Review: Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor

sc4-angelaPrior to writing one word, I will admit that I am biased when it comes to this movie. However, that won’t interfere with an honest review, something I’ve always prided myself on when it comes to Sleepaway Camp.

When I want to feel good about life, I often reminisce about parts of my youth. Being hanging out with my brother and ordering pizza, watching late night television, pulling all-nighters, going to VIDEOWORLD and renting video tapes, VHS, mom/pop video stores, really bad SHOWTIME soft core porn starring Nick Cassavetes and equally as bad low budget regular movies starring Nick Cassavetes, Rhonda Shear, USA Up All Night, watching USA Up All Night until 4AM, 1-800 commercials offering hot women offering sex, infomercials about really cool kitchen gadgets, Saturday afternoon showings of eighties teen flicks and Commander USA’s Groovie Movies, WSBK’s The Movie Loft..

I’m reminded of late eighties, early nineties television and film nostalgia. All that I considered great in the world, all that I still consider great in the world. That is where all my really good memories come from, as silly as that may seem. They are what I turn to when life has me down.

Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor has the same effect on me. Most people have complained that it’s comprised mostly of archive footage from the three previous films. I think that’s part of it’s charm. I had to adjust the settings on VLC player because my computer is really dark, so the movie looked grainy and really low-budget, just the way I like them. It looked straight outta late eighties/early nineties, which it is, and which it should be. I felt like I was watching a VHS tape.

This not only sums up the series, it also completes it. Sleepaway Camp is part of the late eighties/early nineties and I feel the last movie to represent the series (in my eyes only I realize) should also come from that time period and give off that “feeling”. And it does. It delivers in that regard. I literally felt like I was back in 1992. Which makes me realize why I’ve come to love the sequels so much, because they warp me back to the early nineties despite being 1988/1989, they have that early nineties feeling.

There’s no use complaining about this production being comprised of mainly archive footage. That is all these people had to work with. They did the best they could under these particular circumstances. It’s not as if the three previous films were simply rehashed. An entirely different story was told, footage rearranged, new theories introduced (although I’m certain I haven’t realized all of them), and a specific closure I think brings peace to the story of Angela in it’s own way. The new background score was also very good. I actually found myself loving it.

For anyone wondering, the ending is where the fresh meat is. But I promise it’s worth the wait. I honestly can’t see anyone from the new generations enjoying this movie. If you do, then you were born in the wrong decade. This is a nostalgic piece, the result of years of passion and hard work. It’s not simply a movie. Or perhaps it is, this is just the first time I’ve been privy to being let in through the back door.

Whatever the case may be, I am certain the hardcore fans will love this as I have and feel good about adding it to their collection. Yea that’s right. I just implied that if you can’t appreciate this movie, you have no right even calling yourself a Sleepaway Camp fan.