fritz Gordon, as well as  an extended workprint version of the film culled from VHS that’s in pretty rough shape, but still worth a look, especially for super fans and folks interested in the fickle nature of editing (and how filmmakers choose to “kill their darlings” when deleting or shortening scenes).

A Tale of Two Sequels - Part Two (part one is featured on Scream Factory’s also-available Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers Blu-ray) is an entertaining and informative mini-documentary/retrospective, while Abandoned – The Filming Locations Of SLEEPAWAY CAMP II & III is exactly what it sounds like! Tony Lives!, meanwhile, is a short-but-funny spoof segment featuring an interview with Mark Oliver’s alter-ego, Tony, as he reflects on his experiences in middle-age.

Rounding out the bonus features is a short collection of behind-the-scenes footage (with commentary), a stills gallery, and the film’s trailer

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