Taken from the archives. This is from 2006 — but it pretty much reflects how I still feel in 2011.
PART ONE: GENDER BENDING
The subject of gender bending. I have always loved transgenders, transexuals, and transvestites. Which leads into the subject of crossing genders and mixing sexes among children. This was the staple of Sleepaway Camp for sc83x. The anchor that snagged me as a fan.
I’ll never forget my initial reaction to that flashback of Aunt Martha and Peter, the day she took him home. After Angela stood up and Paul’s head rolled off her lap, I literally dropped to my knees in fright. That sounds absolutely ridiculous writing it down. I may have already been sitting on the floor. But if I hadn’t been, on the floor is where I ended up. So it doesn’t matter.
I have been oddly attracted to the subject of child abuse since the age of 14. It may or may not have coincided with my sexual awakening, and not quite realizing my attraction to much younger people. However, I see rearing children towards the gender/sex other than the one that they are born into as a form of child abuse. With the exception of cases such as David Reimer where the parent believes they are doing what is best for the child. Ironically enough, my interest in David Reimer was because of Sleepaway Camp. Anyone who needs something interesting and heartbreaking to read should buy the book detailing David’s case (As Nature Made Him : The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl) up to but not including his 2004 suicide.
To me, what “Angela” experienced was a form of child abuse. I immediately felt an overwhelming desire to protect her. I was sort of in pain, the way one would be if it had happened to a child they loved in real life. So yes, that was the initial effect Sleepaway Camp had on me. It was the case of Peter Baker. I was hooked.
However, Sleepaway Camp left me hungry for the psychological aspect of Peter Baker. We never get to see anything that happened to him as a child, except the two minor flashbacks he has in Sleepaway Camp. We never get to see more of what he remembered and how he remembered his childhood. As fans, we were cheated out of what I believe to be the most entertaining aspect of the movie. This is partially why I initially disliked the sequels. They failed to accurately represent the Peter Baker that I knew and believed him to be. Which is to say, I basically had to draw from what was on screen to what I believed to have happened off screen. Not off screen as in reality. Off screen as to what was never shown in the movie. So when I viewed the sequels for the first time, I had already formed my own view of the character and it was not the way Simpson and Gordon had viewed the character.
I wanted to know the mind of Peter Baker. I wanted the sequels to carry on immediately following the events at Camp Arawak. I would have loved to have seen the character of Peter Baker develop on-screen, as he remembered his childhood trauma. I wanted to know what he had thought all those years and what he was feeling post-breakdown. I wanted to watch the events that followed the breakdown unfold on-screen. I wanted to see the juicy bits, everything pertaining to his psyche. I wanted Peter Baker’s mind opened up like a diary. I wanted to know every secret and every event that ultimately shaped who he had become.
We saw four year-old Peter. We saw twelve year-old Angela. Then we saw eighteen year-old Angela through a new artists eyes. I wanted to see everything in between those periods. I still want to see it.
PART TWO: ROBERT HILTZIK WAS A PERVERT (February 3 2006)
Robert Hiltzik was a pervert. I had never seen a movie before Sleepaway Camp that had incorporated so many perversions into one story. Maybe I needed to watch more movies. It was the sort of subtlety that allowed my mind to further the depravity already on screen via fantasy and imagination. And Sleepaway Camp was not exactly subtle now, was it.
- Boy raised as girl
- Homosexual sex scene
- Underage voyeurism
- Curling iron rape
- Implied necrophilia
- Kids killing kids
- Male nudity
- Implied underage homosexual relations
What I don’t understand, and don’t really care to, is the lack of positive female roles as well as the presence of femininity. Sleepaway Camp is overall a male dominated story. In fact, it is a male dominated story. And all of the female characters with the exception of one are presented in a negative light. I find it ironic that a website which lists “Anti-Gay” films actually has Sleepaway Camp on that list. If anything, Sleepaway Camp is a pro-gay film, and once you examine the evidence, you’ll realize that Sleepaway Camp is anti-female.
First of all, the character of which the story centers around is a boy, Peter Baker. Peter Baker had two fathers. Angela Baker dies. Aunt Martha is left with two sons, one of which she decides to raise as a female. Perhaps since her husband left, she wants nothing more to do with men with the exception of her biological son, Ricky. Peter and Ricky were cousins. The relationship is between two boys, and the most strongest in the story. The second strongest relationship in the story is also between two boys, Ricky and his friend Paul. Thus creating the third strongest relationship of the story, also between two boys – Paul and Peter (as Angela).
So far that is five relationships, all involving males. That isn’t even counting the assumed relationship that Ricky has with his father and that Peter has with his father, which both occur off-screen.
Now, take a ganger at this. Not a one of these relationships could have been made possible, if not for a woman. For instance, where is Peter Baker’s mother? This I cannot comment on because we know nothing about the circumstance. But I reckon Robert Hiltzik had his theory on why she was most visibly ABSENT in the story. And I’m sure it was her fault, why she was never in the picture. It is because there is no mother for this child that he is thrust into the abusive arms of his psychotic Aunt. So this is how the relationship between Ricky and Peter ignite. Peter has an absentee mother. Aunt Martha’s husband left, but I think it’s safe to assume that it was entirely her fault. After all, she is crazy. So no more biological children for Aunt Martha. No, she had to make a daughter out of the son she was given. Therefore, the relationship between Ricky and Peter is born. It would have been there anyway, but I just had to throw that in for steweing purposes.
Ricky and Paul. What initially made these two young bucks bond at summer camp. No doubt it was the root of all evil. Pussy. Why else do males bond together like superglue? Women. Get a bunch of normal guys together and what do they talk about. My point. And what happens in the midst of Sleepaway Camp? Paul essentially betrays Ricky by betraying Ricky’s cousin. BUT. How does Ricky respond to this? HE BLAMES THE FEMALE. Why would he blame his buddy over the slut who stopped paying attention to him? Sorry Angela, not even family loyalty takes priority over male love.
Paul and Peter. Paul has false sympathy. Poor Angela just can’t see through his pussy-patrol facade. But she doesn’t know any better. He pretends to care when all he wants is to get up her shirt and down her pants. When she won’t put out or give in, what does Paul do? He is “seduced” by Judy. Then like the bucket of slime that he is, he apologizes. Gee-whiz. The male apology. Only given when he knows he fucked up and won’t get any unless he performs one. You know, it’s a play in one act. Exactly what Paul does. But instead of getting head from Angela, she gets head from him – literally!
Pretty much every male relationship is a direct result from Peter Baker having no mother. Because if he had had a mother, he would have never been raised by Aunt Martha, nor would he have ever gone to Sleepaway Camp.
All of the lead characters are male. Peter Baker, Ricky, Paul, Mel, Ronnie. Let’s not forget Artie. And nearly all of these characters are in some way connected to a female. In most cases, that connection is a negative one. Every relationship between a male and a female ends up in a negative way.
Ricky is connected to Judy. They “dated” one summer, and now Ricky has a negative attitude towards Judy. Why? Because she wants nothing more to do with him. She feels she is better than Ricky. Hm. Paul is after Peter (as Angela). When he finally wins Peter’s affections, he betrays him by kissing Judy. He has treated Peter (as Angela) in a negative way. Mel doesn’t think twice about taking advantage of a young female, Meg. Of course he never gets the chance to. Artie is a pedophile, who attempts to molest Peter (as Angela).
Peter Baker: Arawak Gigilo
It’s funny when you think on it. The character of Angela is actually a boy. So let’s count the number of times Angela is involved in a homosexual situation. At four years-old he witnessed his homosexual father in bed with another man. There’s a four year-old praticing the innocent act of voyuerism on a homosexual scene. At twelve years-old Peter experiences his first kiss with a boy. At twelve years-old, Peter is the victim of a male pedophile.
Sleepaway Camp: The Anti-Female
With the exception of Susie, every single female character in Sleepaway Camp is portrayed in a negative light.
Aunt Martha. She gets custody of her four year-old nephew and raises him as a female. Meg, the queen of bitch who bosses Angela around and then throws her into the water. Judy, the camp slut who teams up with Meg to make Angela’s life a living hell. And let’s not forget the real Angela. The victim of an accidental boating massacre. First female to die, with no good reason. HM. Gee, no more females to name. Why? Because the rest of the characters are MALE.
Ronnie and Susie: Asexual Angels
Don’t tell me you never noticed. Like two angels perched atop Peter Bakers shoulders is this asexual duo of sympathy. Susie, the first female to be kind to Angela. The first female to reach out and offer support. Susie is a virgin, you can tell. Only virgins treat other females with warmth and compassion. Ahem.
Ronnie. He’s a virgin too. How do I know this? Noone having any sort of real sex works out like Ronnie does. And if you have your doubts, why on earth would he need to wear those daisy dukes if he was banging the beaver? The man needs to advertise. Ronnie is Susie’s partner in crime, or shall I say, condolences. He coddles Angela when she won’t eat, offering his support. And you can tell he is sincere, not just trying to lay the fresh young chicken, like Artie. So, throughout the entire story, it is Ronnie and Susie who try and help Angela. They console her, encourage her, help her adjust, try and free her of her introverted personality and keep a smile on her face. Think about this for a second. Then, who finds her naked on the waterfront at the end of the story? RONNIE AND SUSIE. The asexual angels assigned to one Peter Baker for the duration of Sleepaway Camp.
PART THREE: RELATING TO ANGELA (March 27 2006)
A more personal reason why I am a fan of Sleepaway Camp is because I can relate to Angela. Plain but not simple. No, I’m not really a boy. I don’t have a penis. But I have always felt alienated, isolated and above all misunderstood. Since my early years being around classmates, there was always at least one individual who saw fit to make my life unpleasant. This seems to have followed me into adulthood. Although now I can honestly say it’s more paranoia than reality, I am more often than not – ostracized.
This being the sole reason I conditioned myself to shut the fuck up and not talk to anyone new. Because I just end up being left in the dust anyway. Some have told me it’s my own fault that I am alone, that I make it so. I never deny this. It is so. Why bother attempting to speak to new people when they never listen to what I have to say anyway. And if they do listen, they don’t really care.
I relate to Angela. I understand why she kept quiet. Fear of being ridiculed is usually the reason people do not speak to others. Rarely does it have to do with low self-esteem or insecurity. Of course, those are reasons enough and are relevant. But fear of being ridiculed is the number one reason.
Why bother. Most people aren’t worth knowing anyway. I wish I could be like Angela, instead of just understanding her. I wish I could hack someone up into pieces when they piss me off. Then again, that would be somewhat hypocritical. I already established that Angela is somewhat hypocritical. Whatever. My point is. If everyone in the world could practise kindness, there wouldn’t be that need to “take care of business” or a need to “weed out the bad” in all the good. It comes down to basic human need.
Everyone wants to be accepted and appreciated for who and what they are, despite everything. Unfortunately, people don’t operate that way. Including me, I admit it. But my silence, my stand-offishness.. A result of never being accepted, nor appreciated. There’s always some catch. So I decided it just isn’t worth it. Which is why I am the way I am today.
I understood Angela. I reacted to her pain the way I reacted to my own. Having people treat me like a defect was never new. It was something I’ve had to endure since kindergarden. Even amongst “friends”, which is why I choose not to have any as an adult. It isn’t that people don’t like me. It’s that I don’t like people. Because I know what happens when you let someone inside your life. And I’m sorry, but I’d rather be alone. So when I watched Sleepaway Camp for the first time, I was reminded of how painful it is. I decided never to go back there. I recognized Angela’s behavior. I understood it. I reacted to it by eventually evolving into my own form of Angelaism. She reminded me. She reminded me that the safest way to deal with society is to ignore society and not talk to anyone. Plain, but not simple.
But on another note, like Angela, I tend to seek out that one person I can have all to myself. The one person who will accept me, no matter what. The one person who won’t shy away from me once they learn all my dirty secrets and strange obsessions. The one person who would defend me in a crowd of people making fun of me, even if it alienates them in the process of defending me. The one person who will love me for me, and not what they thought I was going to be. Etc. Angela did it. With Paul, with Molly, and by the third act she realized maybe that person doesn’t truly exist. They appear to exist on the surface but at the end of the day, they’ll leave you like everyone else and decide you’re a freak or a wierdo for whatever reason.
My defense mechanism against unkindness is silence. It doesn’t always work mind you, but I still use it. People still judge. They make their assumptions based on absolutely nothing. I suppose I do it as well. But that’s because I assume they’re doing it to me. I have no problems admitting my own unkindness. Once you become the subject of cruelty more than your fare share, you tend to become a bit defensive and rightfully so.
Maybe we can all take a lesson from Angela. If you’ve noticed, Angela has no ego. She possesses no arrogance. She is never unkind. She is never unkind. What Angela does is treat everyone the same. She does! She treats everyone with kindness, and not one person better than the others. What Angela does is give everyone that chance to return her kindness and the respect she initially shows them. At least in the first two movies. Like I said, by the third act she has pretty much given up on free passes into her good graces. Who can blame her.
But Angela never took a life before attempting to make peace. There’s never an excuse to deny someone the glad hand. It’s when they take a knife into that hand and stab you in the back that things tend to get a bit nasty.
I guess sc83x is just getting sick to her stomach of being treated like garbage. I can’t even count on my own brother. To me, that just means I am 100% alone in this world.
That’s OK. I can always watch Sleepaway Camp.
PART FOUR: ANGELA/PETER (April 13 2006)
I fall in love with people easily. Just like a man, based on appearance. What initiates love? Attraction. Without attraction, there is no foundation. In real life, anyway. There are many diffrent kinds of love. I do not believe in ‘love at first sight’. But I do believe in loving someone without knowing them, as an object. Just like a child loves a toy, a stuffed animal, or a security blanket. That’s always been a way that I treat people. At first, they are objects. After I come to know them, and my love has made them comfortable for me, then they become real – more than just a surface. More than the object they started as. In essence, they become a security blanket. I tend to choose people the way children choose toys. You can buy a hundred toys for a child, but in the end, their choice determines which toy will be played with and loved the most. Hm.
I fell in love with Angela, on sight. I was attracted to her. Don’t misunderstand me. When I use the words ‘love’ and ‘attraction’, it is not always sexual or romantic. It’s hard for most people to understand because most people associate those words with sex and romance.
I saw Angela as she was. Quiet, shy, insecure. She was an introvert, perhaps the epitome of the word. Hiding a secret. I’ve always loved solving a persons mystery. I loved her withdrawn personality. The way she never spoke, and obviously could not relate to or socialize with other people. I thought she was worthy of being protected. She was someone I would choose to love and wish to take care of in real life. She brought out my maternal side, which is rare for me in the case of females. However, it makes perfect sense after learning that Angela was a really a boy.
Angela was also very pretty. She had the dark hair, dark eyes, and a fragile body – small and breakable. I adored Angela from the very beginning. I wanted to love her, to protect her and have her be my child. I had pretty much adopted Angela during Sleepaway Camp. Upon discovering that secret, even though it wasn’t me who solved her mystery – I was even more enamored. Angela was really a little boy! How perfect.
Another reason why I love Sleepaway Camp so much. Angela/Peter.