**** Out of 5
Tagline- She’s Back to Slash Last Year’s Record
Release Date- December 15th, 1989
Running Time- 80-Minutes
Screenplay- Fritz Gordon
Director- Michael Simpson
Starring- Pamela Springsteen, Tracey Griffith, Mark Oliver, Sandra Dorsey, Cliff Brand and Michael J. Pollard as Herman Miranda
Released in 1989 Sleepaway Camp III came out when the slasher film was pretty much dead in terms of quality and financially and while Sleepaway Camp III may be more or less the same it also rises above the good portion of slashers released at this time. Like the 2nd part rather than go for suspense, Sleepaway Camp III also goes for a light tone in which the goal is to simply craft a fun and entertaining film and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland pretty much succeeds in doing just that. I think some people miss the point of this film as I often hear was this suppose to be scary? Neither the 2nd or 3rd film are meant to be taken seriously and if anything are sort of satires on the slasher film. Sleepaway Camp III just might be my favorite of the series and while most cite the original or the 2nd I think I’d give this one the edge. To be honest while I enjoy the original it is my least favorite of the trilogy by this point the formula, which worked very well in part 2 may already be growing a bit stale here, but there is for me still enough on display for me to highly enjoy this.
Slasher flicks often have what one can say a morality tale; even if that wasn’t the intention of the filmmakers it seems like you have sex you die, take drugs you die, stuck up you die. If you’re obnoxious you die. The only person to normally survive these movies is the innocent virginal girl. And that is what the Sleepaway Camp sequels play up to. However Sleepaway Camp III does offer a twist on that concept. Both Sleepaway Camp sequels are really a lot smarter than people give them credit for.
Camp New Horizons an experiment in caring and sharing. The setting is the same as Camp Rolling Hills with a new name and this time kids from different backgrounds are brought together. Angela (Springsteen) kills one of the campers and heads back to camp hoping things will be different this time. But of course the campers misbehave and Angela is there to teach them a lesson.
Fritz Gordon again returns as the writer and like part 2, Gordon delivers a really fun and entertaining script. The characters here in my opinion are a bit more entertaining than the last with most just as obnoxious. Like part 2, Sleepaway Camp III can be seen as a satire of sorts and while the script is silly its also far more clever than people might realize. Most people will probably write off the screenplay, which I understand, but again I think Sleepaway Camp III is far more clever than people realize. With fun characters and really great comedy and satirical moments make the script a winner.
Returning director Michael A. Simpson again delivers such a fun and entertaining film. Sleepaway Camp III is played light and fun rather than for suspense. From the start of the picture Simpson establishes a fun tone and retains that throughout. The pacing does get a little slow in the middle sections and the formula was already starting to wear thin, but Simpson still manages to keep the film entertaining even in the slower paced scenes. Like the 2nd this was is directed exactly how it was supposed to and its never really meant to be taken seriously. Even the scenes that might aim for a little bit of suspense are also played light. The direction by Simpson is solid and he crafts a really fun film. The best part of the Michael A. Simpson Sleepaway Camp films are the very fun and creative deaths. Like I mentioned by this point slasher flicks were pretty much on the decline and even the death scenes were getting boring, but Simpson delivers some really great deaths that help make this standout. We get a firecracker up the nose, decapitation by lawnmower to just name a couple.
Pamela Springsteen returns as Angela and just might be even better this time around. I just love the way she played the character and its not really fair to compare her and Felissa Rose since they play the character very differently. Springsteen gives a really fun and energetic performance and while I have no idea on what she thought about the films she does seem to be having fun and it very much shows on camera. In many ways Angela is the heroine of the film and most will probably root for her to kill everyone. To be honest Pam Springsteen’s Angela might be my favorite horror movie killer.
Overall Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland is a total blast and while the forums was starting to wear thin there was still enough left to make one last excellent film. This may never go down as one of the all time greats, but its a fun film that’s quite clever.
This one has quite a bizarre scene in which the very sexy Jan (Lambert) hooks up with the not so sexy Herman (Pollard). The original also had a scene like that, but only in the movies can a guy like Michael J. Pollard get such a smoking hot girl. Also all the characters are named after characters from the Munsters, West Side Story and the Brady Bunch.